KODAK - In eleven innings, the Tennessee Smokies (49-66, 16-29) fell 6-5 despite their late heroics against the Biloxi Shuckers (68-47, 27-18) at Smokies Stadium on Wednesday night.
Twice, the Smokies scored in their final two outs to stay alive. Eddy Martinez's solo home run in the bottom of the ninth sent the game to extra innings, and then Christian Donahue dashed for home on a wild pitch to tie the game in the tenth. Ultimately, the Smokies had no response for the Shuckers' run in the eleventh.
At the start, all eyes were on the Chicago Cubs Minor League Co-Pitcher of the Month in July, Smokies starter LHP Jack Patterson in his Double-A debut. Patterson entered the night without giving up an earned run in 33 innings, a streak spanning ten games. Patterson struck out the side in his first Double-A inning. He ended his start tossing five innings, giving up four runs on five hits.
Tennessee's offense showed their content to be back home after a lengthy away trip by scoring three runs during their first at-bat. Charcer Burks led off with a triple followed by a Vimael Machin walk to put runners on the corners. Next, an RBI-double from Jhonny Pereda scored Burks and the game's first run. A balk with a runner at third, and a sacrifice fly plated two more runs in the first frame.
In the second inning, Patterson gave up a lead off walk and then a two-run homer to Jake Gatewood to end the profound streak spanning over three levels of minor league baseball. In the fifth inning, Biloxi took the lead off a pair of RBIs from Cooper Hummel and Weston Wilson.
Down to their final two outs, Smokies OF Eddy Martinez belted a solo home run tying the game to push the game to extras. Martinez has battled staying healthy all season long, but came up with his top plays of the season tonight.
Then in extras, Dillon Thomas doubled in Hummel, who started at second, to quickly regain the Shuckers lead. Later on, Martinez made another crucial play for the Smokies, but this time with his arm, when he gunned down Thomas from right field trying to advance to third.
Once again with their backs against the wall, the Smokies came up clutch in the bottom of the tenth. Roberto Caro moved Christian Donahue to third with a sac bunt which ended up paying off as Donahue tied the game after a wild pitch from RHP Tyler Spurlin (W, 2-1).
Biloxi made the most of their bonus runner again, in the eleventh. Joantgel Segovia doubled off LHP Wyatt Short (L, 5-4) on an 0-2 pitch scoring Max McDowell to put the Shuckers ahead 6-5. LHP Daniel Brown (S, 1) faced the minimum in the bottom of the eleventh ending the Smokies comeback.
Looking to stay perfect on the mound, LHP Luis Lugo (5-0, 3.09) gets the ball for Tennessee in game two against Shuckers LHP Cameron Roegner (4-4, 4.67) at Smokies Stadium on Thursday 7pm EDT.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.