(Tennessee Smokies) The Tennessee Smokies lost 8-5 in game one of the series against the Birmingham Barons at Smokies Stadium on Thursday. Tennessee’s pitching was not able to limit the Barons bats throughout the game.
Birmingham jumped out to an early lead on an RBI-groundout in the top of the second inning, making it 1-0 Barons. They added another run in the third inning on an RBI-double that made it 2-0. P.J. Higgins led off the bottom of the frame with a Tennessee double. Charcer Burks drove Higgins in with a sacrifice fly later in the inning to put the Smokies on the board and make it 2-1.
Yasiel Balaguert led off the fourth inning with a single and Ian Rice followed with a walk to put two runners on. Eddy Martinez brought Balaguert and Rice home with a triple, putting Tennessee in front 3-2. It was the first triple of the season for Martinez. Burks added to the lead with a solo home run to left field in the fifth inning, making it 4-2. It was the fourth homer of the year for Burks.
The Barons bounced back with two runs in the sixth inning, tying the game at 4-4 on an RBI-single and a sacrifice fly. Tennessee would immediately regain the lead in the bottom of the frame, as Rice singled to start the inning. Hodges and Myers followed with walks to load the bases. Burks was hit by a pitch to score Rice, giving the Smokies a 5-4 advantage. Once again, the Barons would answer. An RBI-single in the seventh made it a 5-5 game and Birmingham took the lead on a two-run double in the eighth to make it 7-5. The Barons added one more run at the end of the inning to stretch the lead to 8-5.
Keegan Thompson made the start on the mound for Tennessee. Thompson pitched 4.1 innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and three walks. He also struck out four in the start. Thompson was relieved by Zach Hedges with two runners on and one out in the top of the fifth. Hedges was able to strand both runners with a pair of strikeouts. He went on to throw a total of 2.1 innings, allowing three runs on three hits and one walk. Jordan Minch relieved Hedges and pitched 1.1 innings, giving up three runs on three hits. Scott Effross threw a scoreless ninth inning for the Smokies.
Tennessee and Birmingham are set to play the second game of the series on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. Duncan Robinson (5-2, 3.42 ERA) is tabbed as the Smokies starting pitcher and Birmingham will counter with Alec Hansen (0-4, 6.04 ERA). Robinson has allowed two earned runs or fewer in six out of his last seven starts
Written by Blake Von Hagen, Broadcast Assistant for the Tennessee Smokies