KODAK, Tenn. - For the second consecutive night, the Tennessee Smokies were unable to overcome an early deficit and fell to the Birmingham Barons in Game Two of the North Division Championship Series, 7-1. The loss, in front of 5,767 at Regions Field, gives the Barons a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
The Barons got to Smokies starter Dae-Eun Rhee early in the game, scoring four times in the second inning. Dan Black started the big inning with a home run to left field. Then with two runners on, an error by Javier Baez allowed Cody Puckett to reach, scoring Dan Wagner and extend the inning for Birmingham. The next batter, Trayce Thompson, continued to swing a hot bat in the series, hitting a two-RBI double to give the Barons the 4-0 advantage.
Rhee (0-1) would surrender another run in the fifth inning and end his night after 4.1 innings, allowing five runs (two earned) on seven hits, walking four and striking out two.
Reliever P.J. Francescon didn't fare much better allowing two more runs to score in the sixth inning to give the Barons a 7-0 lead. Hunter Cervenka and Armando Rivero each made scoreless appearances for the Smokies out of the bullpen.
In the ninth, the Smokies plated a single run when John Andreoli drove home Rubi Silva with a RBI-double to make the score 7-1.
Birmingham starter Chris Beck (1-0) earned the win, holding the Smokies to only three hits, while striking out five in his five innings of work.
Tennessee will look to keep the best-of-five series going as the series shifts to Smokies Park on Saturday at 6:15 p.m. The Smokies will call on LHP Eric Jokisch (11-13, 3.42) to start and will be opposed by lefty Spencer Arroyo (9-7, 3.42). For tickets and more information, visit www.smokiesbaseball.com or call (865) 286-2300.