MOBILE, Ala (release) -- Pierce Johnson took a no-hitter into the sixth inning for the second straight time and the Smokies offense provided him with three fourth inning runs as Tennessee defeated the BayBears 3-0 in game one of a doubleheader in Mobile on Sunday.
The Smokies (25-24, 58-60) won the first game of the series, but dropped both games of a doubleheader played on Friday night in Mobile (28-19, 70-46). Tennessee entered Sunday's action with a one game lead over the Birmingham Barons in the Southern League North Second Half Standings
Johnson (5-4, 2.49) took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of Sunday's seven inning contest and saw it slip away when Nate Samson reached on a two-out bloop single to shallow left.
Samson was just the third base runner of the game for Mobile. They previously saw two reach via base on balls on the fifth.
Johnson struck out eight and walked two over six scoreless innings on Sunday. The Tenenssee starter has not allowed a run and has given up just three hits with 14 strikeouts over his last two starts and 12 innings pitched. Johnson finished the start with one hit allowed over six full innings. He walked two and struck out eight in the dominating scoreless start.
Left-hander Andrew McKirahan (S, 1) followed Johnson out of the bullpen for the seventh inning. He struck out one in the final inning and earned his first save of the season.
Addison Russell helped put Tennessee in front first in game one with a double to left-center in the fourth. His extra base hit came off BayBears' starter Archie Bradley and would be the spark that ignited a three run inning.
Bradley (2-2, 3.77) would continue the fourth after Russell's double with a strikeout of Lars Anderson, but would then hit Christian Villanueva with a pitch. Charlie Cutler then followed with a run scoring single to left and Russell scored from second to give the Smokies a 1-0 lead.
Stephen Bruno kept the fourth inning momentum going with a single right-center and Villanueva would come around to score from second to lift the lead to 2-0. The fourth inning scoring concluded with a sacrifice fly to right by Luis Flores and the Smokies took a 3-0 lead.
Bradley pitched through the seventh, and in the complete game effort, allowed just three runs on six hits. He also walked one and struck out six.
Both Russell and Flores reached on doubles in the victory for Tennessee. Flores was 2-for-2 in the game with one run batted in.
Tennessee was 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded five men on base. The BayBears were 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position and stranded three.
The Smokies wasted a six run third inning lead and fell in game two of a doubleheader 9-8 in nine innings to Gerson Montilla and the BayBears at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile on Sunday night. Montilla hit the game-winning home run in the ninth inning of the scheduled seven inning game.
The loss dropped Tennessee (25-25, 58-61) into a split in Sunday's doubleheader and clinched a series victory for Mobile (29-19, 71-46). The Smokies lead in the Southern League South Second Half Standings to one game over the Huntsville Stars.
The Smokies bullpen allowed four runs in the loss, but only one was earned. The lone earned run given up after Ivan Pineyro's start was allowed on the game winning home run hit by Montilla off reliever Jeff Lorick.
Lorick (2-3, 4.19) gave up three hits and one run over an inning and 1/3. He walked one and struck out three.
Kaleb Fleck (5-3, 2.68) earned the win after holding the Smokies to a hit and no runs over the final two innings.
Both starters struggled in game two of the doubleheader. Pineyro started for Tennessee and allowed four earned runs on four hits over two and 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out three in his first start back since returning from the disabled list.
Clayton Richard started for the BayBears and the former Major Leaguer allowed six earned runs and nine hits over three innings. He also walked one and struck out two.
The BayBears bullpen allowed just two runs in the victory. Both were allowed by reliever Cody Wheeler. Wheeler allowed one unearned run while pitching in the sixth. He did not record an out in the inning and walked three batters. Ben Hively finished the sixth and would allow two of three inherited runners to score. Hively also worked the seventh and kept the Smokies scoreless there until Fleck finished the game.
Tennessee scored a run in the first, two in the second and three in the third off Richard to take a 6-0 lead. The BayBears bounced back with four in the third and then took the lead with a four run fifth. All four fifth inning runs were driven in on a grand slam hit by Todd Glaesmann off Tennessee reliever Tony Zych.
Zych followed Francescon and Hunter Cervenka who were brought in after Pineyro's two and 2/3 innings start. Francescon finished the third and pitched a scoreless fourth. Cervenka started the fifth and retired two, but would be charged with two unearned runs as he left with two runners on base. The Smokies were charged with an error in the fifth and the other two runs allowed by Zych were also unearned.
Zych inherited two and allow one to reach before giving up Glaesmann's grand slam. The home run was Glaesmann's first of the season.
A throwing error by Christian Villanueva prolonged the fifth inning. The Baybears started the inning by lining out and grounding out against Cervenka, but Villanueva's error on a Jon Griffin grounder to third allowed the inning to continue. It also eventually led to Cervenka leaving the game and Zych taking over before giving up the go-ahead grand slam to Glaesmann.
Dustin Geiger helped the Smokies get to the run column first as he drove in Albert Almora in the first with a two-out single to right. Tennessee collected three hits in the first off Richard and led 1-0 after one.
The Smokies rallied for two runs and two more hits in the second and went up 3-0 on Richard and the BayBears. Taylor Davis started the inning with a double and later scored on a two-run home run by Jae-Hoon Ha.
Ha drove in two and was 2-for-5 out of the leadoff spot for Tennessee. Davis, batting seventh, was 2-for-3 with two runs and one batted in.
Tennessee led 3-0 after three and would add three more to their lead in the third to go up in the game 6-0.
Addison Russell started the third with a single to left and Villanueva would do the same. Geiger then continued the inning by reaching on a walk and the bases were loaded for Stephen Bruno. Bruno singled with the bases loaded and put the Smokies up 4-0. Davis followed with a single to left and Villanueva scored from third to give the Smokies the 5-0 lead. Geiger attempted to score on the play, but was caught at home for the inning's first out. Bruno scored the final run of the inning after scoring on a force out grounded into by Anthony Giansanti.
The BayBears rallied back and scored four times in the third to cut the lead down to two at 6-4. Mobile collected four runs on four hits in the inning off Pineyro. Pineyro, in his first start back with Tennessee since mid-June pitched two and 2/3 innings with four runs allowed. He gave up four hits, walked two and struck out three in his return from the disabled list.
Dustin Martin drove in three in the third with a bases loaded double to left. Martin's hit was the last allowed by Pineyro before he left the game.
Glaesmann hit his grand slam off Zych in the fifth and the BayBears took a 8-6 lead with just six outs remanaing in the seven inning doubleheader game.
The Smokies bounced back with a two run sixth to tie the game would force extras. The first run came in when Ha grounded into a bases loaded double play. The Smokies were issued three straight walks to start the sixth by Mobile's Wheeler. Wheeler left before facing Ha and Hively would get Ha to ground into the double play on the first pitch he threw in the inning.
Davis scored on Ha's double play grounder to cut the lead down to 8-7 and a passed ball charged to catcher Tyler Clark would allow Giansanti to score the tying run from third.
Only one of Tennessee's two runs in the sixth were earned, but the game was tied 8-8.
The 8-8 tie held through the eighth with Frank Batista and Fleck tossing scoreless innings for Tennessee and Mobile respectively.
Batista left before the eighth and Lorick would take over from there. The lefty allowed two hits in the eighth, but kept the BayBears scoreless before giving up the game inning home run to Montilla in the ninth. Lorick started the inning with a strikeout of Griffin, but then lost Montilla on a 1-2 pitch.