Jacksonville, Fla. (Smokies Baseball) -- The Jacksonville Suns used a five run fifth inning to capture their first victory of the series, downing the Smokies 8-4 on Monday night at The Baseball Grounds. The loss drops the Smokies to 12-6 on the season, but they remained tied with Huntsville for first place in the Northern Division.
The Smokies went out in front in the top of third off LHP Brad Hand, as Brett Jackson reached base on a one-out walk. He advanced to second base on a single to right field by D.J. LeMahieu and came into score on an RBI single by Rebel Ridling to put the Smokies ahead 1-0. It would be their only lead of the night. In the bottom frame, Kevin Mattison doubled with one out and then was able to score on two Smokies errors to tie the game at 1-1.
Jacksonville went ahead for good in the fifth against RHP Rafael Dolis (1-1), as they scored five runs on five hits in the frame. Luke Montz capped off the scoring with a three-run home run over the left field wall, and the Suns went ahead 6-1. The Smokies were able to get two runs back in the top of the sixth on a two-run homer off the bat of Rebel Ridling to cut the Suns’ lead to 6-3. It was Ridling’s second home run in as many days.
The Suns tacked on another run in the sixth and another in the eighth off a Chris Gutierrez RBI triple off Ty’Rell Harris. In the bottom of the ninth, Blake Lalli’s RBI single to drive in Steve Clevenger cut Jacksonville’s lead to 8-4, but the attempt at a comeback ended with Brett Jackson flying out to end the game.
The Smokies continue their five game series against the Suns on Tuesday night at 7:05 PM. RHP Trey McNutt (0-1, 2.70) will make his third start for the Smokies, and the Suns will give the ball to RHP Joe O’Gara (1-0, 4.76). The Smokies will return to Smokies Park on Thursday, April 28th, as the Smokies will host the Carolina Mudcats in a five-game series through May 2. Tickets can be purchased at www.smokiesbaseball.com or by calling (865) 286-2300.
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