June 30, 2007
Sevierville, TN – The Tennessee Smokies battled back from a three run deficit early in the game to down the Mississippi Braves by a score of 5-4 to take the first game in the four game series. The boisterous crowd of 5,258 were on their feet as Jake Fox barehanded a throw from pitcher Jim Henderson to record the final out of the game and ensure the win for the Smokies.
Kevin Hart (6-5) struggled a bit early in the game, yielding three runs in the first two inning, but rebounded nicely to shut the Braves down and keep the Smokies in the game. Hart went seven innings, giving up five runs and striking out a season high nine batters. Hart helped his own cause with a key two RBI double to get the Smokies back in the game early on.
The Braves jumped out to the early lead in the first inning, scoring two runs off a double by Mark Jurich to take a 2-0 lead. Mississippi added another run in the 2nd inning on a sacrifice fly to take a 3-0 lead. Tennessee battled back with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the 2nd to get back in the game. Jorge Cortes doubled down the right field line to get things started, then advanced to third on a Joe Simokaitis ground out. Chris Robinson walked, followed by a two RBI double by Hart off Braves starting pitcher James Parr (2-1). After Sam Fuld singled to continue the inning, Issmael Salas ripped a double down the left field line to tie the game at 3-3.
The Smokies took the lead for good in the 4th inning, thanks largely in part again to Salas’ bat. Hart hit a two out single, followed by a Fuld double to put runners at 2nd and 3rd. Salas crushed a two RBI single to left field to score both Hart and Fuld, and the Smokies had a 5-3 lead.
Mississippi would not go down quietly, and pulled to within one run after a towering home run off the bat of Jurich in the sixth inning. Hart kept his composure to get through the seventh inning, then turned the game over to the bullpen. Rocky Roquet and
Henderson each pitched one scoreless inning apiece, with Henderson notching his seventh save of the season.
The Smokies continue their series with the Mississippi Braves on Sunday afternoon at 5:00 pm. Tennessee will send right-hander Mark Holliman (7-6, 2.74) to the mound to face right-handed pitcher Brad Nelson (3-1, 5.40).