BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Smokies Release) - The Tennessee Smokies (27-24) fell to the Birmingham Barons (33-19), 6-3, Wednesday in front of an announced crowd of 7,268 at Rickwood Field, the sixth largest in Rickwood Classic history. Smokies starter Yeiper Castillo fell to 0-1 on the season while Barons starter Stephen McCray (5-3) earned the win.
Arismendy Alcantara extended his hitting streak to 10 games early during his first at-bat, as the switch-hitter lined a pitch into center field off McCray. Alcantara went 3-for-4 on the day with a triple.
Castillo, making his second start for Tennessee, ran into trouble in the third inning as Barons' shortstop Marcus Semien brought in the Baron's first run of the game, grounding out to shortstop and making the score 1-0.
Birmingham continued to rough up Castillo and broke the game open in the bottom of the fourth. After Castillo gave up a walk and a hit to begin the inning, a throwing error by Alcantara on a groundball to shortstop brought in right fielder Trayce Thompson and led to runners at first and third with no outs.
Wilkins then scored on a single to right field by Jared Mitchell, pushing the score to 3-0. Castillo gave up a double by catcher Miguel Gonzalez in the next at bat, bringing home designated hitter Dan Black and Mitchell to push the Barons' lead to 5-0.
Tennessee began a rally in the top of the sixth after a fielder's choice and a single put Wright and Rubi Silva put runners at first and second. Third baseman Christian Villanueva then hit a Southern League leading 17th double to drive in both runners, bringing the score to 5-2.
McCray exited and allowed six hits and two earned runs on two walks and two strikeouts in 5.1 innings pitched.
Smokies' catcher Lance Rymel followed Villanueva three batters later with an RBI single to left-center field, his first Southern League hit and RBI with Tennessee. Rymel's single made the score 5-3
Birmingham added another run back in the bottom of the sixth as Cody Puckett doubled in Miguel Gonzalez, making it 6-3. Tennessee was unable to push a run across in the seventh and eighth innings, and Daniel Webb pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the save for the Barons.
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