The Barons continued their pitching dominance over the regular seasons' top-hitting team with a 7-1 win over the Tennessee Smokies in front of 5,767 fans at Regions Field.
The Barons exploded for four early runs against Smokies' starter Dae-Eun Rhee (0-1, 4.15) in the second inning. Michael Blanke started the scoring with a line-drive homer onto the home run porch in left field, his first homer since August 3rd.
Dan Wagner would follow with a base hit, steal second and advance to third on a throwing error by Rafael Lopez. After a Micah Johnson walk, Cody Puckett sent what looked to be an inning-ending ground ball to Javier Baez at shortstop, but Baez's throw sailed wildly past first base allowing Wagner to score and sending Johnson to third. Trayce Thompson would cap the inning with a two-run double just inside the third base line to give the Barons a 4-0 lead.
Chris Beck (1-0, 0.00) cruised through the first 4.0 innings before running into trouble in the fifth. He retired the first two batters but walked the next two and allowed an infield single to Matt Sczcur to load the bases for Arismendy Alcantara. Beck would fall behind 2-0 in the count before battling back to strike out Alcantara, much to the delight of a boisterous Regions Field crowd.
The Barons would tack on another run in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI single by Dan Wagner but missed an opportunity for more when Dan Black was thrown out at the plate attempting to score on a double by Michael Earley.
Beck was removed after the first two Smokies reached in the sixth inning in favor of RHP Nestor Molina. Molina would escape the jam unscathed by striking out Christian Villanueva and starting a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning. Molina would end up tossing 3.0 scoreless innings while striking out five.
From there the Barons would put the game away with two runs in the sixth thanks to the potent bats of Thompson and Black. Thompson would deliver the first run with an RBI double and would score on a base hit by Black. Thompson finished the night 3-for-5 with three RBI and is 5-for-9 with five RBI and two runs scored in the series.
With the win, the Barons took a commanding 2-0 series lead with the last three games taking place in Tennessee. Game three is scheduled for 5:15 PM CDT on Saturday evening. Taking the mound for the Barons will be LHP Spencer Arroyo (9-7, 3.42) while RHP Erik Jokisch (11-13, 3.42) starts for the Smokies.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.