(Tennessee Smokies) The Smokies and Shuckers battled for 12 innings on Tuesday night but it was the Smokies who came out on top to win their first series at home this season thanks to RF Billy McKinney sending a walk-off single to center field with the bases loaded.
With the win Tennessee improves to 21-24 on the season while Biloxi dropped to 26-18.
The Smokies got on the board during their first time at the dish as 2B Chesny Young (3-6, 2 R) led off the first inning with a double to left field. Young was then moved to third thanks to a 3B Jeimer Candelario (3-6, RBI) sacrifice fly. Shuckers’ starter LHP Wei-Chung Wang (5.1 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 5 SO, BB) was then called for a balk allowing Young to score handing the Smokies a 1-0 advantage.
The Smokies doubled their lead in the third thanks to Candelario sending a single up the middle that drove in Young from third. Young led off the frame with a single to left and moved to third after CF Jacob Hannemann (1-3, R, 2 BB, SO) singled to right.
Biloxi answered right back as they picked up a run in the fourth and fifth innings. RHP Brad Markey (6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 SO, 2 BB) began the fourth by handing 1B Nick Ramirez (0-3, R, 2 BB, 2 SO) a free pass and moved to second after CF Tyrone Taylor (2-4, BB) picked up a base knock to left. SS Nick Shaw (2-5, RBI, SO) drove home Ramirez with a two out single on a ground ball between third and shortstop.
The Shuckers tied the contest up in the fifth when LF Kyle Wren (3-6, RBI, R) sent one out of the yard and over the right field wall for his first home run of the season making it a 2-2 game.
Tennessee turned to the bullpen and went to RHP Starling Peralta (3.0 IP, 2 H, 2 SO, BB) after Markey was able to retire the side in the sixth. He also retired the side in the third frame. Peralta did not find any trouble in his three innings of work and picked up both of his strikeouts in the ninth.
Biloxi gave the mound to RHP Tyler Spurlin (0.2 IP, SO, BB) with one man on and one out in the sixth and the 24-year-old got out of the inning despite giving up a walk to LF Bijan Rademacher (0-2, BB, 2 SO).
The Smokies gave the ball to RHP Miguel Mejia (2.0 IP, 2 H, 4 SO) to begin the 10th inning and the 28-year-old was dominant on the mound specifically in the 11th when he picked up three strikeouts.
Both the Smokies and Shuckers led off the 11th inning with singles, but neither team could capitalize.
RHP Michael Jensen (1.0 IP, 2 BB, SO) took over the Smokies to begin the 12th and found himself in some trouble, but was able to escape . He walked 3B Brandon Macias (2-4, BB) who was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from 2B Javier Betancourt (0-2, SO). Jensen then got Wren to ground out before walking C Jacob Nottingham (0-5, BB, 3 SO) and striking out RF Garrett Cooper (0-6, 2 SO) to end the half inning. Jensen was handed the win for his efforts improving to 2-0 on the year.
The Smokies finally managed to breakthrough in the home half of the 12th frame. Hannemann drew a one out walk then moved to third thanks to a Candelario single to right field. LHP Brett Lee (1.1 IP, 3 H, ER, 2 BB) intentionally walked CVictor Caratini (1-5, BB, 2 SO) which brought up McKinney (2-6, RBI, SO) with the bases loaded. McKinney had hit into two double plays earlier in the game, but got a hold of one single to center field for the Smokies’ first walk-off win of 2016.
The Smokies will enjoy a day off on Tuesday before beginning a five-game series in Chattanooga against the Lookouts, the Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, on Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. ET. The Smokies have not yet named their starting pitcher for Wednesday’s contest.