The Tennessee Smokies (18-9, 52-44) will look for the series victory tonight against the Jacksonville Suns (14-13, 48-46) in Game 4 of their five-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00 PM from Smokies Park.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: The Smokies gained another game on Birmingham in the North Division and now sit 3.5 games ahead. Jacksonville got some help from Montgomery as they beat Mobile last night on the road. The Suns remain 2.5 games back of the BayBears in the South Division.
Jacksonville: Adam Conley (8-4, 3.66 ERA): Conley fired a seven-inning, complete-game shutout in his last start on July 14 against Mobile to snap a two-start losing streak. He has been a strikeout specialist for the Suns this season averaging 8.46 strikeouts per nine innings, good for third best in the Southern League. Despite a losing record at 1-2, Conley has been sharp in the month of July with a 2.20 ERA in three starts.
Tennessee: A.J. Morris (3-0, 3.54 ERA): Morris has been excellent since joining the Smokies rotation and will be on the mound for his eighth start. He has allowed multiple runs in only one start this season and has yielded just one run overall in his last two starts. Against the South Division, Morris has made three starts and is 1-0 with a 0.60 ERA.
LAST TIME OUT: Early scoring was the theme in last night’s game as the Smokies emerged victorious by the final score of 7-4. Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the first, Justin Bour hit a three-run home run to put Tennessee on top. After Jacksonville tied the game with two runs in the second inning, Javier Baez put the Smokies right back on top with a two-run double. Austin Kirk picked up his second win of the season and Frank Batista earned his 12th save of the season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Mark Canha: Canha was 3-for-3 last night including a solo home run in the top of the first inning. It was Canha’s first three-hit game since May 30 at Pensacola.
Chris Gutierrez: Gutierrez is one hitter who hasn’t gotten it going so far in this series. He is 0-for-7 in two games and he’s 1-for-12 in his last four.
Justin Bour: The Smokies cleanup hitter crushed a three-run home run in the first inning to put the Smokies in front 3-1. It was his first RBIs since July 8 against Huntsville.
Rafael Lopez: Despite hitting the ball well last night, Lopez went 0-for-4 and remains marred in a slump. He is 1-for-29 in his last nine games.
KEY TO THE GAME: The Smokies have allowed Jacksonville to score first in every game of this series including twice in the first inning. Eight of the Suns thirteen runs in this series have come in the first three innings.
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 4:45 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.