April 29, 2007
Sevierville, TN – In another back and forth contest, the Tennessee Smokies scored the winning run in the ninth on a squeeze play by Jemel Spearman to defeat the Carolina Mudcats 5-4 in front of 3,547 excited fans at Smokies Park.
Spearman led off the ninth inning with a walk, was moved over to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt by Chris Robinson, and then advanced to third on a wild pitch. After Joe Simokaitis walked, Issmael Salas came to the plate. Spearman was more than halfway to home plate when Salas hit a chopper to third base, and was across the plate before a throw was attempted.
The Mudcats continued their fast start, going up 1-0 in the first. Grant Psomas took a pitch off Donnie Veal over the wall in left field. The homerun was the third one of the series that the Mudcats have hit in the first inning. In the bottom half, the Smokies answer quickly with a run of their own. Sam Fuld hit a double down the leftfield line, and then moved to third on a bunt by Gary Cates. Josh Kroeger brought home Fuld on a ground out to first, making the score 1-1.
The Smokies took an early lead in the 3rd on an RBI double by Kroeger. Joe Simokaitis reached base on a walk, and Veal moved him over on a sacrifice bunt. Kroeger continued his clutch hitting with a rocket up the middle, scoring Simokaitis and making the score 2-1.
Veal was cruising along until the 7th, where he recorded his first two walks of the game. Aldaberto Mendez came in to relieve, and gave up a three-run homer to pinch hitter Frank Moore, giving a 4-3 lead to Carolina. In the bottom half, Carolina could not hold on as the Smokies tied it 4-4. Simokaitis walked once again, then moved to second on a wild pitch. Issmael Salas came in to pinch hit and singled to short while colliding with Psomas at first, allowing Simokaitis to score from second.
Veal pitched his strongest outing of the season, going six innings while giving up three runs on three hits, with nine strikeouts. James Henderson (1-0) notched the win for the Smokies, pitching a scoreless ninth inning. Rick Vanden Hurk was also strong for the Mudcats, going six innings while giving up three runs on four hits. Scott Tyler (0-1) suffered the loss for Carolina.
The series concludes between the Smokies and Mudcats tomorrow night at 7:15 PM. The Smokies will send right-hander Sean Gallagher (2-2, 4.19) to the mound to face Mudcats left-hander Manuel Olivera (0-3, 6.38)