Jae-Hoon Ha

KODAK – Smokies center fielder Jae-Hoon Ha delivered the game-ending ground-rule double to center in the tenth inning while catcher Charlie Cutler collected three hits, including a homer, and drove in three runs in Tennessee’s 8-7 victory over the Mississippi Braves on Tuesday evening at Smokies Stadium.

The victory evens the series at 1-1 and also improves the Smokies to a 16-16 mark in the second half of the season. The defeat drops the Braves to 17-15 since the midpoint of the campaign.

LF Pin-Chieh Chen started the game-winning rally in the extra frame with a free pass, and then moved to second on 2B Jonathan Mota’s single to set the stage for Ha. The outfielder drove the 2-0 pitch over the center fielder’s head, with the ball hopping over the wall to allow Chen to score and give the Smokies their first and only lead of the contest.

Mississippi moved ahead early with a three-run first frame. After 2B Jose Peraza was hit by a pitch and stole second, CF Kyle Wren singled to center, with Peraza then scoring on an error on the play to push the Braves ahead 1-0. Wren then advanced to second on SS Daniel Castro’s base knock, with both then going 90 feet on a wild pitch, and then came plateward on an RBI groundout, while a sacrifice fly eventually would bring in Castro to cap the trio of tallies.

After a fielder’s choice scored Mississippi’s fourth score in the top of the second, the Smokies answered back with a run of their own. RF Jorge Soler tripled to center prior to being driven home on Cutler’s run-scoring groundout to get Tennessee on the board at 4-1.

The M-Braves would once again strike with single tallies in the third and fourth frames to make it a 6-1 advantage. 3B Kyle Kubitza’s sacrifice fly scored Castro from third in the third, while Peraza would continue his hot streak with an RBI base knock in the fourth to send in 1B Barrett Kleinknecht.

Tennessee, however, would bring home two courtesy of Cutler’s clout in the fourth. After SS Addison Russell drew a leadoff walk, Cutler clubbed his fourth home run of the season with a two-run blast to right, cutting the deficit to 6-3.

Two more Smokies runs would come across in the fifth after Mississippi’s run in the fifth. Dustin Geiger began the two-run frame with a pinch hit solo homer to right, his 12th of the season, while Soler later lofted a sacrifice fly to right to score Ha, decreasing the Braves’ margin to 7-5.

Following a full two-inning lull in scoring, another Tennessee big fly would nod the contest even. Villanueva reached base with a leadoff base hit to left, and then was brought home on C Luis Flores’ two-run blast, his second with the club this year, into the Calhoun’s At The Yard deck to tie the game at 7-7 and ultimately force the extra inning.

Smokies reliever Frank Batista (1.0 IP) earned his second victory of the year with his scoreless two innings after Hunter Cervenka’s (3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 SO) three shutout frames. After scoring in each of the first five innings, Mississippi was kept off the board through the final five and managed just two hits against Cervenka and Batista.

Braves reliever John Cornely (0.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB) suffered the loss to fall to 6-3 on the year after allowing the final run without recording an out in the tenth, while Ian Thomas suffered his first blown save of the season. Neither Mississippi starter Greg Ross (4.1 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB), nor Tennessee starter Corey Black (3.1 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO) received decisions.

Cutler (3-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI) led all Smokies hitters with his three base knocks, while Soler (2-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI) also recorded a multi-hit effort in the victory. Peraza (2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB) was the lone Mississippi batter to recorded two or more hits in the contest and has raised his batting average in the Southern League to .373 in his 27 games with the M-Braves.

The two teams are slated to square off in the third game of their series Wednesday evening, with Tennessee expected to give the nod to RHP Pierce Johnson (2-4, 3.35), while Mississippi is expected to send RHP J.R. Graham (1-4, 5.40). It’s another All-You-Can-Eat Wednesday at the ballpark, with all the hot dogs, corn dogs, hamburgers, nachos, French fries and Pepsi products they can handle for just $19.99. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

Tickets for that game and the remainder of the Smokies’ 2014 home schedule are still available and can be purchased online at, or by calling the Smokies Ticket Office at 286-2300.

Listen to Manager Buddy Bailey’s post-game press conference below:

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Categories: Game Recap


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