With a four-run 9th inning last night, the Tennessee Smokies (36-22, 70-57) guaranteed themselves a series victory and now wrap up their series tonight against the Birmingham Barons (28-31, 72-57). First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 PM from Regions Field.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: Last night worked to perfection for the Smokies as they won and the Jackson Generals were swept in their doubleheader. Tennessee’s magic number now sits at just four.
Tennessee: Eric Jokisch (10-11, 3.50): Jokisch is coming off his first loss of the month allowing three earned runs in 6.1 innings on August 17. Tonight will be his fourth start of the season against Birmingham and he has not fared well. He is 0-3 with a 10.05 ERA. Jokisch ranks third in the Southern League with 122 strikeouts.
Birmingham: Chris Bassitt (3-2, 2.02): Bassitt hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last two starts and hasn’t allowed more than three in a start with Birmingham. He suffered his first loss at the Double-A level against the Smokies on July 31 allowing three runs in seven innings.
LAST TIME OUT: Tennessee scored four times in the top of the 9th to break a 6-6 tie and held on to win 10-8. Javier Baez homered twice and drove in a season-high five RBIs and Arismendy Alcantara and Brett Jackson each collected two hits.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Brett Jackson: Jackson went 2-for-5 last night and picked up his first extra-base hit since rejoining the Smokies. He currently has a three-game hitting streak.
Javier Baez: Baez homered twice last night for the third time with the Smokies. His batting average is up over .300 (.307) for the first time with Tennessee.
Dan Black: Black got back on track in this series with two hits and three RBIs last night. He’s driven in 17 runs against the Smokies in 2013.
Cody Puckett: Puckett also had a strong game with two more hits against Smokies pitching. He has 20 hits in 18 games against Tennessee.
KEY TO THE GAME: Eric Jokisch hasn’t had success against Birmingham this season. He has allowed runs in 11 of the 15 innings he’s appeared in against the Barons this season.
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 7:45 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.