Rebel Ridling singled home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning Saturday as Tennessee beat the Mobile BayBears, 4-2, to avoid a sweep in the best-of-5 Southern League Championship Series.
Trailing by a run entering the eighth inning, the Smokies got a leadoff homer from pinch-hitter Nelson Perez, who slugged his first of the postseason to cap an eight-pitch at-bat.
"It was huge," Ridling said. "We had kind of a stall-out on offense. Every time we got something going, their pitchers made pitches to get out of jams. He [Perez] hits the homer and all of sudden we're all fired up."
James Adduci followed with a walk and was advanced to second on a bunt by Jae-Hoon Ha. After watching BayBears reliever Kevin Munson intentionally walk Blake Lalli, Ridling singled up the middle, scoring Adduci to give the Smokies their first lead since they opened the scoring in the first inning of Game 1. The 25-year-old first baseman had a very basic plan while at the plate.
"Basically, just get a good pitch to hit," the former 25th-round pick said. "I was just trying to be patient and look for something I could handle."
"Adduci is the fastest guy on the team, but the throw was a little up the line. And even if it was on target, he probably would have been safe."
The Smokies tacked on a run on third baseman Matt Davidson's error.
Nate Samson, whose first-inning miscue opened the door for both of Mobile's runs, was 1-for-4 with an RBI double.
Rafael Dolis hit a batter and allowed a single in the ninth before registering his first postseason save. The Cubs' No. 6 prospect preserved the win for Jeff Beliveau (1-0), who pitched a hitless eighth.
Ridling believes the win could shift the momentum in the series, which continues Sunday in Tennessee.
"Everybody feels real good," the Southern League All-Star said. "We're still down one, but we almost feel the pressure might be on them to close it out because if they lose, it's tied -- with Game 5 at our park."
Tyler Skaggs, the D-backs' top prospect, was in line for the win after allowing a run on five hits over six innings. He struck out seven.
Trevor Bauer, the third overall pick in this year's Draft, gets the ball for Mobile in Game 4, while the Smokies counter with Cubs' No. 4 prospect Trey McNutt.