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Smokies open road trip with 4-2 victory

(Tennessee Smokies)  LF Bijan Rademacher cranked a solo home run in the second and then put Tennessee ahead for good with an two-run double to left in the sixth, as the Smokies defeated the Jacksonville Suns, 4-2, on Wednesday afternoon at The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

With the victory, Tennessee improves to 4-2 on the season’s second half and 32-44 overall. Jacksonville’s loss drops them to 2-4 in the year’s second leg and 32-44 in total.

Deadlocked at two in the sixth, C Victor Caratini (1-3, 2 R, HR, BB, SO) drew a one-out walk, which forced Suns’ starter RHP Hunter Adkins (5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO) from the ballgame. LHP Tim Berry (0.2 IP, 2 H, R, ER, SO) entered and immediately surrendered a base-hit to RF Billy McKinney (2-4, R, SO) to put runners at first and second.

Following a strikeout, Rademacher (2-4, R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, SO) came through with the go-ahead knock. The 25-year-old ripped a shot into left-center field for a hit. Both Caratini and McKinney crossed the plate on Rademacher’s double to put the Smokies ahead, 4-2.

That was all the run support Tennessee needed, as the Smokies’ bullpen shut the door from that point forward. RHP Josh Conway (1.0 IP, 2 H), RHP R.J. Alvarez (1.2 IP, 3 H, 3 SO) and RHP Jose Rosario (1.1 IP, SO) combined to toss four innings of shutout relief to close out the win. Rosario tallied the final four outs of the contest to garner his third save with Tennessee and eighth overall this season.

Smokies’ starter RHP Jen-Ho Tseng (5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, ER, BB, 4 SO) completed his stellar June with another strong performance. The 21-year-old yielded one earned run over five innings to pick up his fourth victory of the season. Since coming off the Disabled List, Tseng has posted a 3-1 record and a 1.29 ERA (4 ER in 28.0 IP) in five starts.

Adkins (5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO) issued three runs on five hits over 5.1 innings for Jacksonville, while suffering his second loss with the Suns.

In the early portion of the contest it was the long ball that aided the Smokies. Rademacher made his first impact in the contest with a towering blast – his sixth of the season – to tie the game up at one in the second. In the fourth, it was Caratini who crushed a solo shot to right. The dinger – the 22-year-old’s second of the year and first since Opening Day – put Tennessee up, 2-1.

Jacksonville grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first thanks to an unearned run on a throwing error followed by a sacrifice fly from LFAustin Dean (1-4, RBI, 2 SO). The Suns added their final tally in the fourth on a game-tying RBI single from 1B Chris Curley (1-3, RBI, SO).

Rademacher (2-4, R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, SO) ignited the Smokies’ offense with a pair of hits and a game-best three runs batted in. CF Jacob Hannemann (2-4, 2B) and McKinney (2-4, R, SO) also picked up multiple knocks in the triumph.

C Francisco Arcia (3-4) accrued a game-high three hits for Jacksonville. CF Yefri Perez (2-5, R) and 2B Peter Mooney (2-4, R, 2B) added two other multi-hit games for the Suns.

The Smokies will look to win their fourth straight contest on Thursday night. They are expected to send RHP Duane Underwood Jr. (0-5, 5.44 ERA) to the bump, while Jacksonville is scheduled to counter with RHP Patrick Johnson (3-4, 4.45 ERA).

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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