KODAK — The Tennessee Smokies were unable to keep pace with the Jacksonville Suns both at the plate and in the field, as the Smokies fell to the Suns, 8-1, Sunday at Smokies Park.
The Smokies committed six errors on the night and were out hit in the contest 18-3. The loss, in front of 2,997, drops the Smokies to 18-10 on the second half, 52-45 overall.
Tennessee starter A.J. Morris (3-1) worked in-and-out of trouble all evening in his four innings of work. The right-hander worked out of a bases loaded jam in both the first and second innings before allowing two runs in the third and three runs in the fourth, putting the Smokies deficit to five runs. Morris gave up nine hits, five runs (two earned) one walk and a strikeout in four innings.
The Smokies got on the board in the sixth inning. Arismendy Alcantara reached on a fielding error and then Javier Baez moved Alcantara to third with a double. Justin Bour grounded out to second, allowing Alcantara to score the Smokies’ lone run.
Suns starter Adam Conley (9-4) pitched a gem, going seven innings, giving up two hits, one run (unearned), three walks and six strikeouts.
Kevin Rhoderick allowed a three-run home run to Jake Marisnick to put the Suns ahead 8-1. It was Marisnick’s 12th home run of the season and his second of the series.
Tony Zych pitched a scoreless eighth inning, giving up a hit. Tennessee infielder Nate Samson, showing off why he is a super-utility player, pitched the ninth inning in relief. Samson allowed two hits but did not allow a run to score. He also struck out one in his first relief appearance this season and third overall since 2012.
The Smokies and Suns face off in the rubber match of the five-game series tonight at 7:15 p.m. at Smokies Park. Tennessee’s Kyle Hendricks (9-3, 2.03) will take the mound against Jacksonville’s Bryan Evans (2-3, 3.89).