KODAK - Thomas Hatch's season high ten strikeouts was not enough for the Tennessee Smokies (39-44, 6-8) to overcome the Birmingham Barons (36-47, 9-5) late in a 3-2 defeat Wednesday night at Smokies Stadium.
Nick Madrigal hit the ground running for the Barons with a single in the first. Two batters later, Gavin Sheets touched them all with a blast over the wall in right field to bring home Madrigal and give Birmingham a 2-0 lead.
The Smokies leveled in the fourth. Both P.J. Higgins and Jhonny Pereda split the infield with singles to energize the inning. The very next at-bat, Vimael Machin blasted a deep fly ball off the wall dead center to bring in both runners and tie the ballgame two apiece. Pereda's base-hit extended his hit streak to a team best 12 games.
Since the rough patch in the first, RHP Thomas Hatch (L, 4-9) rallied on to pitch a gem in his tough luck loss. He set a season high with both 6.2 innings pitched and ten strikeouts. On his final line, he gave up six hits and three earned runs in the losing effort.
The Barons' third run was collected in the seventh frame to break the tie. Luis Gonzalez led off the inning with a single and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt from Joel Booker. With two outs, Laz Rivera delivered with an RBI single to give Birmingham a 3-2 lead.
RHP Luis Martinez (W, 4-1) followed Barons starter LHP Matt Tomshaw to keep the Smokies off the board. In the bottom of the ninth, Ian Rice posed a threat with a leadoff single. However, RHP Danny Dopico (S,3) worked out of the jam to record the save and seal a 3-2 win for the Barons. Birmingham leaves Kodak having taken three of four games in the series.
The Smokies will travel down to Montgomery the face off against the Biscuits Thursday night. RHP Cory Abbott (5-4, 3.86) will kick things off for the Smokies on the mound, while the Biscuits will turn to RHP Sam McWilliams (5-3, 2.23). First pitch is scheduled for 7:35 EDT.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.