PENSACOLA, Fla. — The Tennessee Smokies won their fourth rubber match of the season Sunday afternoon with a 3-2 win over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos at Blue Wahoos stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Smokies (33-36) scored the first run of the ballgame for the fourth time in the series. It was a trio of singles to right field in the fourth inning that made it an early 1-0 game. Jhonny Pereda’s 22nd RBI of the season brought home Vimael Machin. Machin’s single in the inning extended his hit streak to ten games.
Griffin Jax (L, 2-2) took his second lost of the season for the Blue Wahoos (38-32) in just his second start back off the IL. Jax gave up a run on five hits in 3 1/3 innings of work.
The Smokies added on to the cause in the seventh inning. Both Christian Donahue and Connor Myers set the table with back-to-back singles in the frame. Roberto Caro followed shortly with a blast into left field to score both runners to run the score 3-0.
Luis Lugo (W, 1-0) was dominant in his Smokies debut on Sunday. He was promoted from Myrtle Beach earlier in the day to fill the roster spot left by Craig Brooks who was promoted to Iowa. He pitched 6 1/3 innings and gave up just two runs on four hits. He sat down the Blue Wahoos 1-2-3 in four different innings.
The only trouble he ran into all afternoon was in the seventh. With bases loaded in the inning, Jordan Gore brought home Pensacola’s first run of the day on a sacrifice fly. One batter later, Tanner English ripped an RBI-single to make it a one run game.
Pensacola’s late rally would not go further. Tommy Nance (S, 3) provided a solid 1 2/3 innings out of the bullpen to shut down the Blue Wahoos. Nance went 1-2-3 in the ninth to clinch the game and the series for the Smokies.
The Smokies are off the next three days for the All-Star break. The second half of the season will begin Thursday at Smokies Stadium in game one of a five-game homestand against the Montgomery Biscuits.
Smokies 2, Blue Wahoos 1
The Smokies only needed nine innings for the first time this week to tie the series against the Blue Wahoos with a 2-1 win at Blue Wahoos Stadium on Saturday night.
For the first time this series, the Blue Wahoos struck first. Jaylin Davis doubled home Taylor Grzelakowski in the third inning to give Pensacola the early advantage.
The very next frame, it was the Smokies turn. Roberto Caro kicked off the inning with a leadoff walk followed by a Vimael Machin single. Two batters later, P.J. Higgins delivered with an RBI-groundout to tie the game 1-1.
The one-two punch of Caro and Higgins struck again two innings later. Caro led off the sixth with a single to jumpstart the frame. Higgins stepped in and delivered his second RBI of the game with a one out single into right field to give the Smokies the lead.
Pensacola starter Jorge Alcala’s (L, 5-4) night would come to a close midway through the fifth. He was responsible for both runs and tossed five strikeouts in a losing effort.
Thomas Hatch (W, 4-6) gave the Smokies six solid innings in his 14th start of the season. He gave up only one run on six hits and tossed five strikeouts to pick up his fourth win of the season. It was the third time Hatch pitched past the fifth inning this year.
Jordan Minch delivered two no-hit innings to maintain the lead heading to the ninth before the Smokies turned to Southern League All-Star Wyatt Short (S, 5) to close out the game. He sat the Blue Wahoos down 1-2-3 to avoid extra innings for the fourth straight night.