MOBILE, Ala. (release) -- The Tennessee Smokies fell behind early in Austin Kirk’s first Double-A start of the 2013 season to the Mobile BayBears (32-28). Tennessee (31-29) has now lost three straight games.
Three of the first five hitters in the Mobile lineup doubled to kick start the BayBears offensive attack. Raywilly Gomez capped the onslaught with a two-run double to put Mobile ahead 3-0 after one inning.
The Smokies threatened in the third inning when they had runners at second and third with two outs and the cleanup hitter, Christian Villanueva, at the plate. The Tennessee third basemen grounded out sharply to second to end the frame.
Keon Broxton tripled to right to lead off the fourth inning. The next batter for Mobile, Mike Freeman, drove Broxton home with a sacrifice fly to left fielder Matt Szczur.
In the fifth inning, Smokies first basemen Jonathan Mota blasted his third home run of the season to left field to get the Smokies on the board. Following a strikeout by Austin Kirk, back-to-back singles and a walk loaded the bases. Villanueva hit a high chopper that third basemen Nick Evans was able to corral, step on the bag, and throw to first to end the Tennessee threat.
The three-run deficit would be the closest the Smokies would come the rest of the way. After a one-out walk to Justin Greene in the home half of the fifth, Nick Evans smacked his eighth home run of the year to put Mobile ahead 6-1.
The Smokies would have a comeback chance in the seventh inning halted. After Mota, pinch-hitter Ty Wright, and Szczur singled to load the bases with no outs, Evans turned a 5-2-3 double play. Arismendy Alcantara, who reached base three times, struck out swinging to end the inning.
Kirk (0-1) went six innings allowing six runs on 10 hits as the lefty notched four strikeouts with two walks. Tony Zych allowed one hit with one strikeout in relief. Hunter Cervenka worked a flawless eight inning tallying two punch outs.
Tennessee and Mobile will play game two of the series tomorrow at 8:05 p.m. The Smokies will send Kyle Hendricks (6-2, 2.20) to the mound while the BayBears will counter with Bo Schultz (1-0, 0.00) making his first start at the Double-A level this season.