From the Smokies Media Dept:
Sevierville, TN – Down at one point by a score of 7-1, the Tennessee Smokies rallied with seven runs in the last two innings to steal a win from the visiting Carolina Mudcats by the score of 8-7. Most of the crowd of 1,785 was treated to a stunning comeback, thanks largely in part to a grand slam by Kyle Reynolds, which tied the game in the bottom of the eighth.
The picture looked like the same old story and very bleak for the Smokies in the early going, as Carolina struck for five runs in the first three innings. Smokies pitcher Tanner Watson rejoined the starting rotation tonight, and struggled through three innings of work giving up five runs on seven hits. Mark Holliman came on in relief of Watson to pitch four innings, but also gave up a couple of runs in the fifth to stake Carolina to a 7-1 lead.
The Smokies offense remained cold through the seventh innings, as Mudcats starting pitcher Chris Volstad was virtually untouchable through seven innings. Volstad gave up just one run on five hits, and the Smokies looked to suffer another home loss tonight.
The eighth inning was when the tide finally turned in the Smokies favor. With Volstad out of the game, the Smokies battered the Mudcats bullpen. Jacob Marceaux walked both Matt Camp and Tyler Colvin to lead off the inning, with Mudcat killer Matt Craig continuing his hot hitting with a run scoring double to right field. With one out, Nate Spears walked to put runners on first and third. Steve Clevenger then ripped a single to left field to score another run, and the Smokies had pulled to within 7-3.
With the bases loaded and one out, Carolina put relief pitcher Carlos Martinez (1-1) into the game to face Kyle Reynolds. Reynolds proceed to deposit Martinez’s first pitch over the right field wall for a game tying grand slam that brought the remaining crowd to its feet. The Smokies had erased a six run deficit in one inning to tie the game at seven going into the ninth inning.
After Greg Reinhard (1-1) pitched a scoreless ninth, the Smokies mounted another rally in the ninth. Camp drew another leadoff walk, and moved to second on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by Colvin. Craig was then intentionally walked, followed by a Doug Deeds groundout to first base, which moved Camp over to third. After a walk issued to Spears to load the bases, Clevenger delivered his biggest hit of the season with a line drive single to right field to score the winning run. With the win, the Smokies improved to 20-32 on the season and won their fourth game in a row.
The Smokies return to action at Smokies Park on Wednesday night for game three against the visiting Carolina Mudcats. Tennessee will send right-handed starter Jeff Samardzija (3-4, 6.14) to the mound to square off against Mudcats right-hander Daniel Barone (0-0, 0.00).