SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Smokies starter Casey Coleman is quickly making a case to be the ace of the Smokies pitching staff. Following up on his solid Double-A debut last Saturday in Jacksonville, Coleman shut down the Birmingham Barons Friday night and led the Smokies to a 9-0 win in front of 4,003 at Smokies Park.
For the second night in row, Tennessee’s pitching staff led the way. Coleman (2-0) set the pace Friday night, allowing only three hits in seven innings. The righty struck out four and walked one.
Scoreless through three, the Smokies put two on the board in the bottom of the fourth. With two out and runners on second and third, Jonathan Mota drove an Aaron Poreda (0-2) pitch to center. Brandon Guyer and Jim Adduci came around to score, making it 2-0 Smokies. Mota, in trying to stretch the hit into a double, was thrown out at second by Barons’ CF John Shelby.
Following a scoreless fifth, Tennessee broke the game wide open over the sixth and seventh. With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Welington Castillo drove a ball down the left field line, bringing home three and extending the Smokies lead to 5-0. And after Darwin Barney scored on a bases-loaded walk in the seventh to make it 6-0 Smokies, Adduci followed Castillo’s lead with a three-run double of his own to left, giving Tennessee a 9-0 lead.
The lead was more than enough for Coleman and crew in the Smokies bullpen. John Gaub relieved Coleman to start the eighth and recorded three strikeouts across four total Barons hitters. Jayson Ruhlman pitched a perfect ninth, with Adduci collecting three assists on Barons’ flyouts.
The Smokies and Barons square off Saturday night in Game 4 of the five-game series Saturday night at Smokies Park. Birmingham’s Lucas Harrell (0-1, 6.75) will face off against Tennessee’s Jay Jackson (0-1, 13.50). All fans with paid admission to the game get a 2009 Smokies magnet schedule, courtesy of Pilot, Swaggerty’s and Citizens National Bank. Tickets to the game can be purchased online at www.smokiesbaseball.com or by calling (865) 286-2300.