HOOVER, AL (smokiesbaseball.com) -- The Smokies’ bats were held in check on Saturday night, and the Barons scored early to complete a 5-0 shutout of Tennessee at Regions Park. With the loss, the Smokies fell to 39-29 in the second half.
RHP Trey McNutt (5-6) started the game for the Smokies, and fell into trouble in the first inning. After giving up a hit to Jose Martinez, McNutt loaded the bases with a walk to Jon Gilmore and a base hit by Seth Loman. McNutt would go on to walk in the first run of the game after issuing a free pass to Josh Phegley. After a base hit by Alden Carrithers brought in another run to push the lead to 2-0, McNutt walked in another run to give Birmingham a 3-0 lead after one inning.
The Barons tagged McNutt with another run in the third inning, as Phegley doubled down the left field line and was driven in on a double off the bat of Ken Williams to put Birmingham on top 4-0. McNutt’s night was done after four innings. He allowed four runs on six hits and walked five, while striking out two in the loss. RHP Kevin Rhoderick came out of the bullpen in the fifth inning and gave up one run on four walks in the frame, putting the Barons up 5-0.
LHP Charlie Leesman (10-7) silenced the Smokies over seven scoreless innings. Leesman allowed just five hits and struck out ten batters over the span. Nate Samson was the only batter for Tennessee with a multi-hit game.
With Chattanooga winning on Saturday night, the Smokies are now two games back with two games to play. With a loss on Sunday by the Smokies, the Lookouts would win the Second Half North Division.
In a scheduling change due to an impending storm in the Birmingham area, a doubleheader has been scheduled for Sunday afternoon starting at 3:00 PM to close out the regular season. In game one, the Smokies will start RHP Marco Carrillo (5-3, 2.36), while the Barons will go with RHP Charles Shirek (3-7, 4.04). The Smokies return home to Smokies Park for the Southern League Disivion Series against the Chattanooga Lookouts on Thursday, September 8, at 5:00 PM. Tickets can be purchased at www.smokiesbaseball.com or by calling (865) 286-2300.
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