MONTGOMERY, Ala. - CF Ian Happ clobbered two homers and drove in three runs, but the Montgomery Biscuits scored nine unanswered runs from the second through sixth innings to defeat the Tennessee Smokies, 10-5, on Friday night at Riverwalk Stadium.
With the loss, Tennessee drops to 29-37 in the second half and 57-79 overall. The Biscuits victory keeps them in first place in the Southern League North Division with three games to play. Montgomery now holds a 40-27 mark in the season's second leg and 74-63 record in total.
The Smokies jumped out to an early lead in the second thanks to a pair of home runs. Happ (3-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, SO) smoked a one-out liner to right that carried over the wall for a home run. The solo shot - the 22-year-old's seventh at the Double-A level - put Tennessee ahead, 1-0.
After a fly out, C Ben Carhart (1-4, R, HR, RBI, SO) crushed a towering shot to left for a long ball of his own. The second one-RBI homer of the inning - the veteran's sixth of the season - gave the Smokies a 2-0 advantage.
Montgomery then rattled off nine straight runs to take the lead for good.
With two outs in the second, the Biscuits rattled off four consecutive singles to tie the game. CF Braxton Lee (1-4, RBI) and 2B Tommy Coyle's (2-4, R, 3B, RBI, 2 SO) knocks drove in runs to even the game at two.
DH Jake Bauers (3-5, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI) put Montgomery in front in the third. Following a walk to SS Willy Adames (0-4, R, RBI, BB, 2 SO), the left-handed swinger mashed a two-run homer over the wall in left. The dinger - Bauers' 14th of the season - put the Biscuits ahead, 4-2.
Montgomery added three more to their advantage in the fifth. Five of the first six men to bat in the frame reached on singles, scoring on base-hits by Bauers and 1B Patrick Leonard (1-4, RBI, 2 SO) to increase the Smokies' deficit to 6-2. C Justin O'Conner (2-3, R, RBI, SO) proceeded to drive home another tally with a sacrifice fly to make it a 7-2 Montgomery edge.
Coyle led off the sixth with a triple and scored on a two-bagger by LF Granden Goetzman (2-5, 3 R, 2B, RBI). Two batters later, Bauers drove in his fourth run of the night - singling home Goetzman - to put the Biscuits comfortably in the lead, 9-2.
Happ came through in a big away again in the seventh. Leading off the inning, the switch-hitter lofted another deep fly ball - this time to center - that carried out of the ballpark for a home run. The clout - Happ's eighth with Tennessee - made it a 9-3 contest.
The Smokies rallied again in the eighth. Tennessee loaded the bases on a C Gioskar Amaya (2-3, BB) single, a RF Kelly Dugan (0-3, R, SO) hit-by-pitch and a walk to DH David Freitas (1-3, BB). With two away, Happ drove in his third run of the night on a deflected infield single and 3B Jason Vosler (0-3, RBI, BB, SO) followed with a bases loaded walk, trimming the Biscuits advantage to 9-5. However, that's as close as they would get with a fly out ending the rally.
RHP Hunter Wood (7.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 SO) surrendered just two earned runs over seven innings to earn his sixth victory with the Biscuits. RHP Jen-Ho Tseng (5.0 IP, 11 H, 7 R, 7 ER, BB, 3 SO) was taxed for seven runs on 11 hits in five frames, suffering his eighth defeat of the year for the Smokies.
The Smokies continue their final series of the 2016 regular season tomorrow night against the Biscuits. RHP Tyler Skulina (4-12, 5.39 ERA) is expected to toe the slab for Tennessee, while RHP Taylor Guerrieri (12-6, 3.88 ERA) is projected to grab the ball for Montgomery.
The Pilot Pre-Game Show will kick off the broadcast at 7:20 p.m. ET, leading up to the 7:35p.m. ET start from Riverwalk Stadium. Saturday night's contest can be heard on Sports Radio WNML 99.1 FM and 990 AM, as well as SmokiesBaseball.com or via the TuneIn Radio or MiLB First Pitch apps.
The Smokies open their 2017 campaign at home schedule on Wednesday, April 12, starting a five-game series against the Mississippi Braves, the Double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. The entire 2017 schedule, in addition to season ticket information, can be found online at smokiesbaseball.com.
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/.
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.