KODAK, Tenn. - The Tennessee Smokies stayed hot on Thursday by sweeping a twin bill from Birmingham by a score of 4-0 and 10-8.
Michael Kopech (0-1, 3.75) started game one for the Barons and was in trouble early as C Ian Rice's dribbler to third with bases loaded and two outs in the first put the Smokies up 1-0 and they extended the lead to 3 before the inning was over after 3B Trey Michalczewski's throwing error.
Kopech would then settle in, striking out five in four innings, raising his season total to 20. The righty would keep the Barons in the game, only giving up one more run, on a RBI double in the fifth inning by David Bote.
But the Barons could not provide their starter with any help. 2B Eddy Alvarez led the Barons with three hits and RF Jake Peter snapped out of a slump going to 2-for-3 with a double, but they couldn't push any across the plate.
The beginning of game two was no different for Birmingham as Tennessee jumped on the Barons' reliever turner starter for the day Colton Turner in the second inning. Turner escaped the first unscathed, but surrendered four runs in the second.
Tennessee cruised to an 8-0 lead before the Barons bats woke up. C Brett Austin finally got the Barons on the board with a fifth inning two-run home run and then keyed a five-run sixth inning rally with a three-run double to pull the Barons to within 10-7. Austin became the first Baron since Danny Hayes in August 2015 with a five-RBI game.
Birmingham attempted to rally from down three in the seventh inning, as a Courtney Hawkins solo home-run to cut the lead to 10-8 would be as close as the Barons would get.
The Barons will wrap up the road trip tomorrow evening in Tennessee before coming home to take on the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp on Saturday. First pitch tomorrow is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CT and RHP Thaddius Lowry (0-1, 10.80) will get the ball as the Barons search for their first victory of the series. He will be opposed by Preston Morrison (0-0, 1.69). Curt Bloom will bring you all the action on the iHeart Radio app, beginning with the Coca-Cola Pregame Show beginning at 5:50 p.m. CT.
For ticket information, game schedule, promotions calendar or for additional information about Regions Field, call (205) 988-3200, or visit www.barons.com, www.facebook.com/birminghambarons or on Twitter: @bhambarons.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.