Biscuits first baseman Cameron Seitzer smashed two solo homers, including a game-tying roundtripper in the ninth, while second baseman Taylor Motter launched go-ahead solo blast in the sixteenth to top Tennessee 4-3 in the Smokies’ longest contest in almost 13 years on Thursday night in front of a crowd of 7,209 at Smokies Stadium.
With the loss, the Smokies fell to 10-5 in the second but continue to lead the second half north division standings, while the Biscuits upped their record to 7-8 since the All-Star Break. Despite the defeat, Tennessee still came away with a 3-2 series win over Montgomery.
The game featured a combined 11 pitchers and 23 hits, lasting five hours and 16 minutes. It was the longest game in terms of innings for the Smokies since August 12, 2011, when Tennessee topped the Mobile BayBears 7-3 in 17 frames at Hank Aaron Stadium. It was also tied for the longest game at Smokies Stadium, evening the 16-inning contest played on May 23, 2006, when the club fell to the Chattanooga Lookouts 9-5.
It was Motter’s leadoff solo blast to left in the 16thh that put the Biscuits up for the final time. It was the fifth longball of the year for Motter, and the final of three one-run big flies hit by Montgomery in the prolonged contest.
After trading zeroes through the first three innings, the two clubs swapped single scores in the fourth, with the Biscuits striking first. Seitzer left the yard for the first time in the evening with his tenth longball of the year to right field to move Montgomery ahead 1-0.
Tennessee would then answer right back in the subsequent half inning with a pair of extra-base knocks. 1B Dustin Geiger reached via a double to left, and then would come across on 3B Jonathan Mota’s two-out run-scoring two-bagger to left, evening the tally at 1-1.
It would remain that way until the seventh, when the Smokies would take the lead with another clutch two-out hit. CF Jae-Hoon Ha placed himself in scoring position with a double down the right field line, and then would come plateward on RF Pin-Chieh Chen’s RBI base hit to right to give Tennessee their first advantage of the contest.
Seitzer, however, would smash his second homer of the contest in the ninth to force extra innings. It was the second multi-homer game in a span of a week for the Biscuits slugger, who also crushed two homers on June 27 at Huntsville.
Following a pair of goose eggs from each team in the tenth and eleventh frames, Montgomery would load the bases in the 12thh, and eventually plate the winning run. After Seitzer, 3B Richie Shaffer and C Luke Maile all drew free passes to begin the inning to threaten, Tennessee reliever Hunter Cervenka was able to record back-to-back strikeouts before Rickard was hit by a pitch, forcing in the go-ahead run in Seitzer.
The Smokies, however, had an answer once again, this time playing spoiler with a game-tying home run. 1B Dustin Geiger began the inning with a solo blast to right field, evening the game at 3-3 to prolong the game.
Both starters were solid, though neither factored in the final decisions for their respective squads. Tennessee righty Eduardo Figueroa (6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO) allowed a lone run on just three hits in his six innings, while Montgomery right-hander Michael Colla (6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO) also surrendered one run on four hits through his six frames.
Biscuits relievers Matt Ramsey (2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 3 SO) and Santiago Garrido (2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 SO) each tossed two scoreless innings in support of Colla, and Bryce Stowell (3.0 IP, 1 H, 2 SO) blanked Tennessee in three frames to earn the victory for Montgomery. Smokies relief man Lendy Castillo (2.0 IP, 1 H, 5 SO) also fired two scoreless innings, yielding one hit, while Jeffry Antigua (4.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO) suffered the defeat.
Six Smokies batters, including Geiger (2-8, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI), Mota (2-6, 1 2B, 1 RBI), Ha (2-7, 1 R, 1 2B), Chen (2-6, 1 RBI, 1 BB), 2B Stephen Bruno (2-8, 1 2B and DH Charlie Cutler (2-5) all recorded multi-hit efforts in the defeat, while Seitzer (2-6, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB) was the lone Biscuits batter to collect two hits. Tennessee outhit Montgomery 15-9 in the contest, while Ha extended his hit streak to ten games.
The Smokies will now hit the road for a five-game series against the Birmingham Barons, the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET with Tennessee expected to give the ball to RHP Dae-Eun Rhee (5-3, 3.10), with the Barons anticipated to counter Rhee with RHP Mike Recchia (3-2, 3.24).
Tennessee will then return home on Thursday, July 10 to start a five-game set with the Jacksonville Suns, the Double-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins. First pitch for the contest is slated for a 7:15 p.m. first pitch.
Tickets for that game and the remainder of the Smokies’ 2014 home schedule are still available and can be purchased online at smokiesbaseball.com, or by calling the Smokies Ticket Office at 286-2300.