After another one-run loss, the Tennessee Smokies (32-33) look to get back to .500 as they get set to take on the Mississippi Braves (36-30) in Game 2 of a five-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 PM from Smokies Park.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: The Smokies have lost three straight games at home and three straight overall. They remain a half game ahead of Chattanooga in second place in the North Division. Mississippi’s win last night kept them a half game behind Mobile in the South Division race.
Mississippi: Mitch Atkins (0-1, 1.13 ERA): Atkins was originally drafted by the Cubs in 2004 and pitched parts of 2009 and 2010 with the big league club. He started this season with the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League before signing with the Braves. He was a hard-luck loser in his lone start of the season allowing one run in five innings against Pensacola on June 8.
Tennessee: Austin Kirk (0-1, 9.00 ERA): Kirk will make his second start and first home start for the Smokies in 2013. He struggled in his first start in Double-A this year in Mobile taking the loss allowing six runs on ten hits in six innings on June 7.
LAST TIME OUT: Christian Bethencourt brought in the game-winning run for Mississippi in the 8th inning with a double play as the Braves held on to a 3-2 win. Bethencourt also hit a solo home run in the 6th inning which at the time made it 2-0 Mississippi. Although he didn’t get the win, Cody Martin was marvelous in his start allowing two runs, one earned in 6.1 innings with 11 strikeouts. Alberto Cabrera started for Tennessee and surrendered two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings. Offensively for Tennessee, Matt Szczur had a pinch-hit, RBI single and Jonathan Mota had an RBI groundout for the Smokies only two runs.
ONE RUN SHORT…AGAIN: The Smokies fell in another one-run game last night against Mississippi. The last four losses for the Smokies have been one-run losses with two of them coming in extra innings.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Christian Bethencourt: The Braves prospect belted his second home run of the season last night for the Braves. The home run was his first since April 11 at Birmingham.
Edward Salcedo: Salcedo is in a slump including an 0-for-4 performance with a double play last night. In his last five games, Salcedo has just 1 hit in 16 at-bats.
Rubi Silva: Silva was the only Smokey to collect two hits last night. Rubi has hits in four of his last five games and is tied for the league lead with 27 extra-base hits.
Matt Szczur: In his first pinch hit appearance of the season, Matt Szczur drove in the Smokies first run of the game in the 7th inning last night. Szczur has RBIs in back-to-back games for the first time May 26-27.
KEY TO THE GAME: With so many one-run losses recently, the Smokies are in need of a good start in tonight’s game. They have scored first just twice in their last eight games so they haven’t been able to build much confident early on in contests.
TUNE IN: The broadcast will be available on our flagship station, The Sports Animal WNML AM 990 and on FM 99.1 in Knoxville beginning at 7:00 ET with the Pilot & Oscar Mayer Pregame Show. You can also listen to the broadcast in its entirety on smokiesbaseball.com as well as the Smokies mobile app.