JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (release) -- The hottest team in the Southern League, the Jacksonville Suns (27-16, 61-49), defeated the Tennessee Smokies (24-19, 58-54) 6-4 Monday night at Bragan Field in Jacksonville. It was the eleventh straight win for the Suns and fifth consecutive victory over the Smokies.
Jacksonville scored in the first inning for the second straight night. Matt Loosen struck out the first two batters he faced. Former big leaguer Derek Dietrich blasted a 1-2 pitch well over the fence in right field to give the Suns a 1-0 lead after a frame.
The visiting team tied the score in the top of the second inning. With runners at the corners and two outs, Loosen stepped into the batter’s box. The starting pitcher was 0-for-4 at the plate this season until he dropped a single down the right field line to plate the Smokies’ first run.
Danny Pertusati connected on a 1-2 pitch with a round-tripper over the left field fence to give the Suns a 2-1 lead in the second inning. It was the 14th home run allowed by the right-hander in a Smokies uniform this season.
The Suns extended their lead in the third inning after Loosen issued back-to-back walks to begin the stanza. After retiring the next two batters, Zack Cox lined a double to the gap in left center to bring home a pair of runners and give the home side a 4-1 advantage. Pertusati perfectly placed a ball in the hole on the left side of the infield to bring home Cox for Jacksonville’s fifth run.
With two outs in the fourth inning, the Smokies put runners at the corners for John Andreoli. The outfielder looped a single to left field to score Jonathan Mota and cut the deficit to 5-2. Javier Baez followed with a hot shot past the third basemen to plate the third run for Tennessee.
Tennessee continued to chip away in the sixth inning. Back-to-back to singles by Rubi Silva and Matt Szczur put runners at first and third for Andreoli. For the second time in the game the right fielder knocked in a run to make the score 5-4.
Mark Canha continued the string of long balls in the game launching a 1-0 fastball well over the wall in left field to extend the home team’s lead to 6-4.
Loosen (1-3, 7.48) took the loss allowing five earned runs on five hits with four strikeouts and three walks.
The Smokies have yet to announce a starting pitcher for tomorrow’s contest. Jacksonville will send left-hander Andrew Heaney (1-0, 0.00) to the mound for a scheduled 7:05 p.m. EST first pitch.