Another strong performance by the Tennessee Smokies’ starting rotation propelled them to their fourth consecutive win against the Mississippi Braves, 4-2. Eric Jokisch’s 7.1-inning, three-hit performance helped the Smokies (31-33) extended their winning streak to seven games.
The Smokies scored three times in the second off Braves starter Sean Gilmartin (4-6). Rebel Ridling walked to lead off the frame. Jim Adduci followed with a single and Nate Samson singled scoring Ridling from second. Mike Brenly advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt. Adduci scored from third on a fielder’s choice by Elliot Soto. Jokisch laid a sacrifice bunt down, and on the play Samson came in to score on the throw to first to give Tennessee the early 2-0 lead.
Tennessee plated another run in the fourth; Samson and Brenly led off the frame with a back-to-back singles and Soto walked to load the bases. Jokisch hit into a 6-4-3 double play and Samson came in to score to give the Smokies giving a 4-0 lead.
For the fourth consecutive start, Jokisch (3-0) was masterful on the mound. In 7.1 innings, he allowed three hits while striking out one. Mississippi tacked one run against Jokisch in the eighth, snapping his 15 scoreless inning streak.
Down 4-1, the Braves would rally in the ninth off Smokies reliever Alberto Cabrera. With two on and one out, Matt Kennelly hit a sacrifice fly to score Tim Smith from third and bring the tying run to the plate. Cabrera was able to get the final two out and secure the game for the Smokies.
The Smokies will look to go for the series sweep over the Braves on Monday night at 7:15 at Smokies Park. Tennessee will start Trey McNutt (4-4, 2.35) against Mississippi’s David Hale (4-3, 4.36). Monday is Dog Days of Summer, as fans can bring their dogs to the game and enjoy the game from the berm, sponsored by Frontline, Heartgard and PetSafe. For tickets and more information call (865) 286-2300 or visit www.smokiesbaseball.com