PENSACOLA, FL - The Tennessee Smokies (30-35) and Pensacola Blue Wahoos (37-29) played a series opener featuring four ties and five lead changes that was ultimately won 7-6 by Pensacola in 12 innings.
The Smokies jumped out to a pair of early leads. Jhonny Pereda started the scoring with an RBI-single in the top of the second, scoring Ian Rice. Taylor Grzelakowski countered with an RBI-knock in the bottom of the frame to square the game at one.
Two stanzas later, Vimael Machin doubled home Jared Young to make it 2-1, but Pensacola provided the first crooked number with Joe Cronin's fourth tater of the season, a three-run blast to left to make it 4-2.
Machin capitalized on a bases loaded opportunity in the top of the sixth by nearly blasting the first grand slam of the Smokies' season. He just missed the home run with a booming fly ball to right field that popped out of Jaylin Davis' glove as he crashed into the wall. Clayton Daniel and Young both scored to tie the game. Two batters later, RHP Anthony Vizcaya unloaded a wild pitch to bring home Eddy Martinez, handing Tennessee a 5-4 lead.
Pensacola wasted no time responding once again. In the bottom of the sixth, an RBI-single from Travis Blankenhorn and a sacrifice fly from Davis swung the pendulum back in the Blue Wahoos favor, 6-5.
Both bullpens kept the opposition off the board the rest of the way to the ninth. The Smokies tied the game after a two-out rally that started with a double from Daniel. Young then reached on an error by Blankenhorn, and Martinez singled home Daniel.
The Smokies were unable to plate a run in their three extra innings at the plate with a bonus runner at second to start each frame. In the bottom of the twelfth, the Smokies ran out of pitchers and sent infielder Christian Donahue to the mound. After recording an out, Ben Rortvedt supplied the walkoff single to score Blankenhorn and take game one of the series.
First pitch of the second game of the five-game set is scheduled for 7:35 EDT. RHP Tyson Miller (3-3, 2.49) gets the ball for Tennessee, while Pensacola tosses out LHP Charlie Barnes (0-1, 3.86).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.