SEVIERVILLE - Trailing 3-0, Tennessee erupted for eight runs in the bottom of the fifth inning - bringing 14 men to the plate - as the Smokies rallied to defeat the Birmingham Barons, 11-5, on Sunday night in front of 3,416 fans at Smokies Stadium.
With the win, Tennessee has now won six of its last seven games and improves to 27-34 in the second half and 55-76 overall. Birmingham's loss drops them to 19-43 in the season's second leg and 48-84 in total.
SS Carlos Penalver (1-2, 2 R, 2B, 3 BB) started the bottom of the fifth with a double to left-center and moved to third on 3B Chesny Young's (1-5, R, RBI, BB, SO) single to right. On the pitch that allowed RF Lane Adams (3-3, R, 4 RBI, BB) to reach on a walk, the ball skidded away from the catcher. Penalver scored on the wild pitch to trim the Smokies' deficit to 3-1.
Following a fly out, DH David Freitas (0-5, R, RBI, 2 SO) hit a grounder to short that was booted. Young scored from third to pull Tennessee within 3-2. With two away, 1B Ben Carhart (1-4, 2 R, RBI, BB) knotted the game up at three by slapping a RBI single to left-center.
That was all for Barons' LHP Blair Walters (4.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R, ER, 4 BB, 4 SO), as RHP Euclides Leyer (0.0 IP, H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB) entered. C Gioskar Amaya (1-3, 2 R, 3B, 2 RBI, 2 BB) greeted the reliever rudely, depositing a 3-1 pitch into the right-center field gap. Both baserunners crossed the dish on the backstop's triple, putting the Smokies ahead for the first time, 5-3.
The attack did not stop there, as CF Trey Martin (0-2, R, RBI, 2 BB) drew a walk and moved to second on a stolen base. Two more free passes to Penalver and Young brought home yet another tally, giving the Smokies a 6-3 advantage.
A lack of control spelled the end for Leyer, as RHP Conor Krauss (0.1 IP, H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB) was summoned to try and avert further damage. On a 1-2 offering, Adams made sure that did not occur by ripping a liner into right. Martin and Penalver crossed the plate on the two-run single, as Tennessee furthered their lead to 8-3.
By the time the fifth inning came to a close, the Smokies had brought a season-best 14 men to the plate, scoring eight runs on five hits and walking five times.
After Birmingham got a run back in the top of the sixth on a sacrifice fly by LF Courtney Hawkins (1-5, RBI), the Smokies offense erupted again. Three straight walks to LF Kelly Dugan (0-3, R, BB, 2 SO), Carhart and Amaya started the inning, as Krauss exited in favor of LHP Colton Turner (1.0 IP, H, BB, 2 SO). On a 2-0 pitch, Martin drove a deep fly to left that was run down in front of the wall. Dugan scored on the sacrifice fly to make it a 9-4 Tennessee edge.
Following another walk and a strikeout, Adams delivered again. The 26-year-old clocked base-hit through the box and into center field. Two more scored on Adams' third hit of the day, giving the Smokies a sizeable 11-4 lead.
The Barons added one final tally in the eighth inning on a fielder's choice off the bat of CF Hunter Jones (0-3, 2 RBI, SO).
Birmingham jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with single runs in the third and fourth. 1B Marcus Lemon (3-4, RBI, SO) put the Barons ahead 1-0 on a single to center in the third. In the fourth, 3BJoey DeMichele (1-4, R) and C Chris O'Dowd (3-3, 2 R) singled with two outs. Thanks to an error, DeMichele came across to put Birmingham up by two.
RHP Jen-Ho Tseng (6.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 2 ER, BB, 4 SO) surrendered just two earned runs over six innings for his second consecutive quality start. The 21-year-old earned his sixth win of the year with his performance.
Walters (4.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R, ER, 4 BB, 4 SO) yielded five runs - only one earned - over 4.2 innings, suffering his seventh defeat of the campaign.
Adams (3-3, R, 4 RBI, BB) continued his recent tear, stretching his season-high streak to 11 games with a three-hit performance. In addition, eight of Tennessee's nine starters drew a free pass, accumulating a season-high 13 walks in the contest.
The Smokies looks to continue their winning ways tomorrow night, as RHP Tyler Skulina (4-11, 5.62 ERA) is scheduled to take the ball for the Smokies. Birmingham is projected to go with RHP Spencer Adams (1-5, 4.71 ERA) in series' middle contest.
The Pilot Pre-Game Show will kick off the broadcast at 6:50 p.m. ET, leading up to the 7:05 p.m. ET start from Smokies Stadium. Monday night's contest can be heard exclusively on SmokiesBaseball.com or via the TuneIn Radio or MiLB First Pitch apps. Tomorrow's affair can also be viewed on MiLB.tv.
Fans will have a chance to save some cash on Monday with the final McGhee Tyson Airport Dollar Monday of the 2016 campaign. Fans can purchase hot dogs, popcorn and small Pepsi products for as cheap as $1. After the final out, children in attendance will have the opportunity to run the bases courtesy of Shoney's.
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.