KODAK — Hits piled up and runs were scored early, but the Tennessee Smokies cooled off at the wrong time.
The Montgomery Biscuits outlasted the Smokies for a 9-7 win in front of 3,278 fans at Smokies Stadium.
“It’s a matter of execution,” Smokies manager Jimmy Gonzalez said. “It was bad to score five and give up five. There are times you have to execute defensively or on the mound and sometimes it doesn’t happen. It’s unfortunate, but that’s part of the game.”
The Smokies (1-3 second half, 34-39 overall) struck first in the bottom of the second inning. With two outs on the board, Charcer Burks took a bag on a base hit to left field. A single from Jesse Hodges put Burks on third and an RBI single from Jhonny Pereda put Burks across home plate for a 1-0 Tennessee lead.
It took Montgomery (3-1, 47-27) the next half inning to take the lead. Jermaine Palacios led off with a triple. Two batters later Josh Lowe sent a triple bouncing into right field and Palacios put a foot on home plate. Lowe was brought in by a triple from Tristan Gray gave the Biscuits a 2-1 lead.
If the Biscuits were feeling good, it wouldn’t last. In the bottom of the inning Jesse Hodges cleared the bags with a grand slam over the left field fence. Burks, P.J. Higgins and Ian Rice caravanned across the plate before Hodges celebrated with his teammates. The Smokies led 6-2.
“That was a big moment for all of us,” Gonzalez said. “Hodges coming through in that time, in that position and hitting that grand slam and putting us ahead. It was awesome.”
Montgomery chopped back into the lead with an RBI single from Palacios in the fourth. With two outs on the board, a Lowe double brought in Rene Pinto and Pacio to pull within one. A two-run homer from Kevin Padlo put Montgomery back on top to produce back-to-back five-run half-innings.
“Sometimes that happens,” Gonzalez said. “We put up five and then we give up five, there was some mistakes on both sides. We couldn’t bounce back after that.”
Tennessee evened the score again in the bottom of the frame. A Gioskar Amaya double brought in Connor Myers to knot it up 7-7. The Smokies scatted 12 hits across nine innings in the game.
“Hitting hasn’t been an issue for us,” Gonzalez said. “We always hit well and push runs across. Sometimes things don’t go our way. That’s what happened today.”
A sac fly from Palacios would once again put the Biscuits back on top in the fifth, 8-7. They pushed their lead to 9-7 in the top of the eighth on a sac fly from Padlo that scored Palacios, who was on base all day.
Thomas Hatch (4-7) took the loss on the mound, going 4.1 innings with eight hits, eight run, three earned, two walks and five strikeouts.
Blake Bivens (4-0) pocketed the win in relief for Montgomery. He took over for starter Kenny Rosenberg in the fifth and pitched two frames with one hit and four walks.
The Biscuits have already taken the series with three victories, but will square off with Tennessee one more time tonight at 7 p.m. inside Smokies Stadium. Tennessee hits the road for a five-game stint at the Chattanooga Lookouts before returning home for a five-gamer against the Birmingham Barons on June 30.