KODAK, Tenn. (release) -- BayBears right fielder Dustin Martin recorded four hits, while Smokies third baseman Kris Bryant drove in his Southern League leading 41st run and extended his hitting streak to nine with a run-scoring double in Mobile’s 7-1 victory over Tennessee in front of 5,113 fans on Friday evening at Smokies Stadium.
The victory pushes Mobile to a 2-1 advantage in the series, with the potential to clinch the five-game set Saturday evening. The BayBears improved to 29-18 on the year as well with the win, while Tennessee fell to 25-22.
The BayBears for the second time in three games wasted little time getting the scoring started with a tally in the opening frame. SS Sean Jamieson led off with a double to left, and then moved to third on a base knock, before coming across on an RBI groundout to put Mobile ahead.
Mobile would then extend the advantage to four with a three-spot in the fifth. Each of the first five hitters reached base, including hits by the first four, with run-scoring hits from RF Dustin Martin and LF David Peralta, while 3B Jake Lamb’s sacrifice fly to left made it 4-0.
Tennessee eventually got on the board in the sixth, thanks to Bryant, the Southern League’s leading in runs batted in. Pinch hitter John Andreoli began the frame with an infield bunt single and advanced to second on a fielding miscue, before coming in on Bryant’s run-scoring double to left. It was the 41st run the 22-year-old has driven in this season, with the two-bagger also extending Bryant’s hit streak to nine contests.
The Mobile margin would open to six in the top of the seventh courtesy of a three-run inning. Martin reached on a single, and went on to third on Peralta’s double, before scoring on 1B Jon Griffin’s run-scoring hit to left. After Peralta came plateward on a fielder’s choice, C Raywilly Gomez brought home Griffin with an RBI single to left, capping the scoring at 7-1.
Martin (4-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI) led all batters with his four base knocks, with half of those doubles, while Jamieson (2-5, 2 R, 1 2B) and Peralta (2-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI) also recorded multi-hit efforts. CF Jae-Hoon Ha (2-4) was the lone Smokies batter to collect two hits, while Bryant’s 41st RBI now ranks him second in the Southern League. The 22-year-old also leads the Southern League in several other offensive categories, including homers, runs, hits, slugging percentage and total bases.
BayBears starter Justin Fitzgerald (5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO) earned the win to remain unbeaten by improving his record to 3-0, while Patrick Schuster (1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 SO), RJ Hively (1.1 IP, 2 H, 3 SO) and Jake Barrett (1.0 IP, 1 BB, 2 SO) joined forces to fire the final 3.1 scoreless innings. Smokies right-hander Dae-Eun Rhee (6.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 SO) suffered the loss after yielding four earned runs on eight hits in his six innings of work.
Game four of the five-game set is slated for 6:15 p.m. Saturday evening, with Mobile set to give the nod to right-hander Charles Brewer (NR). Tennessee’s starter has not yet been announced.
Fans will want to come early to the ballpark, as the first 1,000 fans will receive a free Smokies t-shirt jersey of third baseman Kris Bryant. In addition, one lucky pre-registered fan will receive a trip for two to see the Smokies’ parent club, the Chicago Cubs, play in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.
Tickets for Saturday night and all remaining 2014 Smokies home games are still available and can be purchased online at www.smokiesbaseball.com, or by calling the Smokies Ticket Office at (865) 286-2300.