KODAK - The Tennessee Smokies (38-43, 5-7) fell late 5-4 to the Birmingham Barons (35-46, 8-4) in a game that featured two ties and four lead changes at Smokies stadium on Monday night. Wynton Bernard was 3-for-3 with two RBIs and reached base four times in a losing effort.
The Barons picked up right where they left off from their game one win on Sunday. In the first frame, Nick Madrigal represented the first baserunner of the night with a one out walk. He came around to score on a single from the bat of Gavin Sheets to give Birmingham an early 1-0 lead.
Madrigal left his mark again in the second. He ripped a single that deflected off the leg of Smokies starter RHP Jake Stinnett to bring home Alfredo Gonzalez, running the score to 2-0. Stinnett went two innings and only gave up one earned run in his first start of the season. It was his first start since his 2016 season with Myrtle Beach.
The Smokies equalized in the bottom of the second. Wynton Bernard blasted a 414 foot bomb into left center to get the Smokies on the board. It was his first home run this season with the Smokies and second of the season. Connor Myers followed with a double and was able to steal third. That allowed Zack Short to bring him home with a sacrifice fly to even the score at two.
Both sides continued to go back and forth. The Barons re-took the lead in the fourth thanks to an RBI-single from Blake Rutherford. In the bottom of the frame, Wynton Bernard collected his second extra-base hit of the game with a double to score Charcer Burks and knot up the score at three.
The Smokies grabbed their first lead of the night in the sixth inning. Ian Rice set the table with a leadoff single off RHP Jake Elliot (W, 1-0). He moved into scoring position thanks to a sacrifice bunt by Burks. With two outs, Myers laid down a squeeze bunt and safely beat the throw to first with a head first slide to score Rice and make the score 4-3.
Once again the Barons had an answer. Joel Booker poked a double down the right field line to set two runners in scoring position. Laz Rivera cashed in with a two-RBI single to center field off LHP Wyatt Short (L, 3-1) to regain the lead for Birmingham. RHP Codi Heuer (S, 2) kept the score static in the ninth to collect his second save of the season for the Barons.
Game three of the Smokies homestand against the Barons is slated for Tuesday night. 2017 Chicago Cubs first round pick LHP Alex Lange (1-0, 2.25) makes his third start of the season, while the Barons will hand the ball to RHP Lincoln Henzman (2-2, 4.60). First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 EDT.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.