(Tennessee Smokies) The Smokies fell on Wednesday night to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 4-2 in the series finale at Smokies Stadium. The Smokies struggled at the plate, and despite solid outings from the bullpen, were unable to pull out a win.
Michael Rucker took the mound for the Smokies and gave the Smokies a chance with a solid outing. Rucker pitched five innings, allowing three runs on four hits and struck out five. Rucker threw three scoreless innings to start the game but struggled in his final few innings, giving up the three runs.
After the Jumbo Shrimp built up a 3-0 lead to start the game, the Smokies fought back in the bottom of the fifth. The Smokies sent seven batters to the plate in the inning and scored two runs. The rally started after Zack Short and Charcer Burks singled to lead off the inning. That brought up Erick Castillo who singled to center field to drive in Short. Then, after Burks was thrown out at the plate, Trent Giambrone doubled to left field, scoring Castillo to cut the lead to one.
The Jumbo Shrimp immediately regained a two-run lead in the top of the sixth inning after Rucker had been taken out of the game. Tommy Nance replaced Rucker and threw the next two innings, not giving up an earned run and striking out four. James Norwood replaced Nance and kept his 0.00 ERA in tact as he pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth innings. The Smokies went down quietly in the ninth to close out the game.
Offensively, the Smokies were led in the game by Giambrone who had two hits and an RBI. Giambrone is now hitting .308 on the season. The Smokies had hits in five of the innings but could bring just two runs across.
The Smokies will be back in action on Thursday evening as they travel to Chattanooga to take on the Lookouts. First pitch is at 7:15 p.m. Trevor Clifton will be looking for his second win of the season as he will take the mound for the Smokies while Lewis Thorpe will take the mound for the Lookouts.