Smokies Triumph over Mudcats
Zebulon, NC --- Jake Opitz stroked a single to center in the ninth to break a 1-1 tie to lift the first-place Tennessee Smokies past the second-place Carolina Mudcats 2-1 at Five County Stadium on Monday night.
Opitz flared a hit over a pulled-in infield against Carolina closer Jordan Smith (L, 0-1) as the Smokies improved to a league-best 9-2. Carolina fell to 6-5 and three games behind the Northern Division leaders.
The Mudcats managed just three singles in the game, but took a 1-0 lead in the first against Tennessee starter Andrew Cashner. Kris Negron reached on a dribbling infield single to third, advanced to second on a grounder, then with two outs, Negron stole third and scored as Robinson Chirinos' throw deflected into short left field.
Carolina starter Matt Klinker pitched with that 1-0 lead into the sixth inning before Tennessee tied the score. The Smokies had runners at the corners with one out, but the Mudcats failed to complete a double-play grounder by Ty Wright, allowing Tony Campana to score. Second baseman Jose Castro's throw sailed wide of first base thanks to a hard slide by Starlin Castro.
Klinker permitted five hits over seven innings, while Cashner's run was unearned over seven two-hit frames. Cashner fanned five to build his league-leading total to 25.
Denis Phipps had two of the Mudcats' three hits in the defeat.
The series continues Tuesday morning at 11:00 AM ET with Dallas Buck (1-1, 8.31) pitching against Tennessee's Jeremy Papelbon (0-0, 4.32).
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Southern League Stories from April 19, 2010
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