JACKSON – Jackson’s John Hicks hit a game tying double and Mike Dowd hit a two-run home run in the eighth as the Generals came back to beat the Smokies 8-6 at Generals Park on Monday night. Smokies’ reliever Austin Kirk suffered his first blown save and allowed four runs over two innings in the loss.
Kirk (1-1) pitched a scoreless seventh, before the disastrous eighth inning. He retired one and walked two before allowing the game tying double to Hicks. Pinch-hitter Patrick Brady struck out for the inning’s second out, but then Kirk allowed Dowd’s eventual game winning home run.
Hicks was 1-for-4 with two runs and two runs batted in. Dowd was 2-for-4 with three batted in and two runs scored for the Generals (16-22). The Smokies (22-16) were led by Rubi Silva and Rafael Lopez who both hit home runs in the loss. Silva was 2-for-4 with a second inning home run. Lopez hit a go-ahead three-run home run in the fourth.
Trevor Miller followed starter Victor Sanchez in the fourth and completed the game. Miller (2-4) shutout the Smokies over 5 and 1/3 innings after Sanchez allowed six runs in 3 and 2/3. Miller walked two, allowed two hits and struck out five in the win.
Jackson got on the board first as Paolini hit a sacrifice fly to center to bring in Jamal Austin and gave the Generals a 1-0 lead. Austin singled earlier in the inning and moved to third after stealing second and moving over on a wild pitch.
The wild pitch was thrown by starter Dae-Eun Rhee who allowed four runs (three earned) over five innings. He walked two and struck out three in the no-decision.
Tennessee would come right back as Silva continued his hot hitting against Jackson with a game tying solo home run to right in the second.
The Generals answered right back plating two runs to take a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the second. Dowd tripled in a run to score Hicks to make it 2-1 and Nathan Melendres would single in Dowd to extend the lead to 3-1.
The Smokies would come up in a big way in the fourth showing why they are the hottest hitting baseball club in professional baseball when Lopez hit a go-ahead three-run home run scoring Stephen Bruno and Kris Bryant to make it a 4-3.
Jae-Hoon Ha would continue the scoring as he hit a single into left to bring in Charlie Cutler and the Smokies led 5-3. The Smokies were not done there as Jeudy Valdez drilled a double to left to score Ha and increase the lead to 6-3.
Jackson would get a run back in the sixth as Patrick Kivlehan scored on a Leon Landry sacrifice fly to cut the deficit for the Generals to 6-4. Kivlehan was hit by a pitch from Rhee to start the inning.
The Generals came back to take the lead in the eighth as they put four runs on the board to make it 8-6. Hicks would double in two runs to tie the game and Dowd would blast a shot to left to take the lead.
John Andreoli, Stephen Bruno and Bryant, Tennessee’s first three in the lineup, were held without a hit and were a combined 0-for-12 with six strikeouts in the loss.
Silva was 2-for-4 with a home run and is 11-for-19 over his last four games. Silva is batting .472 (17-for-36) over 10 games in May and has raised his batting average from .227 to .279 since May 6.
The Smokies were 10-for-22 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 men on base.
The club returns home to Kodak on Wednesday May 21 to open a five-game homestand with the Mobile BayBears, the Double-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. at Smokies Stadium.
Tickets for all remaining 2014 Smokies home games are still available and can be purchased online at http://www.smokiesbaseball.com, or by calling the Smokies Ticket Office at (865) 286-2300.