Smokies win Southern League season opener

KODAK, Tenn. (WVLT)-- The Tennessee Smokies (1-0) plated runs in five of their eight innings at the plate, including three in the eighth, to defeat the Mississippi Braves (0-1) 7-5 on Thursday night’s season opener. Christian Donahue’s pinch-hit two-run double in the eighth off LHP Phil Pfeifer (L, 0-1) put the Smokies over the top in a back-and-forth affair.

RHP Thomas Hatch hurled five scoreless innings while striking out seven in the opening night start. Jared Young homered in his first Double-A at-bat in the bottom of the first, joining the likes of Kris Bryant and Javier Baez who accomplished the same feat.

Trailing 3-2 in the sixth, the Smokies tied the game when Vimael Machin brought home Charcer Burks with an RBI-single. An inning later, Burks provided a fielder’s choice RBI to make it a 4-3 game.

The M-Braves re-took the lead in the top of the eighth on a two-run double from Jonathan Morales, but the Smokies offense picked up LHP Wyatt Short (W, 1-0) with their three-run eighth. RHP Craig Brooks (S, 1) stranded a pair of baserunners in the ninth to earn the save in a game that featured four lead changes.

The two teams battle once again at 7 PM ET on Friday night with RHP Cory Abbott on the mound for Tennessee, while LHP Kyle Muller gets the ball for the M-Braves.

All games can be heard on the new Smokies Radio Network, Talk Radio 92.3 FM / AM 760 as well as TuneIn Radio and the MiLB First Pitch app. MiLB.TV subscribers can enjoy the Smokies’ brand new high definition video feed. The full season schedule and season ticket information can be found online at smokiesbaseball.com, or by calling the Smokies Ticket Office at 865-286-2300.