Three Home Runs Power Smokies to 4-1 Win


HUNTSVILLE – Addison Russell, Jorge Soler and Christian Villanueva each hit home runs and starter Corey Black pitched six plus strong innings as the Smokies defeated the Stars 4-1 in Huntsville on Thursday night.

The victory put the Smokies (14-13, 47-49) a full game in front of Hunstville (13-14, 59-38) in the second half standings. The win was also the first for Tennessee in seven tries this season at Joe W. Davis Municipal Stadium.

The Stars led first in the game after collecting one run in the first off Black. Black (5-6, 2.63) gave up a leadoff walk to Josh Prince to start the first and later allowed a RBI single to Robinzon Diaz.

Huntsville starter Jacob Barnes (2-4, 4.55) held the 1-0 lead through three. He struck out one and walked one over the first three innings and kept the Smokies without a run.

Russell put the Smokies on the board when he launched a majestic home run to left in the fourth. The homer tied the game at 1-1 and was Russell’s first as a member of the Chicago Cubs farm system. Overall, it was his 10th home run between his time in Oakland and Chicago’s minor league system.

Black settled in after the first and would go on to allow just three more hits in the game. Black pitched into the seventh and left after giving up a leadoff single and a walk in the inning.

In six plus innings, Black gave up just four hits and one earned run. He walked two and struck out eight while lowering his earned run average to 2.63 for the season.

Tennessee gave Black a lead to work with in the sixth when Soler crushed a two-run home run to left. The home run scored Russell who singled with two-outs in the inning to keep it going for Soler . The home run was Soler’s third in his last four games (three starts) and his sixth since returning to the club on July 6.

The Smokies went up 3-1 on Soler’s home run in the sixth and up 4-1 when Villanueva homered in the ninth.

Russell was 2-for-4 with two runs, a run batted in and his first home run while with Tennessee. Soler was 1-for-2 with a run, two batted in, a home run and two walks. Villanueva was 1-for-4 with a run, a run batted in and a home run. The home run was Villanueva’s third with Tennessee.

Black left with the Smokies leading in the seventh and the bullpen mix of Hunter Cervenka, Lendy Castillo and Andrew McKirahan would hold the lead from there.

Cervenka pitched the sixth and stranded both inherited runners on base. He did not allow a run and struck out one in the inning.

Castillo worked 2/3 of a scoreless eighth and walked one. McKirahan finished the inning and would go 1/3 scoreless.

McKirahan stayed in for the ninth and struck out Nick Ramirez to start the inning. However, the strike three pitch got by his catcher and the resulting wild pitch allowed Ramirez to reach safely at first.

The Smokies opted to then remove McKirahan from the game after Ramirez reached and Frank Batista came in to finish it. Batista faced three in the inning and would save the game by getting Erik Komatsu to ground into a game ending double play.

Batista (S, 5) allowed a walk, but got out of the inning without allowing a run.

The Smokies bullpen inherited four runners in the game and did not allow a run.

The victory evened the series at a game apiece. Game three of the five game set will be played on Friday night with Pierce Johnson (2-3, 3.74) scheduled to start for the Smokies. Jed Bradley (2-4, 4.85) is scheduled to start for the Stars.

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Categories: Game Recap

Author:Greg Young

Greg Young brings five years of Minor League Baseball experience to the Smokies Radio Network, having previously served with the High-A Modesto Nuts of the California League. He began with the Nuts as a Broadcast Assistant in 2007 before being promoted as the team's new Director of Broadcasting the following year, a position he held through the 2011 campaign. During his time with Modesto, Young also worked at KESP AM-790 as a Sports Anchor. Over the years he has worked as a broadcaster for Comcast Hometown Network and their coverage of the San Jose Giants (High-A, California League) and Fresno Grizzlies (Triple-A, Pacific Coast League), in addition to high school football and basketball. Young began his broadcasting career with the Major Indoor Soccer League's California Cougars in 2006 and was the club's inaugural broadcaster before being promoted to Director of Media Relations and Broadcasting the next year. Young is a 2005 graduate of Sacramento State University, earning a Communications degree with an emphasis in Digital Media. During his senior year, Young was Sports Director for the university's student-run radio radio station KSSU, and also did play-by-play for the school's baseball, football and basketball teams while attending Sacramento State.


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