Smokies Fall to Barons 3-1 in Birmingham
BIRMINGHAM, AL - The Tennessee Smokies (43-55, 10-19) fell short for a second night in a row against the Birmingham Barons (43-52, 16-10) Sunday night at Regions Field in Birmingham, 3-1.
For the third straight night, the Barons tallied a run in the first inning. Luis Basabe recorded the first hit of the night off Smokies starter RHP Jake Stinnett (L, 1-2) with a single to right field. He touched home plate to give the Barons an early lead thanks to a double by Gavin Sheets. Sheets' 64 RBIs leads the Southern League.
After allowing the early first inning run, Stinnett and RHP Bailey Clark combined to retire the eleven of the next thirteen batters for the Smokies. It was not until the sixth inning when the Barons struck again. Following two straight walks from RHP Oscar De La Cruz, Ti'Quan Forbes laced a single to move the score to 2-0.
Tennessee generated a run of their own in the seventh inning. Gioskar Amaya jump-started the inning with a leadoff walk. He moved over from a single by Zach Davis and a sacrifice bunt by Charcer Burks. That allowed Christian Donahue to plate Amaya on a groundball out to narrow the Barons lead to 2-1.
Birmingham put an exclamation point on their game three victory with an insurance run in the eighth. To lead off the inning, Nick Madrigal blasted a solo home run to left field to send the score to 3-1. The big shot was Madrigal's first with Birmingham and just his third professional home run.
Birmingham starter RHP Blake Battenfield (W, 3-2) tossed five scoreless innings before turning the game over to his bullpen. It was the third straight night a Barons starter kept the Smokies scoreless. LHP Hunter Schryver (S, 3) shut down the Smokies in the ninth to clinch a 3-1 win and guarantee the Barons at least a split of the series.
The series finale between the Smokies and the Barons is scheduled for Sunday evening with first pitch scheduled for 5:00 EDT. RHP Cory Abbott (5-6, 3.87) makes his 19th start of the season for the Smokies, while LHP Tanner Banks (1-5, 3.76) will get the ball for Birmingham.
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