By Adam Kline / Tennessee Smokies
KODAK, Tenn. – After battling back from an early six-run deficit, the Tennessee Smokies tied the game in the sixth inning but fell to the Jackson Generals, 10-8, in front of 3,655 at Smokies Park Monday night. With the loss, the Smokies drop to 12-13 on the second half, 47-48 overall. Jackson improves to 15-9, 57-37.
In Tennessee’s longest game of the season (four hours and ten minutes), the Smokies and Generals combined to use 10 pitchers in the game allowing 18 runs on 29 hits.
The Generals jumped out to a 6-0 lead off Smokies starter Ty’Relle Harris, scoring a run in the second and five runs in the third inning.
Following a single by Logan Watkins, Jae-Hoon Ha hit his fourth home run of the season to put the Smokies on the board, 6-2.
Trailing 8-2 in the fifth, the Smokies brought momentum to the home side with a five-run inning of their own. Ha got the inning started, lacing a triple to right-center and came across to score on Justin Bour’s RBI single. Mike Brenly hit a two-run home run to left field off Jackson reliever Moises Hernandez. Greg Rohan and Mike Burgess both walked and advanced a bag each on a groundout by Nate Samson. Junior Lake made it an 8-7 game, dropping a single to right, scoring both Rohan and Burgess.
The Smokies came right back in the bottom of the sixth, Ha walked to begin the inning and moved to third on a single by Bour and a Juan Apodaca walk. Ha was thrown out at the plate on a Brenly grounder to third, but Rohan tied the game, 8-8, a batter later singling to center to score Bour.
The Generals however stalled the Smokies momentum, retaking the lead in the top of the seventh with two runs against reliever Trey McNutt. Denny Almonte got the first run across on an RBI single and after advancing to third on a stolen base and wild pitch, he would score on a sacrifice fly by Stefen Romero to bring the score to 10-8.
During the course of the game, Jackson’s manager Jim Pankovits and pitcher Moises Hernandez where ejected from the game by home plate umpire Alberto Ruiz.
Carter Capps (S, 17) shut the door on the Smokies tossing a perfect ninth. Yoervis Medina (3-4) picked up the win for Jackson, going two shutout innings in relief, surrendering just two hits and striking out four.
Harris was unable to get out of the third; he finished his night by throwing 2.2 innings, yielding six runs (five earned) on seven hits and fanned four and did not factor in the decision. McNutt (5-8) took the loss coming out the bullpen by giving up two runs on five hits and struck out three in 2.1 innings.
Ha led Tennessee’s offense going 3-for-5, with two RBIs and fell a double shy of the cycle.
The Smokies and Generals will square off in the series finale on Tuesday night at 7:15 at Smokies Park. Tennessee will send right-hander Nick Struck (10-8, 3.34) to the hill and Jackson will counter with righty Brandon Maurer (6-2, 3.87). For tickets and more information, visit http://www.smokiesbaseball.com or call (865) 286-2300.
LISTEN TO GAME HIGHLIGHTS: July 16, 2012 Generals 10 Smokies 8