BIRMINGHAM – The Tennessee Smokies were unable to create much offense Thursday night and fell to the Birmingham Barons, 3-1, in Game One of the North Division Championship Series front of 4,862 at Regions Field. The Barons lead the best-of-five series, 1-0.
Following three scoreless innings, Trayce Thompson broke the tie in the fourth, hitting a leadoff home run off Smokies starter Nick Struck (0-1) to give the Barons a 1-0 lead. The Smokies answered right back in the fifth when Rubi Silva lined a home run to right-center off Barons starter Chris Bassitt to knot the game at one.
Birmingham got to Stuck again in the fifth, plating two runs on RBI-singles by Thompson and Dan Black to give the Barons a 3-1 advantage. Stuck ended the night allowing three runs on six hits, walking three and fanning three.
The Smokies bullpen, Yeiper Castillo, A.J. Morris and Tony Zych kept the game close, combined to throw three scoreless innings, surrendering two hits and striking out three.
Bassitt (1-0) picked up the win for Birmingham, allowing a run on three hits and striking out nine. Cody Winiarski (S, 1) picked up the save, tossing a perfect ninth.
Game Two of the best-of-five series is Friday night at 8:05 p.m. at Regions Field. The Smokies will send Dae-Eun Rhee (5-1, 3.34) to the mound and will be opposed by Chris Beck (2-2, 2.89).
-From Contributed Reports