(Rob Harvey, Tennessee Smokies) The Smokies defeated the Barons on Monday night 5-3 as they tied the series up going into the finale. Trent Giambrone and Yasiel Balaguert led the offense with two hits apiece.
Thomas Hatch was the starter for the Smokies and struggled with his control early on. Hatch allowed three runs in the first two innings, but he managed to settle down and keep things close. He finished the game going five innings, allowing three runs on four hits and striking out one.
Down 3-0, the Smokies mounted a small comeback in the bottom of the third. Trent Giambrone hit his sixth home run of the season, a solo shot to left field, to make it a 3-1 game. It was Giambrone’s first home run since he hit two on May 24.
Scott Effross replaced Hatch in the sixth inning and pitched two scoreless innings to keep the score at 3-1. Effross worked into some trouble in the top of the seventh but picked off a runner at first to get out of the inning.
After just five hits through the first six innings, the Smokies put the pressure on the Barons pitching in the seventh. Yasiel Balaguert led off the inning hitting his sixth home run of the season way over the fence in left field to make it a 3-2 game. The next batter, Jesse Hodges, walked and Charcer Burks singled to bring up Zack Short. Short singled up the middle and tied the game at three. After a Will Remillard bunt moved the runners over, Giambrone doubled off the wall and scored both runners to make it 5-3, Smokies.
James Norwood was called upon in the eighth to hold on to the lead, and he did just that as he pitched a scoreless inning. Craig Brooks finished the game off for Tennessee as he recorded his fourth save of the season.
Tennessee and Birmingham will finish out the series on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET. Matt Swarmer is the projected starter for the Smokies as he’ll make his second start since being called up to Double-A. Connor Walsh is the projected starter for the Barons.