KODAK, Tenn. (smokiesbaseball.com) -- The Tennessee Smokies gave fans a big taste of what they can expect from the 2011 Smokies, defeating the Montgomery Biscuits 12-10 on Opening Night at Smokies Park. The Smokies racked up 16 hits in front of a crowd of 5,822 fans, overcoming a late three-run deficit.
Blake Lalli and Marwin Gonzalez carried the load from the bottom of the order, combining for two home runs and six RBI on the night. Eight different players recorded base hits for the Smokies, who came into the game hitting .349 on the season as a team.
Montgomery started things off with a run in the top of the first, as Daniel Mayora drove in Tim Beckham with a two-out single. The Smokies responded quickly in the bottom half, as Brett Jackson led off with a single and Nate Samson drove him in with a double to deep center.
After the Biscuits increased their lead to 3-1 in the top of the third, the Smokies answered with a Gonzalez home run to lead off the bottom half of the inning. Singles by Jackson and Samson and a Matthew Moore balk put runners on second and third with no out, and D.J. LeMahieu tied things up with a groundout, scoring Jackson. Matt Spencer singled driving in Samson giving the Smokies their first lead of the game at 4-3, and Lalli extended the lead to 5-3 with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth.
Montgomery responded with another big inning in the top of the fifth, scoring three runs and taking a 6-5 lead. Jackson’s third single of the night, followed by a throwing error on a pickoff attempt and a LeMahieu single to center field, led to a run to tie the game at six in the bottom of the fifth.
The Biscuits offense picked up where they left off in the sixth, loading the bases and taking a 9-6 lead on a single and error in right field. The Smokies came back and loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the inning, but were only able to bring in one run, cutting the deficit to 9-7.
After a John Shelby base hit extended the Montgomery lead to 10-7 in the top of the seventh, the Smokies offense came through again. With the bases loaded and one out, a Gonzalez base hit scored two to bring it to 10-9. Jackson then tied the game at 10 by scoring Lalli on a sac fly to deep left.
The Smokies delivered the final blow in the bottom of the eighth. Singles by Spencer and Clevenger and a Rebel Ridling hit by pitch loaded the bases for Lalli, who drove in two runs with a two-out double down the left field line.
Blake Parker (1-0) got the win pitching two solid innings in relief. David Cales came in to close things out in the ninth, recording his third save of the season.
The Smokies will play game two of their five-game series against the Biscuits tomorrow night at 7:15 p.m. For tickets and more information visit www.smokiesbaseball.com or call 865-286-2300.
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