KODAK, Tenn. – Down one run in the ninth inning, the Tennessee Smokies had the winning run at the plate, but were unable to score and fell to the Mississippi Braves Friday night, 4-3, in front of 6,055 at Smokies Park. Tennessee (32-34) collected 13 hits on the night, but unfortunately stranded 15 base runners.
With Mississippi ahead in the ninth, Rubi Silva led off the frame with an infield single, advanced to second on a sac bunt and moved to third on a wild pitch. Mississippi closer Mark Lamm (S, 9) was able to get the final two outs and strand the game-tying run at third to secure the win for the M-Braves.
Earlier in game, Mississippi (37-30) struck first off Tennessee starter Austin Kirk when Edward Salcedo hit a two-run double to give the M-Braves a 2-0 lead.
Former Smoky Mitch Atkins silenced the Smokies’ bats until the third inning. Arismendy Alcantara drew a walk and later scored on a Silva ground ball to right field, narrowing the M-Braves’ lead, 3-1.
The Smokies tied the game at three in the fourth inning. Pin-Chieh Chen led off with his first career triple in Double-A and later scored on a Jonathan Mota single. Ronald Torreyes hit his 12th double of the season later in the inning, scoring Mota, knotting the game at three.
Kirk went five innings, giving up five hits, three earned runs, three walks and struck out three, before handing the ball off to the bullpen.
Tony Zych (2-3) pitched an inning of relief, giving up an unearned run on a passed ball making the score 4-3. Zych also walked one and struck out two.
Trey McNutt threw a 1-2-3 inning, Zac Rosscup gave up a hit and a walk in his inning of relief and Frank Batista gave up a hit in the ninth inning.
Torreyes went 3-4 on the night with a double, a RBI and a walk. Silva went 3-5 with a double and Chen went 2-3 with a run score and a triple. Mota, who’s seven-game hit streak ended yesterday, went 3-4 with a run, a walk and a RBI.
Tennessee and Mississippi will continue their five-game series on Saturday night at 6:15 at Smokies Park. The Smokies Kyle Hendricks (6-2, 2.14) and will be opposed by Michael Lee (3-4, 4.83). The first 2,500 fans through the gates will receive a free Smokies cap, courtesy of Hardee’s, Comfort Suites East and the Knoxville News Sentinel. Gates open at 5:00. Saturday is also Pink Ribbon Survivor Night, as the Smokies will be wearing pink-themed jerseys that will be auctioned off during the game. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.smokiesbaseball.com or call (865)-286-2300.