Mobile, AL (smokiesbaseball.com) -- A.J. Pollock’s RBI single in the bottom of the ninth off RHP Blake Parker (1-1) was the difference on Wednesday afternoon, as the BayBears defeated the Smokies 4-3 at Hank Aaron Stadium. The Smokies fall to 16-11 on the season, and have dropped four of their last five games.
LHP Brooks Raley made his fifth start for the Smokies and fell into trouble almost immediately, as he issued back-to-back walks in the first inning to Paul Goldschmidt and Marc Krauss. Goldschmidt would come into score on an RBI single by Taylor Harbin and Krauss touched home on the play as well after a throwing error by D.J. LeMahieu. Tennessee answered right back with two runs in the top of the second inning off RHP Jarrod Parker. After walked Rebel Ridling and giving up a double to Blake Lalli, Parker threw a wild pitch with Marwin Gonzalez at the plate. The wild pitch allowed Ridling to score the first run for the Smokies. Lalli came in to tied the game at 2-2 after Gonzalez grounded out. In the bottom of the second inning, Raley allowed one run to score on four straight base hits, and Mobile had a 3-2 lead after two innings.
Raley settled down after the second inning and retired nine of the final ten hitters he faced. He finished the day allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits over five innings of work, while also walking three and striking out one. RHP Ty’Relle Harris came out of the bullpen to relieve Raley and allowed just one hit and struck out three batters across the sixth and seventh innings. In the top of the eighth inning, the Smokies put together a two-out rally and tied the game at 3-3 after Brett Jackson walked, stole second base and came in to score on an RBI double by LeMahieu.
RHP Kevin Rhoderick pitched the eighth inning for Tennessee and allowed the go-ahead run to advance all the way to third base before he struck out Harbin to end the threat. Matt Spencer lead off the top of the ninth with a double and advanced to third base on a groundout by Lalli. With two out and the go-ahead run at third, Mobile’s Brian Shaw (2-0) faced Marwin Gonzalez, who proceeded to lay down a suicide squeeze but, but Shaw was able to field the ball and throw to first in time for the third out. In the bottom of the ninth, Parker gave up a hit to Ryan Wheeler, who then advanced all the way to third base after a fielding error by Brett Jackson. Parker then walked the bases loaded before Pollock’s single brought in the game winning run.
The Smokies continue their five game series with the BayBears on Thursday evening at 8:05 pm. LHP Chris Rusin (1-0, 5.40) will take the ball for the Smokies and Mobile will start RHP Wes Roemer (3-0, 2.25). Tennessee will return to Smokies Park to battle for first place with the Huntsville Stars starting Monday, April 9 through Friday, April 13. Tickets can be purchased at www.smokiesbaseball.com or by calling (865) 286-2300.
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