Generals Come Back, but Smokies Win it in 14th

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Jackson falls in longest game of the season Tuesday

KODAK, Tenn. (June 25, 2013) - It lasted over four hours and took 14 innings for the Tennessee Smokies (4-3) to punch a 7-6 walk-off victory over the Jackson Generals (3-4). The game featured 13 pitchers, 21 hits and a total of 109 plate appearances.

For the 13th time in the 22 June games the Generals have played, a run came across in the first inning. Chris Taylor (1-6, 2B, R, 2 K), making his Double-A debut at second base, ripped a double down the right field line and was brought home by a James Jones (0-5, RBI, BB, K) groundout. Ramon Morla (1-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB, K) struggled on Monday night, striking out three times, but he found redemption on Tuesday adding another run in the first with the third home run in his seventh Double-A game.

Tennessee would not be outdone offensively though. They grabbed six unanswered runs in two innings to give them a 6-2 lead. Christian Villanueva smacked a two-run home run in the second and Elliot Soto hit his second long ball in two games during the third inning.

Jackson continued to show life though, snagging two runs in the fifth. Ji-Man Choi (2-3, R, RBI, BB, 2B) and Denny Almonte (2-6, 2B, RBI, K) contributed with run-scoring doubles and the deficit for the Generals was at 6-4. Leon Landry (2-4, RBI, R, SB, 2 K) added an RBI single in the sixth and the visitors were down only a run.

Scoring came to a halt until the game entered the final frame. Tennessee called upon closer Frank Batista, who was 10-for-11 in save opportunities. Batista had pitched 3.1 innings against Jackson already this season, allowing only one hit and striking out two. He ran into trouble this time out though.

Landry led off the ninth with a base hit. He stole second and was moved to third on a Choi single. Julio Morban (0-2, RBI, BB, K), 0-for-3 on Monday night, pinch hit with runners on the corners and one out. The second pitch of the at-bat was grounded to the right and looked to be a game-ending double play, but the throw from second to first was high and allowed Morban to reach with Landry coming into score. Things were knotted up at 6-6.

The extra innings were unkind to both teams offensively, as both bullpens were good down the stretch. Between the two teams, hitters were 3-for-29 past the ninth inning.

The game dragged on to the 14th when the home team finally broke through. Ronald Torreyes singled with one out and Matt Szczur, now 16-for-44 in his last 11 games (.364), doubled a 3-2 Andrew Kittredge (L, 0-1, 5.27) pitch down the line with two outs. Torreyes scored and the Smokies walked off a winner.

The Generals dropped to 2-5 in extra innings and the Smokies’ record improves to 5-5. Tennessee had played a 14-inning game previously against Birmingham, but for Jackson, Tuesday night’s affair was the longest in both time of game and innings. The Generals once again struggled with runners in scoring position, going 3-for-11 on the night. The Smokies were 2-for-5.

Anthony Vasquez (ND, 0-0, 7.71) made his first Double-A start of the season and was plagued by two multi-run innings. Surrendering two home runs and eight hits, Vasquez allowed six runs in total, only four of them earned. The lefthander struck out four and walked two in 4.2 innings of work. The bullpen did the job the rest of the way, as Moises Hernandez (5.96) Kyle Hunter (1.14), Carson Smith (3.52), Tyler Burgoon (2.51) and Stephen Shackleford (3.18) combined for 7.1 innings of scoreless relief. The five relievers gave up only two hits while striking eight batters out and walking four. Kittredge gave up the bullpen’s lone run in the fourteenth. He struck out a batter, but the two hits he gave up were the difference makers.
The middle game of the series gets underway tomorrow at 6:15 p.m. (CT). It will be James Gillheeney (3-2, 2.97) for the Jackson. Tennessee will give Kyle Hendricks (7-2, 2.38) the ball for the start.


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