(Tennessee Smokies) The Tennessee Smokies earned a 4-2 victory over the Mobile BayBears in the first game of the series in Mobile on Thursday night. A three-run seventh inning and solid pitching throughout the game gave the Smokies a win in the first game after the All-Star break.
Tennessee jumped in front early when Trey Martin hit a solo home run to left center field in the top of the first inning, giving the Smokies a 1-0 lead. It was the seventh home run of the season for Martin. The BayBears tied the game on a solo home run of their own in the sixth inning, making it a 1-1 game.
Ian Rice drew a walk to lead off the seventh inning and Trent Giambrone followed with a double to left field, moving Rice to third. After two groundouts, Charcer Burks walked to load the bases with two outs. Martin came to the plate and drew a walk on a seven-pitch at-bat to give the Smokies a 2-1 advantage, as Rice came home to score. Zack Short followed with a walk of his own, scoring Giambrone and increasing the lead to 3-1. Jason Vosler was hit by a pitch as the next batter to make it 4-1, bringing home Burks and adding another insurance run for Tennessee.
The BayBears had runners on first and third with no outs in the eighth, but a big double play limited the damage to just one run, making it 4-2.
Michael Rucker started on the mound for the Smokies. Rucker pitched 6.0 innings, allowing one run on four hits and one walk. He also added three strikeouts in his 14th start of the season. Rucker has held opposing batters to a .145 average in the month of June.
Scott Effross relieved Rucker to start the seventh inning. Effross threw 2.0 innings, giving up one run on two hits. He did not walk anyone and struck out one before handing the ball to James Norwood, who pitched a scoreless ninth to close the game.
Tennessee and Mobile will meet for game two of the series on Friday night at 8:05 p.m. ET. Oscar De La Cruz (5-6, 4.82 ERA) is going to start as Tennessee’s pitcher. De La Cruz has at least five strikeouts in seven out of his last nine starts and has held batters to a .236 average in the last 30 days.
Written by Blake Von Hagen, Broadcast Assistant for the Tennessee Smokies.