KODAK, Tenn. – The Tennessee Smokies scored three runs in the eighth inning on way to a 5-2 win over the Mississippi Braves Saturday night at Smokies Park. The win, in front of 6,208 on Pink Ribbon Survivor Night, snaps a four-game losing streak and improves the Smokies record to 33-34.
The Smokies took the lead in the second inning off M-Braves starter Michael Lee (3-5) when Jonathan Mota hit a two-run home run to left field, scoring Christian Villanueva who singled earlier in the inning. Mota now has five home runs and 22 RBIs on the year.
Mississippi (37-31) cut the Smokies’ lead in half when Braeden Schlehuber scored on Barrett Kleinknecht’s sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.
Smokies starter Kyle Hendricks (7-2) was once again solid, going seven innings in his first start after being named Southern League Pitcher of the Week. He scattered eight hits, allowing an earned run and struck out three. He didn’t walk a batter.
Leading 2-1, the Smokies plated three runs in the eighth inning to put the game out of reach. Matt Szczur and Ronald Torreyes were both hit by pitches to lead off the frame and both later scored on an Arismendy Alcantara double down the line in left field. Alcantara then stole third base, his 17th stolen base of the season, putting him in scoring position to score on a sacrifice fly by Villanueva.
Tennessee reliever Kevin Rhoderick tossed a perfect eighth inning and Frank Batista surrendered a home run to Edward Salcedo in the ninth, but was able to secure the victory for the Smokies.
The Smokies will look to tie the series at two games apiece on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. at Smokies Park. A.J. Morris (2-0, 4.60) toes the rubber for the Smokies facing off against M-Braves starter Gus Schlosser (5-2, 2.51). Bring Dad out to the ballpark for Father’s Day and play catch with him on the field from 3:30 to 4:30 before the game. For tickets and more information visit smokiesbaseball.com or call 286-2300.