After their second doubleheader sweep in three days, the Tennessee Smokies (15-8, 49-43) look to win their fifth straight game against the Jackson Generals (10-13, 39-50) in Game 6 of their seven-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM from The Ballpark in Jackson.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: The Smokies have given themselves some breathing room in the North Division thanks to this four-game winning streak. They lead Birmingham by three games and are 4.5 games ahead of Chattanooga.
Tennessee: Kyle Hendricks (8-3, 2.13 ERA): Kyle Hendricks will make his last start before he starts the Southern League All-Star Game on Wednesday, July 17. He had his winning streak snapped in his last outing allowing two runs in five innings on July 8 against Huntsville. Hendricks has absolutely baffled the Generals this season. He is a perfect 3-0 and has not allowed a run in 23.2 innings. His 2.13 ERA is tops in the Southern League.
Jackson: James Gillheeney (3-3, 3.50 ERA): Gillheeney makes his 12th start of the season and third against the Smokies. He is 0-2 in two starts with a 9.64 ERA in 9.1 innings. Gillheeney has been strong though so far in the month of July. He is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two starts, but only went two innings in his last start in Pensacola on July 7.
LAST TIME OUT: It took extra innings in both contests, but the Smokies were able to sweep last night’s doubleheader. Tennessee won Game 1 by the score of 2-0 in 10 innings thanks to an RBI single by Javier Baez and an error that allowed Arismendy Alcantara to score. In Game 2, Baez homered in the 6th inning to tie the game at 1-1 and the Smokies took the lead in the 9th on an RBI double by Christian Villanueva.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Christian Villanueva: Villanueva’s RBI double in the 9th inning of Game 2 gave the Smokies a 2-1 victory. It also tied him with teammate Arismendy Alcantara for the most in the Southern League with 23.
Kevin Rhoderick: Rhoderick matched his season-high pitching three innings in Game 2 last night. He also earned his first win of the season.
Tyler Burgoon: Burgoon took the loss in Game 2 last night allowing a run in two innings. He has three losses against Tennessee already this season.
Michael Dowd: Dowd was responsible for the lone run that the Generals scored in the doubleheader yesterday with a solo home run in Game 2. It was his first home run of the season.
KEY TO THE GAME: Even though the Smokies won both games of the doubleheader last night, they did so only scoring four combined runs. Tennessee must get more production from their lineup and take walks when they can.
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 6:45 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.