KODAK – Smokies third baseman Kris Bryant blasted a mammoth solo homer in the fourth, while Tennessee plated four runs in the seventh thanks in part to a two-run triple from center fielder Zeke DeVoss to clinch a series victory over Chattanooga in a 5-1 win over the Lookouts on Saturday evening at Smokies Stadium.
The series clinching win pushes the Smokies to a 4-5 record on the year, while the loss drops Chattanooga to 3-6 in 2014 leading into Sunday afternoon’s series finale. A crowd of 3,678 was on hand at Smokies Stadium for the contest, with Tennessee now averaging 3,700 fans, which ranks second in the Southern League.
The Lookouts got on the board first in the third to pull ahead 1-0. Chattanooga starting pitcher Andres Santiago smacked a double to deep center and would eventually come across on CF Noel Cuevas’ run-scoring triple to left-center.
Tennessee however, would answer back in the subsequent inning thanks to the longball. Bryant would blast his third homer of the season, a no-doubter to deep center, tying him for the Southern League lead along with fellow Smokies infielder Dustin Geiger.
The Smokies would then grab the advantage in the seventh with a four-run frame to make it 5-1. C Rafael Lopez slapped his second double of the game to center, and then be brought in on SS Wes Darvill’s run-scoring base knock to right, the infielder’s first hit of the season. Pinch hitter Anthony Giansanti would then single to right, prior to both coming home on DeVoss’ two-run triple to right, with DeVoss then scoring on 2B Stephen Bruno’s RBI base knock down the first base line.
Smokies starter Ivan Pineyro (5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO) did not factor in the decision after allowing a lone earned run on three hits in his five innings pitched, in addition to four strikeouts. Lookouts starting pitcher Andres Santiago also did not receive a decision despite yielding only one earned run on four hits, fanning seven in five frames.
Tennessee reliever Ryan Searle (2.0 IP, 1 H, 3 SO) earned his first victory of the season after tossing two shutout frames, while Lookouts relief pitcher Juan Noriega (1.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 SO) suffered the loss to fall to 0-1. Frank Batista (0.2 IP, 1 H) and Jeff Lorick (1.1 IP, 3 SO) followed Searle by combining for the final two scoreless frames.
Bryant (2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI), Bruno (2-4, 1 RBI) and Lopez (2-3, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 BB) each collected two hits in the contest, with Bruno extending his hit streak to four games, while no Lookouts batters recorded a multi-hit effort. With Bryant’s roundtripper, the eighth-best prospect in baseball according to Baseball America has now reached base in each of the eight games he has played in so far this year.
The two teams will play the fifth and final game of their series Sunday afternoon at Smokies Stadium, with first pitch set for 2:00 p.m. Right-hander Matt Loosen (0-1, 5.40) is scheduled to get the start for the Smokies, while fellow righty Garrett Gould is slated to take the ball for Chattanooga.
It’s the first Family Fun Day of the season, presented by U.S. Cellular, with families able to purchase four tickets, four meal vouchers and four Kids Zone wristbands for just $48.
Tickets for that contest and the remaining games of Tennessee’s ten-game homestand, which lasts through Friday, April 18, are still available, and can be purchased at www.smokiesbaseball.com, or by calling the Smokies Ticket Office at (865) 286-2300.