MONTGOMERY, AL (TEAM RELEASE) -- A six run sixth inning propelled the Smokies on Saturday night, as they took the series finale over the Biscuits, 8-2, at Riverwalk Stadium. With the win, the Smokies improve their second half record to 16-19 and their overall record to 59-46.
The Smokies bats wasted no time in the top of the first inning off RHP Nick Barnese. With one out and two men on, Blake Lalli drove in Nate Samson with an RBI single to left field, putting Tennessee on the board 1-0. With Ty Wright at third base, Josh Vitters hit into a fielder’s choice, allowing Wright to cross home and make it 2-0 Smokies. However, Vitters was caught stealing second base to end the threat for more runs. The Biscuits came back to tie the game in the third inning off LHP Brooks Raley. With two outs in the frame, Tim Beckham connected on a solo home run to center field to put Montgomery on the board. The next batter, Cole Figueroa, tripled down the right field line and later scored on an RBI single up the middle by Henry Wrigley to tie the game at 3-3 after three innings.
Barnese was taken out after five innings of work and replaced with RHP Neil Schenk. (1-1) After Lalli began the frame by reaching on an error, Schenk was able to record the first and second outs in consecutive order. Schenk then preceded to walk the next four batters he faced, leading to a pair of runs coming in to score. With the bases still loaded, Samson punched a pitch up the middle to score two more runs and give the Smokies a 6-2 advantage. Two batters later, it was Lalli driving in two more runs with a double in to right field, making it 8-2 Smokies. In total, the Smokies posted six runs on just two hits and sent up 11 batters in the sixth inning.
The Smokies bullpen handled the rest of the game in impressive fashion, allowing just one runner to reach base over the final four innings. RHP Oswaldo Martinez (2-0) picked up the win after allowing one hit and striking out two over two innings of work.
Tennessee returns home to start a five game series against the Birmingham Barons on Sunday at 5:00 PM. RHP Ryan Searle (2-2, 4.25) gets the ball for the Smokies, while the Barons counter with RHP Charles Shirek (2-4, 3.66). Tickets can be purchased at www.smokiesbaseball.com or by calling (865) 286-2300.