Lopez drives in four runs as Smokies hold on to beat Barons 5-2

Photo Courtesy: Roger C. Hoover

Photo Courtesy: Roger C. Hoover

By: Michael Wottreng

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.  – Catcher Rafael Lopez cleared the bases with a double in a four-run ninth inning for the visiting team to propel the Tennessee Smokies (34-21, 68-56) to a 5-2 victory over the Birmingham Barons (27-29, 71-55) at Regions Field in Birmingham, Ala. Sunday night.

Tied at one in the top of the ninth inning, the first two batters for the Smokies were retired. Christian Villanueva walked, Brett Jackson and John Andreoli singled to load the bases for Lopez. The Smokies backstop drove a 2-2 pitch to the wall in right that plated all three base runners. The next batter, Jonathan Mota, doubled to left to score Lopez and put Tennessee on top 5-1.

Birmingham tried to mount a comeback in the last of the ninth against Frank Batista. The closer walked a couple batters and hit another Baron to bring home a run that allowed the potential winning to the plate. Batista struck out Jared Mitchell and induced a force out from Dan Wagner to close out the game.

The Smokies lit the scoreboard first in second inning. Justin Bour extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single to begin the frame. After back-to-back strikeouts, Andreoli laced a single to left field to put runners at first and second. Lopez drove Bour home with a flare into center field to put Tennessee in front 1-0.

Smokies starting pitcher Eduardo Figueroa worked out of a jam in the sixth inning. After walking the leadoff man, Figueroa surrendered a double to put runners at second and third base. The righty notched a strike out, pop out and a line out to keep the Barons off the board.

Birmingham tied the score in the bottom of the 7th inning. Brandon Jacobs started the frame with an infield single. After a sacrifice bunt and a ground out put Jacobs at third base, Jonathan Mota’s first error since May 18 allowed the outfielder to cross the plate and tie the score at one.

Lopez went 2-for-4 with four runs batted in and a run scored as the native of Wellington, Fla. has a .395 average with 11 RBIs in 10 games against Birmingham this season.

Figueroa worked six scoreless innings striking out five while scattering four hits and walking a batter.

The Smokies will try to make it two straight victories tomorrow evening with the first pitch slated for 8:05 p.m. EST from Regions Field in Bimingham. Right-hander Dae-Eun Rhee (4-1, 3.64) gets the ball in game two for the Smokies opposing Barons’ righty Chris Beck (0-1, 3.38).


To stay current with all the latest news, follow Smokies on Radio on Twitter and like the Smokies on Radio Facebook page. Michael Wottreng is a Broadcast and Multimedia Assistant for the Smokies Radio Network. You can follow Michael on Twitter here: @MWottreng

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Categories: Game Recap

Author:Michael Wottreng


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