Booker and Company Break Through Late for Win
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Late, clutch hitting and strong relief pitching vaulted the Birmingham Barons (4-5) to a 4-2 win over the Tennessee Smokies (5-3) Saturday night at Regions Field.
Tied 2-2 in the seventh inning and with a couple baserunners on, Ramon Torres and Joel Booker delivered clutch singles to score Blake Rutherford and Alfredo Gonzalez, respectively, and take a two-run lead.
Both teams got on the board in the first inning. Smokies No. 2 prospect Nico Hoerner doubled down the right field line to bring in leadoff man Christian Donahue from second. In the Barons half, Gavin Sheets (White Sox No. 18 prospect) singled down the left field line to score Luis Gonzalez (White Sox No. 10 prospect) from second and even the score at one.
Smokies P.J. Higgins led off the fourth inning with a solo home run to left, his second of the series and season, to make it 2-1.
Two innings later, Gonzalez notched his first triple of the season on a line drive to right field to score Laz Rivera (White Sox No. 17 prospect).
In his second appearance and first start of the season, Barons right-hander Felix Paulino delivered a quality start with 6.2 innings pitched and surrendered just two runs with five strikeouts.
The Barons bullpen had another strong game, with left-hander Matt Tomshaw relieving Paulino for 1.1 scoreless innings and earning his first win of the season. Right-hander and University of Alabama product Matt Foster locked down the ninth inning for his first save of the season.
For Booker, he finished 2-for-4 with a double in the third inning to go along with the RBI single in the seventh. Booker is now tied with Micker Adolfo (White Sox No. 8 prospect) for the team lead with five RBI and has multi-hit games in four of nine games to open 2019
Birmingham will go for the series win on Sunday, having also won game two of the series 4-1.
The Barons and Smokies will conclude their series at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday from Regions Field. Left-hander Sean Nolin (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his first start of the season since coming off the Injured List on Saturday.
WJQX-AM 690 will be the home of the Barons on Sunday. Fans can tune into the Coca-Cola Pregame Show starting at 3:45 p.m.
The Birmingham Barons are the proud Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. The Barons will open the home portion of their 2019 season, which celebrates the 25th anniversary of Michael Jordan's lone year in baseball, against the Tennessee Smokies at 7:05 p.m. April 10 at Regions Field. For ticket information, game schedule, promotions calendar or additional information about Regions Field, please visit barons.com or call (205) 988-3200.
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Southern League Stories from April 13, 2019
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