Walks Derail Smokies in 8-7 Loss to Braves


PEARL, Miss. – Despite a stellar performance by right fielder Bijan Rademacher and an early 5-0 lead, the Tennessee Smokies dropped their first game of the 2015 season, 8-7, to the Mississippi Braves on Friday night at Trustmark Park.

Rademacher was a key cog for the Smokies (1-1, 1-1) offense in defeat on Friday night. The 21st-best prospect in the Cubs’ organization according to Baseball America, Rademacher (3-5, 2B, 3 RBI) went 3-for-5 with a double and three runs driven in. Catcher Willson Contreras (3-5, R) also impressed in his Smokies debut, as he also went 3-for-5 with a run scored.

Tennessee initially jumped out to a comfortable 5-0 lead against Braves starter Tyrell Jenkins (1.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO) in the second inning. After a walk to 1B Dan Vogelbach and an infield single by Contreras, 2B Ryan Dent reached on a fielder’s choice. However, no runners were erased as 2B Emerson Landoni dropped the throw from third baseman Rio Ruiz, which loaded the bases.

Defensive miscues would continue to haunt the M-Braves later in the frame. After SS Elliot Soto grounded into a fielder’s choice for the inning’s first out, Smokies pitcher Ivan Pineyro hit a dribbler back to the mound. Jenkins fielded and tossed home to get the lead runner, but home plate umpire Jose Estreras ruled that Mississippi C Chris O’Dowd did not keep his foot on home plate. The mistep by O’Dowd was ruled an error and gave Tennessee a 1-0 lead.

Jenkins was never able to recover as the top of the Smokies’ lineup proceeded to tee off on the former first-round pick. LF Pin-Chieh Chen and Rademacher did the damage, as each lined two-run singles to center to give the Smokies an early 5-0 lead.

The M-Braves would get a run back in the bottom half of the inning on a fielder’s choice by Landoni, but it was not until the fourth inning they got back in the game. Pineyro (4.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO) walked both Kevin Ahrens and Kyeong Kang prior to O’Dowd stepping up to the dish with two outs. The Mississippi backstop made up for his earlier fielding mistake, roping a two-run triple down the right field line, scoring both runners to cut the Smokies’ lead to 5-3.

Mississippi would then take the lead courtesy of a three-run fifth. SS Daniel Castro singled, and then scampered to third on 3B Rio Ruiz’s base knock, before scoring on a wild pitch. The contest would then draw even when Ruiz came home on 1B Kevin Ahrens’ RBI double, before O’Dowd drew a bases-loaded walk to give the M-Braves a lead they would not relinquish.

The score would remain 6-5 until the seventh, when Kang laced a two-run home run off the foul pole in right field to push Mississippi’s lead to 8-5. The Smokies would get two runs back in the top of the eighth on a, RBI ground out by Almora and a single to center by Rademacher, but that was as close as they would get.

Following Rademacher’s single, right-hander Ryan Kelly (1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO) came out of the bullpen to record the final four outs of the game. Tennessee threatened by putting the tying run on base, however Kelly shut the door to notch his first save, in addition to the Braves’ first win of the season.

Braves reliever Jorge Reyes (3.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO) earned the well-deserved victory for Mississippi. After Jenkins’ struggles, Reyes baffled Smokies batters, as he yielded just three baserunners and punished the strike zone, throwing first pitch strikes to 10 of 14 opponents. Smokies reliever Andres Santiago (0.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO), meanwhile, suffered the loss to fall to 0-1 on the year.

Returning righty Felix Pena is expected to take the bump for the Smokies tomorrow evening against fellow right-hander Victor Mateo. First pitch at Trustmark Park is slated for 7:00 p.m. ET, with the Pilot Pregame Show scheduled to start at 6:45 p.m. ET on the Smokies Radio Network.

The Smokies’ first home game is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 15 against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. Opening night will be the very next evening on Thursday, April 16, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Smokies Stadium.

Single-game tickets, as well as multi-voucher and season ticket packages are still available, and can be purchased online at smokiesbaseball.com, or by calling the Smokies Ticket Office at 865-286-2300.


The Tennessee Smokies are the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. Members of the ten-team Southern League, Smokies baseball has been entertaining families and fans of America’s national pastime in the East Tennessee region for over 100 years. To learn more about the Tennessee Smokies, visit http://www.smokiesbaseball.com.

Categories: Uncategorized


A sophomore at The Penn State University, majoring in Sports Broadcast Journalism. A brother of ΘΔΧ fraternity. Aspires to be a sports personality or play-by-play announcer.


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