Smokies fall 3-2 in pitcher's duel

KODAK, Tenn. – Runs were at a premium in Thursday night’s game between the Tennessee Smokies and Mississippi Braves. Unfortunately, the Smokies fell victim to a late Mississippi run and lost, 3-2, in front of 2,939 fans at Smokies Park. The Smokies fall to 32-33 on the season, while Mississippi improves to 36-30.

Smokies starter Alberto Cabrera held the M-Braves scoreless until the sixth inning when he gave up a leadoff double to Dan Brewer. Brewer later scored on a sacrifice fly by Philip Gosselin. The next batter, Christian Bethancourt, took a 1-0 pitch over the centerfield fence for his second home run of the season and a 2-0 Mississippi lead.

Cabrera would end the night allowing the two runs on five hits, a walk, while striking out seven in seven innings of work.

Mississippi starter Cody Martin was equally good on the mound, taking a perfect game into the fourth inning until Rubi Silva hit a two-out double to end the right-handers perfect game bid.

The Smokies would tie the game up at two in the seventh off of a pinch-hit RBI single from Matt Szczur, scoring Ty Wright who singled to lead off the inning. Szczur advanced to second on a throwing error by the left fielder Kyle Russell. Jonathan Mota then grounded out to second, scoring Anthony Giansanti who reached on a single.

Smokies reliever Trey McNutt (2-5) came in to pitch the eighth inning and gave up the go ahead run on a 6-4-3 double play groundout by Bethancourt.

Tennessee’s Hunter Cervenka pitched the ninth inning allowing just a hit in his inning of work.

Martin did not factor into the decision, but he did surrender two runs (one earned) on four hits, while striking out 11 in his 6.1 innings. Andrew Russell (4-1) picked up the win for Mississippi and Ryne Harper pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to get his fourth save of the season.

The two teams will continue their five-game series on Friday night at 7:15 at Smokies Park. For Smokies pitcher RHP Mitch Atkins (0-1, 1.12) will take the mound for Mississippi and the Smokies will counter with LHP Austin Kirk (0-1, 9.00).

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