KODAK, Tenn. (smokiesbaseball.com) -- The Tennessee Smokies’ offense came alive early and the pitching staff followed with their own dominant performance leading the Smokies to an 11-2 win over the Mobile BayBears on Saturday night in front of 4,480 fans at Smokies Park. With the win, the Smokies’ record improves to 27-16, which is best in the Southern League. Mobile dropped to 23-18.
The BayBears jumped on Smokies starter Hung-Wen Chen with a run in the first, as Paul Goldschmidt hit his league-leading 15th home run to put them ahead 1-0.
Tennessee responded quickly in the first as Marwin Gonzalez and DJ LeMahieu led the inning off with back-to-back triples, and Ryan Flaherty followed with an RBI double. Nelson Perez then brought in Flaherty with a two-out single, making it 3-1.
Matt Spencer followed up a five-RBI performance Friday night with a solo shot in the third, his 10th of the season and third in the last two games, putting the Smokies ahead 4-1.
The Smokies then capitalized on four Mobile miscues to put the game out of reach in the fourth. Perez reached on a fielding error by SS Taylor Harbin to lead things off, and after a Samson single, RP Kyle Smit laid down a sacrifice but and a throwing error by C Josh Ford scored Perez. Gonzalez walked, then Flaherty singled to bring in two runs. Spencer then walked, and then Gonzalez scored on a wild pitch by BayBears starter Wes Roemer. After Rebel Ridling walked, Flaherty came in on a passed ball, and Blake Lalli grounded out scoring Spencer giving the offense six runs on the inning (all unearned) and a commanding 10-1 lead.
Reliever Ty’Relle Harris struggled to find the plate in the fifth. Harris walked Jake Elmore to lead off the inning, and then got two batters out, he then walked three consecutive batters bringing in a run, narrowing the BayBears deficit. Harris, however, was able to get 3B Ryan Wheeler to ground out to a fielder’s choice to end the inning and only allowing the one run.
The Smokies answered in the bottom half, with Samson leading off the inning with a double and D.J. LeMahieu bringing him in with an RBI single.
The Smokies bullpen was brilliant, as four pitchers surrendered only one run and one hit over seven combined innings of work. Kyle Smit (2-0) received the win after throwing two scoreless innings and striking out two. Roemer (3-1) took the loss for Mobile.
Tennessee will try to continue their five-game winning streak on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. The Smokies will send RHP Rob Whitenack (4-0, 2.40) and the BayBears will counter with RHP Charles Brewer (2-1, 3.80). Tickets can be purchased at www.smokiesbaseball.com or by calling (865) 286-2300
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