(Tennessee Smokies) The Tennessee Smokies (17-20) dropped game one 6-1, and game two 4-1 in their doubleheader against the Birmingham Barons (15-22) on Monday afternoon at Smokies Stadium.
The Barons pitching staff secured the sweep by holding the Smokies to a combined two runs and 10 hits through both games.
Ti’Quan Forbes started and ended the scoring for the Barons. Forbes gave Birmingham a 1-0 lead with an RBI in the first inning. Then in the third, Luis Robert ended a 1-for-14 dry spell with a solo home run off LHP Justin Steele (L, 0-3) to double the Barons lead. Forbes capped off the Barons offense with a three-run home run making it a 6-0 lead in the fifth inning.
In relief, Smokies RHP Michael Rucker tossed the final three innings of game one, but struggled in his first inning allowing four runs. He settled in after that with two perfect innings to close out the game.
The Smokies spoiled LHP Kyle Kubat’s (W, 3-0) shutout bid in the last frame with a Charcer Burks RBI single to score Jared Young. Kubat dominated on the mound again, tossing seven innings in each of his first three Double-A starts.
Similar to the first game, Birmingham scored first in game two. In the top of the first inning, Gavin Sheets’ groundball slipped into left field to score Laz Rivera and Luis Alexander Basabe giving the Barons a 2-0 lead.
The Barons lead was sliced in half courtesy of Jared Young’s sacrifice fly to left-field, scoring Roberto Caro in the bottom of the first. Two scoreless innings later Blake Rutherford’s two-run homer drove in the two insurance runs.
In his Barons debut, RHP Blake Battenfield (W, 1-0) restricted the Smokies bats to four hits and one run during his four innings on the mound. Smokies RHP Brad Markey (L, 1-1) lasted four innings while giving up four runs on four hits.
The pair of wins gave Birmingham their first consecutive back-to-back wins since April 18/19.
The Smokies and Barons continue their series playing under the sun again on Tuesday with first pitch at 12:00 pm ET. RHP Thomas Hatch (1-4, 5.85) gets the ball for Tennessee. Attempting to clinch the series for Birmingham, the Barons turn things over to LHP Kodi Medeiros (0-5, 6.94).