By: Adam Kline
KODAK, Tenn. – For the fourth time in five years, the Tennessee Smokies are playoff bound thanks to a 6-0 win over the Mobile BayBears Monday night at Smokies Park.
Tennessee (37-24, 71-61) got on the board early as they scored two runs in the first inning off of BayBears starter Andrew Chafin (10-7). Matt Szczur and John Andreoli led off the game with back-to-back singles and then Javier Baez hit a single of his own to score Szczur. Two batters later, Christian Villanueva hit a sacrifice fly to score Andreoli.
In the third inning, Baez hit a sacrifice fly of his own to score Szczur again. Szczur reached on a fielding error and moved from first to third on an Andreoli walk and a wild pitch.
Baez kept the offensive attack going in the seventh inning as he hit a two-run home run that went an estimated 415 feet out of Smokies Park. It was Baez’s 18th home run of the season and his 35th overall this season between Hi-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee.
Reliever Armando Rivero pitched a clean eighth inning and recorded a strikeout and Frank Batista pitched the ninth in a non-save situation. Batista gave up a hit but struck out one in his inning of relief.
Baez finished the game 2-for-3 with a home run and four RBIs. Jonathan Mota also collected a RBI in the win.
The Smokies will play their final regular season home game Tuesday night at 7:15 at Smokies Park. Southpaw Eric Jokisch (10-12, 3.50) takes the mound for the Smokies in the rubber match game against right-hander Bo Schultz (5-3, 2.69).
LOCKER ROOM CELEBRATION
SECOND HALF FEATURE