Smokies fall on late home run
Tennessee Smokies starter CJ Edwards returned to the mound on Saturday night after a three month absence due to an injury. Baseball America ranks Edwards as the No. 3 prospect in the Cubs organization and the No. 1 overall pitching prospect.
KODAK – Pensacola right fielder Juan Duran blasted a tie-breaking solo home run in the seventh, while Blue Wahoos relievers Fabian Williamson and Shane Dyer combined for the last three perfect innings in support of starting pitcher Jon Moscot in their 2-1 victory over the Tennessee Smokies on Saturday night at Smokies Stadium.
The victory improved Pensacola’s second half tally to 17-26, in addition to a 6-2 mark against the Smokies in 2014. The defeat dropped the Smokies’ record to below a .500 clip at 21-22 since the midpoint of the year.
For the second consecutive contest, it was Tennessee who got on the board first with a tally in the opening frame. RF Jae-Hoon Ha was hit by a pitch, CF Albert Almora doubled and 1B Lars Anderson walked to load the bases for 3B Christian Villanueva, who took four straight pitches out of the zone to force in Ha and give the Smokies a 1-0 advantage.
Pensacola, however, would eventually even the score with a run of their own in the fourth. C Chris Berset started the frame with a double to center before coming across on 3B Seth Mejias-Brean’s RBI triple to right field, tying the game at 1.
The Blue Wahoos then grabbed their first and only lead of the contest in the seventh thanks to Duran’s big fly. The solo shot was the 15th of the year for the outfielder, in addition to his second of the series after leaving the yard in the series opener on Thursday night.
Tennessee wasted a scoring chance in the sixth, failing to bring across on a run despite placing runners at second and third with no outs. After Anderson reached on an error, Villanueva dropped a double down the left field line to start the threat. That threat was quelled, however, after Anderson was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a wild pitch, and starting pitcher Jon Moscot recorded a strikeout and groundout to end the potential peril.
Smokies starter C.J. Edwards (3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO) made his first start in a Smokies uniform since April 20 at Birmingham, allowing a lone earned run on just two hits in his 3.1 innings of work, adding five strikeouts. Tennessee southpaw Jeff Lorick (2.2 IP, 2 H, 3 SO) followed Edwards with 2.2 shutout frames of support, punching out three batters, while righty Tony Zych (1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB) suffered the defeat.
Moscot (6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 SO) earned his sixth victory of 2014 with a quality start, yielding a lone earned run on five hits in six innings pitched. Relievers Fabian Washington (2.0 IP, 2 SO) and Shane Dyer (1.0 IP, 1 SO) shut the door from that point on, combining for three perfect innings behind Moscot.
Neither the Smokies, nor Blue Wahoos, had a batter record a two-hit effort in the contest, while top Cubs prospects CF Albert Almora and SS Addison Russell each collected a base knock. Russell has tallied a hit in nine of his last ten matchups dating back to July 24, batting .378 (17-45) in that span with two doubles, four homers and eight RBI. The two clubs are set to square off again in a Sunday matinee tomorrow afternoon, with a 2 p.m. start time scheduled at Smokies Stadium. Tennessee is expected to give the nod to RHP Pierce Johnson.
(3-4, 2.98), while Pensacola is anticipated to send RHP Robert Stephenson (5-7, 4.19) to the hill.
It’s Faith and Family Night at the ballpark on Sunday, with a special post-game concert from Christian rock band Sanctus Real. In addition, the U.S. Cellular Family FUNday ticket package will also be available, meaning families can purchase four tickets, four meal vouchers and two Kids Zone wristbands for just $48 dollars. Individual game tickets for the Sunday matinee will include a $3 dollar upcharge, which includes admission to the post-game performance from Sanctus Real.
Tickets for that game and the remainder of the Smokies’ 2014 home schedule are still available and can be purchased online at smokiesbaseball.com, or by calling the Smokies Ticket Office at 286-2300.
-From Contributed Reports