By Greg Young
Cincinnati Reds top pitching prospect Robert Stephenson struck out 11 over five innings in relief of rehabbing Major Leaguer Jonathan Broxton and the Blue Wahoos shutout the Smokies 5-0 in a rain shortened game at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium on Saturday night. The game was called due to wet grounds in the middle of the seventh.
For the second straight day Broxton started for the Blue Wahoos (2-1) and pitched just one inning. He allowed a hit to Rubi Silva in the first, but only faced four in his appearance.
Stephenson (1-0) followed Broxton in relief and was electric. He allowed a double to Smokies (1-2) catcher Charles Cutler in the second, but would finish the inning with two strikeouts. He struck out Jeudy Valdez to end the inning and would go on to strikeout the next six Tennessee batters. Stephenson gave up just the one hit and walked one. He struck out seven consecutive Tennessee batters between the second and fourth innings.
Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta started for the Smokies. He was assigned to Tennessee as part of a Major League rehabilitation assignment earlier in the week. Arrieta (0-1) pitched three innings and allowed one unearned run while taking the loss. He did not give up a hit and struck out three.
Devin Lohman broke the scoreless tie after reaching on a two-out error by Smokies shortstop Jeudy Valdez in the third. Lohman then moved from first to third on a failed pickoff throw from Arrieta and scored moments later on a wild pitch.
The Blue Wahoos later scored two more in the fourth to go ahead 3-0. Lendy Castillo relieved Arrieta in the fourth and was able to retire the first two he faced before walking Juan Silverio and Juan Duran. Castillo then gave up consecutive run scoring singles to Steve Selsky and Rey Navarro.
Lohman struck again with a two-run home run in the sixth off Tennessee’s Corey Black. Black followed Hunter Cervenka who replaced Castillo earlier in the fourth.
The Smokies had just two hits in the loss and struck out 13 times.
Pensacola’s Daniel Ranken pitched a scoreless seventh and struck out two in his one inning relief appearance.
The series continues on Sunday in Pensacola for game four of the five game set. First pitch is at 5:00 pm.
The Smokies start their home schedule, and a 10 game home stand, at Smokies Ballpark on Wednesday, April 9against the Chattanooga Lookouts. Tickets are available by visiting smokiesbaseball.com and by calling .