Comeback Falls Short, Smokies Lose 3-2

Jae-Hoon Ha

BIRMINGHAM – Pin-Chieh Chen scored the tying run in the ninth on an infield single by Jae-Hoon, but the Smokies failed to hold the tie in the ninth after Chris Curley drove in the game winning run in Birmingham’s 3-2 win versus the Smokies at Regions Field on Tuesday night.

The loss dropped the Smokies (20-19, 53-55) back into second place in the Second Half standings behind the victorious Barons (20-18, 49-59). The two clubs have traded wins in the series and through four games the series is tied at 2-2.

Tennessee rallied for a run in the eighth and one in the ninth to erase a 2-0 deficit. Jae-Hoon Ha scored the first Tennessee run in the eighth and Chen (who entered as a pinch runner) scored the second in the ninth.

P.J. Francescon originally entered the game in the eighth and finished the inning after Jeff Lorick started it with two quick outs. Francescon stayed in for the ninth and would start the inning by allowing a single to Josh Richmond. A sacrifice bunt from Rangel Ravelo moved Richmond to second and a single through short by Kevan Smith pushed Richmond over to third. The Smokies then intentionally walked Christian Marrero to load the bases for Curley. The Smokies hoped to get Curley to hit in a force out, but the shortstop hit a slow roller to third that would turn into the game winning hit.

Francescon (9-6) allowed three hits and one run over two-thirds of an inning and suffered the loss. He walked one and struck out one in his appearance.

Nestor Molina worked part of the eighth and all of the ninth out of the bullpen. He allowed the tying run in the ninth, but left with the win. Molina (6-2) also blew the save, but allowed just two hits and one run in the victory.

The Smokies trailed early after the Barons scored twice over the first three innings. Birmingham starter Chris Bassitt held the Smokies to one hit and no runs over five full innings. The start was the first this season for Bassitt. He began the year on the disabled after breaking his hand before the season. Bassitt walked three and struck out three in the no decision.

Nick McCully followed Bassitt and managed to keep the Smokies scoreless in the sixth and seventh. Tennessee did not score in the game until plating a run in the eighth. Ha started the eighth with a double and later scored on Curley’s error at short. The hit was allowed by Molina, but the run was charged to McCully who left with two outs in the inning.

Stephen Bruno led off the Smokies’ ninth with a single to left and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Luis Flores. Chen was entered into the game to run for Bruno and eventually moved to third on a wild pitch. With two outs in the inning Ha hit a groundball to the hole between short and third and would reach safely at first with an infield hit. Chen scored on the play and the Smokies tied the game at 2-2.

Molina managed to end the inning with only run allowed after picking off Ha at first. The Smokies settled for one run in the inning and that would be all they scored in the loss.

The game began with Jared Mitchell hitting a lead off home runin in the Birmingham first. The home run was the only hit in the inning and was Mitchell’s eighth of the year.

The Barons led 1-0 after one and added to the lead with a run and three hits in the third. Dan Wagner led off the third with a double and moved to third on a bunt hit to the mound by Mitchell. Trayce Thompson then doubled off Johnson and Wagner scored to give the Barons a 2-0 lead.

Johnson allowed two runs over the first three, but that would be all that he allowed in the game. The Smokies starter struck out eight, walked three and allowed two runs on five hits over six innings. Johnson did not earn a decision and threw 90 pitches in the quality start.

The Smokies stranded eight men on base and were 1-for-10 in the loss. The Barons, meanwhile, were 4-for-6 with six men left on base.

Ha was 2-for-5 with a run and one batted in for the Smokies in the loss. Addison Russell was 1-for-3 and stretched his hitting streak to six straight games.

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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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