PENSACOLA, Fla. (release) -- The Tennessee Smokies rallied late Monday afternoon to defeat the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in the final game of the 2012 season, 8-1. Tennessee completes the 2012 campaign with a 71-68 overall record, 37-33 in the second half. Pensacola finished the season with a 68-70 record, 34-35 in the second half.
The Smokies got on the scoreboard first off Pensacola starter Wirfin Obispo (5-2). Austin Kirk reached on a fielding error by first baseman Donald Lutz and Matt Szczur followed with an infield single to put two runners on with one out. With one out, Logan Watkins then flew out to center fielder Bryson Smith, who thought he made the inning’s third out and tossed the baseball into the stands. The error allowed Kirk to score from second to give Tennessee an early 1-0 advantage.
Tennessee added three runs in the sixth inning off. Watkins led off the inning being hit with a Mark Serrano pitch, and moved to second on a Jae-Hoon Ha single. Anthony Recker advanced the runners and Junior Lake walked to load the bases. Rubi Silva singled to right field to score Watkins and Ha, and Matt Cerda reached on an infield single to score Lake to extend the Smokies lead, 4-0.
Tennessee starter Austin Kirk battled through five scoreless innings of work before the Blue Wahoos scored in the sixth. Billy Hamilton led off the frame with a single and Kirk retired the next two batters before allowing back-to-back walks. Kirk handed the ball off to reliever Frank Batista who allowed a bases-loaded single to Brodie Greene to narrow the Blue Wahoos deficit, 4-1.
The Smokies continued their offensive attack in the seventh inning. Szczur led off with a walk and Watkins reached on a bunt single. Ha grounded into a double play and was followed by an intentional walk to Justin Bour. With two on, Recker hit his first home run in a Smokies uniform to plate three runs and give Tennessee a 7-1 lead.
Recker (2-for-5) completed his four-RBI day with an RBI double to drive home Ha, who doubled to lead off the inning, and give the Smokies in front 8-1.
Kirk (2-0) earned the win for Tennessee allowing a run on four hits, walking three and striking out two in his 5.2 innings. The Smokies bullpen, Batista, Jay Chapman, Rafael Dolis and Trey McNutt closed the deal and combined to throw 3.1 scoreless innings allowing three hits and striking out three.
The Smokies would like to thank their fans, sponsors and media partners for their support during the 2012 season. Tennessee had their fourth consecutive winning season and saw numerous coaches, players and staff members earn many memorable accomplishments.
Tennessee will open the 2013 season in Pensacola with a five-game series against the Blue Wahoos, beginning on Thursday, April 4 at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium. The team's 2013 home opener at Smokies Park will be on Tuesday, April 10 against the Chattanooga Lookouts.