Smokies Edged in Series Opener at Jackson
JACKSON, TN. - The Tennessee Smokies (51-74, 18-38) collected 11 hits but only scored a pair of runs in a slim 3-2 loss against the Jackson Generals (70-53, 31-22) at the Ballpark at Jackson on Sunday night.
LHP Jack Patterson was scratched from the Smokies starting line up a few hours before first pitch, so manager Jimmy Gonzalez called upon reliever RHP Jake Stinnett (L, 1-6) to make his fifth start of the season.
Former Smoky Jeffery Baez got revenge on his old club when he doubled to score the first run in the third inning. One batter later, Daulton Varsho towered a sacrifice fly to centerfield, and Kevin McCanna tagged up to double the lead. A wild pitch from Stinnett sent Baez home to complete the third inning hatrick.
Tennessee left a runner stranded in every inning without scoring until the top of the sixth. Tyler Payne singled Martinez in to score the first Smokies' run in the last 15 innings, a three game span. Payne's single off RHP Matt Brill (W, 2-4) also provided every starter except for the pitcher with a hit in the game. The deficit got cut to one on an RBI-single from Connor Myers to scored Jared Young.
The Smokies bullpen kept their side in the game by holding Jackson to one hit over five innings. A pair of singles in the Smokies ninth forced the Jackson faithful to hold their breath. Connor Myers started the ninth inning rally with a leadoff single, and Roberto Caro followed up with a bunt single putting the go-ahead run aboard.
Generals LHP Miguel Aguilar (S, 5) struck out Nico Hoerner to record the first out. The next out came a pitch later when Myers and Caro attempted to pull off a double steal, but catcher Varsho gunned down Myers at third. Fans moved closer to the edge of their seats after Zack Short battled to earn a two-out walk to keep his side alive.
The climatic frame ended with an incredible diving play from second baseman Camden Duzenack to rob Vimael Machin from tying the game.
Game two features a pitching matchup of LHP Luis Lugo (5-0, 3.63) for Tennessee against Generals RHP Matt Peacock (8-4, 2.52) starting at 7:05 pm EDT from the Ballpark of Jackson.
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