(Rob Harvey, Tennessee Smokies) Tennessee fell to Birmingham 11-10 in the series finale at Smokies Stadium on Tuesday night. Yasiel Balaguert led the offense as he finished the game with three hits and an RBI.
The Smokies wasted no time getting on the board as they scored one in the bottom of the first. A Trey Martin walk and singles from Jason Vosler and Balaguert loaded the bases for Trent Giambrone. Giambrone was hit by a pitch which scored Martin and made it 1-0.
Tennessee added to its lead in the third inning. Vosler doubled to start the inning and Balaguert followed up with a double of his own that scored Vosler. Giambrone was next and he reached on an error to put two men on base with one out. After a one hour and 29 minute rain delay with one out in the bottom of the third, the Smokies scored two more runs on an Ian Rice single and Zack Short single.
Matt Swarmer made his second start of the year for the Smokies on Tuesday since being called up to Double-A. Swarmer pitched three solid innings to start, allowing no runs on two hits while striking out three. Unfortunately for Swarmer, the long rain delay occurred in the bottom of the third, forcing him out of the game.
Preston Morrison replaced Swarmer after the delay and gave up three runs in two innings while striking out two. With the Smokies leading 4-3, Jake Stinnett replaced Morrison in the sixth inning and gave up the tying run. Stinnett finished going two innings and striking out three.
With the game tied at four, Tennessee broke through in the bottom of the seventh. A single by Charcer Burks and walks to Rice and Short loaded the bases with two outs. Martin came to the plate and, on the 13th pitch of the at bat, tripled over the center fielder’s head to score all three runs and made it 7-4 Smokies.
On the mound, Zach Hedges replaced Stinnett in the eighth but could not hold the lead as he gave up three runs that tied the game. Hedges settled down and pitched a scoreless ninth to keep the game tied. In the 10th, Hedges got two outs before being relieved by Jordan Minch. Minch got the final out of the 10th but was unable to keep the game tied in the 11th as the Barons scored four runs.
The Smokies attempted a rally in the bottom of the 11th. With Balaguert starting the inning on second, Burks singled to score Balaguert after a Giambrone walk. The next batter, Rice, kept the rally going with a single that scored Giambrone to make it 11-9. After a walk to Vimael Machin with two outs loaded the bases, Martin walked as well which scored Burks to make it a one run game. That was as close as the Smokies got though as Vosler grounded out to end the game.
The Smokies begin their final series of the first half of the season on Wednesday against the Montgomery Biscuits at 7 p.m. Oscar De La Cruz is the projected starter for Tennessee as he looks for his sixth win of the year. The Biscuits will counter with J.D. Martin.