By Adam Kline / Tennessee Smokies
KODAK, Tenn. – For the second consecutive night, the Tennessee Smokies fell behind early to the Birmingham Barons and were unable to overcome the deficit falling Thursday night 13-6 at Smokies Park. With the loss, the Smokies fall to 3-5 for the second half, 38-40 overall.
The Barons (5-3, 35-42) wasted no time getting to Tennessee starter Trey McNutt sending 14 batters to the plate in the first. After retiring the first batter, Jared Mitchell reached on an error by second baseman Logan Watkins. Following a base hit by Jim Gallagher, Andy Wilkins hit a three-run home run. McNutt (4-7) would allow three more runs to score before being replaced by Ty’Relle Harris. Harris, coming in with the bases loaded, walked the first two batter he faced to bring in two more runs and give the Barons the commanding 8-0 lead.
McNutt’s night would end after two-thirds of an inning allowing eight runs (four earned) on six hits.
Down 9-0, the Smokies got on the scoreboard with three runs in the third inning. Elliot Soto led off with a single and Jae-Hoon Ha also singled to put runners at first and second. Junior Lake singled to score Soto, and Ha was caught trying to advance to third base on the play. Justin Bour picked up his league-leading 56th RBI with a double to score Lake, and Jim Adduci singled home Bour to narrow the Smokies deficit to 9-3.
Harris would exit the game in the fifth after holding the Birmingham hitters to just two runs (one earned) on five hits over his four innings of work.
With the Barons leading 11-3, the Smokies sparked a small rally in the sixth. Nelson Perez and Mike Brenly led off the inning with back-to-back home runs. Soto followed with a single and Watkins reached on an error by Barons’ second basemen Dan Wagner, and Soto came into score on the play to bring the score to 11-6.
Tennessee relievers Casey Weathers, Kevin Rhoderick and infielder Nate Samson combined to pitch the final 4.1 innings allowing a combined three runs on five hits.
Birmingham starter Spencer Arroyo (2-0) picked up the win for the Barons going allowing six runs (five earned) on 11 hits over his five innings of work.
Watkins (1-for-5) extended his hitting streak to 11 games. During the streak, he is hitting .391 (18-for-46).
Tennessee will look to even the five-game series with the Barons on Friday night at 7:15 at Smokies Park. The Smokies will look to RHP Dallas Beeler (2-5, 4.25) and Birmingham will counter with LHP Matt Wickswat (1-4, 11.13). For tickets or more information call (865) 286-2300 or visit http://www.smokiesbaseball.com
LISTEN TO GAME HIGHLIGHTS: June 28, 2012 Barons 13 Smokies 6