JACKSON, Tenn. - LF Kelly Dugan came through with yet another big hit, as he roped a go-ahead RBI double to left in the 10th inning as the Tennessee Smokies tied a season-best with their fifth straight victory, beating the Jackson Generals, 5-4, on Thursday night at The Ballpark at Jackson.
With the win, Tennessee improves to 26-33 in the season's second leg and 54-75 overall. Jackson's loss drops them to 35-24 in the second half and 81-48 in total.
In the 10th, DH David Freitas (2-4, 2 R, BB, 2 SO) drew a free pass, setting the stage for Dugan (2-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI, SO). The 25-year-old poked a fly ball down the left-field line that just managed to stay fair and bounce off the wall. Freitas hustled all the way around from first - avoiding the tag from C Alexander Capriata - to give the Smokies a 5-4 lead.
Jackson threatened in the bottom of the frame, but could not even the tide. 2B Tim Lopes (0-3, 2 R, BB) reached on a throwing error, but 2B Daniel Lockhart backed up the throw and tagged out the runner after he took a wide turn at first for the opening out of the frame. With two down, 1B Ryan Casteel (2-4, RBI, BB) and LF Patrick Brady (2-4, BB, SO) singled and scooted to second and third, respectively, on another throwing error.
However, that would be as close as the Generals would get. RHP David Berg (1.0 IP, 2 H) got pinch-hitter Tyler Marlette to ground out to second, sealing the victory and his third Double-A save of the year.
Once again, the Smokies struck first, grabbing the lead in the second. C Ben Carhart (1-5, R, HR, 2 RBI, SO) ripped an 0-2 offering over the wall in left for a solo home run. The blast - his third of the series and fifth of the year - put Tennessee ahead, 1-0.
Jackson battled back in the bottom of the frame, scoring two to take the lead. After a walk to Lopes, LF Dario Pizzano (3-5, R, 3B, RBI) tripled to right to score the runner and tie the game at one. Casteel followed with a single to center - bringing home Pizzano - to give the Generals the advantage, 2-1.
Thanks to Dugan, the Smokies regained the lead in the third. 1B Victor Caratini (1-2, R) and Freitas started the inning with back-to-back singles, while the California native walloped a liner off the wall in right. Caratini scored from second on Dugan's double to even the score at two. Carhart proceeded to give the Smokies the lead, 3-2, driving in Freitas on a ground out to short.
Tennessee added insurance in the fourth. CF Trey Martin (1-3, R, BB, 2 SO) singled and stole second base before moving to third on a fly out. RF Lane Adams (2-5, RBI, SO) slapped a single to right to bring him home and give the Smokies a 4-2 edge.
The Generals scored a run in the fifth and sixth to tie the game. 3B Adam Law (1-3, RBI, BB) drove in Capriata (1-3, R) - who was hit by a pitch to start the inning - on a sacrifice fly to make it 4-3 in the fifth. With two on and two out in the sixth, Capriata reached again on a infield single to third. A missed catch error on the play allowed Lopes - who was also hit by a pitch to start the frame - to cross the plate and tie it at four.
Neither starters received a decision on Thursday night. Smokies' RHP Brad Markey (6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 BB) struggled with his control - walking four and hitting two men - but earned his 12th quality start of the year. RHP Paul Blackburn (3.2 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO) - making his first start against the Smokies since being traded by the Cubs to the Mariners on July 20 - failed to make it out of the fourth, allowing nine hits and four runs.
RHP Stephen Perakslis (3.0 IP, 2 H, BB, 4 SO) was brilliant for Tennessee in relief, tossing three shutout frames to earn his first win of the campaign. RHP Ryne Harper (2.0 IP, H, R, ER, BB, 3 SO) punched out three, but yielded the go-ahead run in the 10th, suffering his fifth loss of 2016 and second of the series.
Tennessee can set a season-best with their six straight victory tomorrow night, as RHP Zach Hedges (3-2, 2.36 ERA) is scheduled to take the ball for the Smokies. Jackson is projected to go with RHP Brett Ash (11-8, 4.67 ERA), as they try to avoid the six-game series sweep.
The Pilot Pre-Game Show will kick off the broadcast at 7:50 p.m. ET, leading up to the 8:05 p.m. ET start from The Ballpark at Jackson. Friday night's contest can be exclusively on SmokiesBaseball.com or via the TuneIn Radio or MiLB First Pitch apps.
Following the road trip, the Smokies return home on Saturday, August 27, to take on the Birmingham Barons, the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, at 7:05 p.m. for the final homestand of the 2016 season. That night's affair will be All That and 90's Night at the ballpark featuring special between-inning contests, music and videoboard graphics. Following the final out, there will be one final postgame fireworks show in partnership with Alzheimer's Tennessee.
The Tennessee Smokies Charity of Choice for the 2016 season is Alzheimer's Tennessee. Alzheimer's Tennessee's mission is to serve those facing Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, to promote brain health through education, and to champion global prevention and treatment efforts. For more information on how to join the Tennessee Smokies in helping Alzheimer's Tennessee achieve their mission, please visit http://www.alztennessee.org/smokies/.
Single-game tickets, as well as multi-voucher and season ticket packages are still available, and can be purchased online at smokiesbaseball.com, or by calling the Smokies Ticket Office at 865-286-2300
ABOUT THE TENNESSEE SMOKIES
The Tennessee Smokies are the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. Members of the ten-team Southern League, Smokies baseball has been entertaining families and fans of America's national pastime in the East Tennessee region for over 100 years. To learn more about the Tennessee Smokies, visit www.smokiesbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.