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Smokies give up late lead, fall in extras in finale

(Tennessee Smokies)  The Tennessee Smokies lost to the Jackson Generals 6-5 in the final game of the road series on Friday. After tying the game in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Generals walked off in the bottom of the tenth inning.

Tennessee jumped in front early when Trey Martin hit a solo home run to left center in the first inning, giving the Smokies a 1-0 lead. It was the fifth home run of the season for Martin.

Jackson then tied the game on an RBI-single in the bottom of the second inning, making it a 1-1 game. The Generals took the lead in the fourth inning on a pair of RBI-singles and a groundout, making it 4-1.

Tennessee cut into the Generals lead on a Vimael Machin groundout that scored Trent Giambrone, which made it 4-2. Jeffrey Baez pulled the Smokies within one on a single that scored Jesse Hodges. Ian Rice followed with a two-run double to left field which gave Tennessee a 5-4 lead, scoring Yasiel Balaguert and Jason Vosler. Jackson answered with a two-out double in the bottom of the ninth inning that tied the game and they walked off an inning later.

Matt Swarmer made his 2018 Smokies debut as the starting pitcher on Thursday. Swarmer, who was drafted by the Cubs in the 19th round of the 2016 MLB Draft, was named the Chicago Cubs minor league pitcher of the month in April. Before his promotion to Tennessee, the 24-year-old Swarmer had made nine starts in Myrtle Beach this season. He went 5-2 with a 2.28 ERA in those outings, earning the call-up.

On Thursday, Swarmer pitched 4.0 innings, allowing four runs on five hits and one walk. He also struck out three in his debut. Zach Hedges relieved Swarmer to start the fifth inning. Hedges threw 2.0 scoreless innings in relief, giving up three hits while striking out two.

Jake Stinnett was the next Tennessee pitcher called into action, and he pitched 2.0 scoreless innings as well. James Norwood allowed Jackson to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Generals earned the win in the tenth.

The Smokies will return home to begin a ten-game homestand at Smokies Stadium starting on Friday. Tennessee faces Birmingham in the first of back-to-back home series. Friday’s game is set to start at 7:00 p.m.

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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