PENSACOLA, Florida - After a pitcher’s duel for eleven innings, the Tennessee Smokies erupted for eight runs in the top of the 12th inning to take down the Pensacola Blue Wahoos by the final score of 9-1. The Smokies move above .500 for the first time this season.
Tennessee (2-1) sent 14 batters to the plate in their eight-run top of the 12th. Matt Szczur gave the Smokies the lead with a two-run single that scored Rafael Lopez and Eliot Soto to make it 3-1. Two batters later, Jae-Hoon Ha delivered a two-run single of his own to double the lead to 5-1. After a run came in via a hit batter, Lopez knocked a two-run double to right field in his second at bat of the inning to make it 8-1 Smokies. Szczur’s second RBI single of the inning pushed the lead to 9-1 and capped off the eight-run top of the 12th.
The Smokies bullpen fired five scoreless innings of relief and Frank Batista (1-0) earned the win with two scoreless frames. Lee Hyde (0-1) took the loss allowing seven runs, five of them earned, in two-thirds of an inning.
Starters Eric Jokisch and Tim Crabbe both began strong matching scoreless half innings, but the Blue Wahoos finally broke through with the games first run in the bottom of the 4th. With Ryan LaMarre at second base with two outs, Steve Selsky singled up the middle to give the Blue Wahoos a 1-0 advantage.
The Pensacola lead was short lived as Rubi Silva’s first home run of the season tied the game in the top of the 5th with a solo home run to deep left field.
Both starters yielded just the one run apiece and did not factor in the decision. Jokisch scattered three hits and walked two while striking out seven Pensacola batters. Crabbe went the first five innings for the Blue Wahoos allowing his one run on two hits with five strikeouts.
The Smokies and Blue Wahoos continue their five-game series tomorrow night at 5:05 p.m. ET when Tennessee sends right-hander Kyle Hendricks (0-0, 0.00 ERA) to the mound against Pensacola lefty Ryan Dennick (0-0, 0.00 ERA) at Pensacola Bay Front Stadium.