Four-Run Sixth Downs Pensacola against Tennessee
A night after setting a career hit for hits, the Blue Wahoos managed just five in a 5-1 loss to Tennessee on Friday evening.
After scoring the game's first run in the third inning, the Blue Wahoos (29-19) missed opportunities with leadoff baserunners in the middle innings, then had their last nine batters retired in order to end the game.
The win pushed Tennessee (24-23) back above .500 and gave the Smokies a 2-1 series edge heading into Saturday night's fourth game.
Pensacola scored their only run in the third. Travis Blankenhorn singled, then stole second. Alex Kirilloff followed with an RBI single.
The Smokies tied the game with a run in the fourth against Pensacola's Jorge Alcala, who entered in the third inning after Sam Clayworked two scoreless innings in an opener role.
The sixth inning changed the game. After giving up a leadoff walk and single, Alcala committed a throwing error on a fielder's choice play that loaded the bases. He then gave up consecutive singles that scored three runs. After intentionally loading the bases again, a one-out sacrifice fly scored the fourth run of the inning.
Alcala (5-2) absorbed the loss, his first since April 26 when he allowed six runs against Jacksonville in a three-inning outing that was his shortest this season.
The Blue Wahoos missed a chance to get back into the game when the first two batters in the sixth inning reached on walks. But Mitchell Kranson was picked off first base, then reliever P.J. Higgins got a pair of ground outs to end the inning.
In the seventh, Ben Rortvedt led off with a walk, but Higgins retired the next three batters. The Blue Wahoos were retired in order in the eighth and ninth.
The two teams will play at 6:00 p.m. (CDT) Saturday, then close the series on Sunday at 1 p.m.
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