Long ball lifts Smokis past Carolina, 12-11

KODAK, Tenn. (smokiesbaseball.com) -- It was “Home Run Derby” at Smokies Park Tuesday night between the Tennessee Smokies and the Carolina Mudcats. While tying 4-to-4 in the long ball tally, Tennessee came out ahead in 12-11 over the Mudcats in front of 3,226 fans. The win is the team’s first home win of the second half and puts the Smokies at 3-3 in the season’s second half, 46-30 overall.

The Smokies jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first, as Brett Jackson doubled to lead off the inning and came in on a Ryan Flaherty single.

Carolina answered with four runs in the third, but the Smokies responded quickly with a big inning of their own. Nelson Perez led off with a walk and David Macias then singled. Junior Lake walked with one out to load the bases. Flaherty singled to score Perez, Blake Lalli singled to bring in Macias, and Rebel Ridling blasted a grand slam to right-center field, putting the Smokies ahead 7-4.

With the score now tied at seven, Flaherty came through again in the bottom of the fourth, hitting a three-run shot to score Lake and Ryan Searle and give the Smokies a 10-7 lead.

Lake went deep with a solo shot in the sixth, extending the margin to 11-7. After Carolina answered with a Miguel Rojas RBI single in the seventh, Ridling hit his second home run of the game, a solo shot to make it 12-8.

Carolina narrowed the deficit to 12-10 in the eighth, as Rodriguez led the inning off with a solo shot and Soto came in on a Felix Perez sac fly. The Mudcats added another run when Eric Campbell hit a two-out solo shot in the ninth, but Jeff Beliveau struck out Phipps to end the game and record his first save of the season.

Smokies starter Trey McNutt, who didn’t factor in the decision, tossed three innings allowing four runs on six hits. Searle (2-0) picked up the win for the Smokies after allowing three runs on four hits and striking out five in three innings of relief. Jeff Beliveau pitched the ninth, and picked up his first save of the season. Matt Klinker (4-5) took the loss for Carolina.

Game two of this six-game series will be Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. The Mudcats send RHP James Avery (4-7, 4.63) to the mound and the Smokies will counter with LHP Brooks Raley (4-5, 4.54). For tickets fans can visit www.smokiesbaseball.com or call 865-286-2300.

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