KODAK, Tenn. (release) -- The Tennessee Smokies’ 1-2 punch of Eric Jokisch and Rebel Ridling was too much for the Birmingham Barons to handle Saturday night at Smokies Park. In front of, 4,835 fans, the duo carried the Smokies to a 2-1 win over the Barons (29-39) to improve to 35-34 on the year.
With two outs in the eighth, Ridling sent a solo home run off Barons reliever Ryan Kussmaul (0-1) to break a 1-1 tie and give the Smokies the 2-1 lead.
Jokisch did his part in his fifth start for the Smokies in 2012. He continued the trend of solid starting pitching for the Smokies, allowing one run on four hits over six frames.
Early in the game, the Barons scored a single run in the first on a solo home run by Corey Smith to put Birmingham ahead 1-0.
Tennessee answered in the third to tie the game. Junior Lake walked and stole second. Three batters later, Jim Adduci singled to center to score Lake and knot the game at one.
Once again, the Smokies bullpen was dominant. Marcus Hatley (3-1) gave up one hit over his two innings of work, and Frank Batista (S, 10) came in to close out the game in the ninth.
The Smokies will look to sweep their five-game series with the Barons on Sunday evening at 5:00 p.m. RHP Trey McNutt (4-5, 3.65) will start for Tennessee and Birmingham will counter with RHP Simon Castro (5-3, 3.65). Gates will open at 3:00 p.m., and fans can play catch with dad in the Smokies Park outfield from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. For tickets and more information visit www.smokiesbaseball.com or call (865) 286-2300.
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