JACKSON, Tenn. (team release) -- The Tennessee Smokies (20-25 second half, 55-60 overall) were unable to recover after surrendering six runs in the bottom of the first inning as the Jackson Generals (25-19, 67-47) took the final regular-season meeting between the teams, 10-4, on Tuesday night at Pringles Park. The loss in the finale of the five-game series was Tennessee’s fourth straight.
The Smokies opened the scoring in the top of the first when Matt Szczur led off the game with a triple and scored two batters later when Junior Lake grounded out to make it 1-0.
With Jake Brigham on the mound making his second start for the Smokies since being acquired by the Cubs from the Rangers in a trade last week, the Generals greeted the right-hander rudely in the bottom of the first. After the first three hitters reached base to load the bases with no outs, Joe Dunigan lined a two-run single to right to give Jackson a 2-1 edge. The next batter, Rich Poythress, launched a three-run homer to left. Poythress’s second home run in as many days and third of the season made it 5-1. Later in the frame, an RBI double by Nate Tenbrink put the Generals up 6-1 and chased Brigham from the contest.
That score held until the top of the fifth, when Matt Cerda scored on a Chad Noble ground out after tripling to start the inning to cut Tennessee’s deficit to 6-2. However, Jackson would plate a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame to jump back on top, 8-2.
Tennessee rallied for two runs in the top of the sixth thanks to a Justin Bour sacrifice fly and a Nate Samson RBI single to make it an 8-4 contest, but the Generals countered with a pair of runs in the home half of the sixth to cap the scoring.
Generals starter James Paxton (7-3) earned the win to improve to 4-0 on the second half, allowing four runs on seven this over 5.2 innings. Brigham (0-2) suffered the loss.
Bour turned in his fifth straight multi-hit outing, going 2-for-3 while driving in his league-leading 96th run of the season. For Jackson, Poythress and Dunigan each drove in three runs while Sucre went 4-for-5 with three runs scored.
The Smokies return home to Smokies Park on Wednesday night at 7:15 p.m. to begin a five-game set against the Huntsville Stars, the Double-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. In the series opener, Tennessee is slated to send right-hander Dallas Beeler (4-6, 3.99 ERA) to the mound against Huntsville righty Johnnie Lowe (1-2, 6.04 ERA).
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