Sevierville, TN – Tonight was the official beginning of the 2nd half of the season for the Tennessee Smokies, and the home team got out to a great start in a 13-0 drubbing of the visiting Mobile BayBears. Donnie Veal (4-5) pitched his arguably best game of the season tonight in notching the win and sending the crowd of 3,076 home happy tonight.
The Smokies offense got off to a big start tonight to help out Veal, as they plated four runs in the first inning. It was a rough homecoming of sorts for BayBears starting pitcher Adam Howard (6-4), who spent his college career pitching for the nearby Walters State Senators. Howard was touched up for four runs in the first, although none of them were earned as the defense behind him faltered.
Tennessee kept the heat on Howard, scoring another run in the second and two more runs in the third. Jake Fox, who was 3-4 on the night, doubled home Nate Spears in the 2nd inning to give the Smokies a 5-0 lead. In the third, Veal helped out his own cause by smacking an RBI single to right field to score Doug Deeds and stake Tennessee to a 6-0 lead.
Veal continued to stay on his game through seven innings, showing the fans why the Cubs drafted him in the second round of the 2005 draft. Veal threw seven solid innings tonight, allowing just two hits and striking out six BayBears batters. He also walked only two batters on the night in earning his fourth win of the season. Newly acquired relief pitcher Jose Ceda was equally as effective, going two innings of scoreless relief and striking out four batters.
The Smokies finally got the offensive explosion they were looking for in pounding out fourteen hits on the night. Fox slapped his third home run of the year in the eighth inning and drove in four runs on the night. Deeds was also productive in going 3-4 and scoring three runs. Kyle Reynolds broke out of his recent slump with a four hit night, driving in three runs and scoring twice.
The six-game series versus the BayBears continues on Wednesday at Smokies Park with game time at 7:15 pm. The Smokies will send newly acquired right-hander Esmailin Caridad (0-0, 0.00) to the hill to face off against BayBears right-hander Brooks Brown (3-7, 3.88). The series will conclude at Smokies Park on Sunday June 22nd.