By Adam Kline / Tennessee Smokies
KODAK, Tenn. – Looking to square the four-game series, the Tennessee Smokies were unable to keep up with the Jackson Generals suffering their third loss of the series, 9-2. With the loss, in front of 3,752 at Smokies Park, Tennessee falls to 12-14, 47-49 overall, which is 4.5 games behind the first-place Generals (16-9, 58-37).
Tennessee starter Nick Struck looked to be on top of his game only allowing a hit through the first two innings. Jackson scored five times in the third inning to open the scoring. Leury Bonilla walked and scored on a two-run home run by Francisco Martinez to give Jackson a 2-0 lead. The Generals took advantage of an throwing error by Greg Rohan and three consecutive base hits to pull ahead 4-0.
Two innings later, Jackson added to their lead when Joe Dunigan blasted a two-run home run out of Smokies Park to extend the Generals’ lead, 6-0. The home run was Dunigan’s league-leading 19th of the season.
Struck (10-9) struggled through five innings of work, allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits, walking two and fanning two.
Jackson scored three times in the sixth off Tennessee reliever Casey Harman to take a 9-0 lead. Tennessee was able to break through against Jackson starter Brandon Maurer in the sixth. Logan Watkins tripled and Jae-Hoon Ha walked to put runners at the corners. Watkins was come in to score on a RBI single by Justin Bour and Greg Rohan grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Ha to narrow the Smokies deficit to 9-2.
Maurer (7-2) took the win in the series clinching victory for Jackson firing six innings, surrendering two runs on five hits and striking out seven. Jonathan Arias and Jose Jimenez followed Maurer with three innings of one-hit ball and each struck out two to end the Smokies night.
Frank Batista threw two scoreless innings of relief and Tony Zych threw a scoreless ninth out of the bullpen.
Following an off day on Wednesday, Tennessee with head South to play nine games in 11 days. The Smokies will face the Chattanooga Lookouts in a four-game series, and then travel to Jacksonville, Fla. to take on the Jacksonville Suns in a five-game set. Tennessee will return to Smokies Park on Monday, July 30 for a five-game set with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. For tickets and more information visit http://www.smokiesbaseball.com or call (865) 286-2300.