Smokies return home needing playoff win

Smokies return home needing playoff win

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Hoover, Ala. (WATE)- The Birmingham Barons have pushed the Tennessee Smokies to the brink of elimination in the Southern League playoffs after a 7-1 win on Friday Night in Hoover, Ala.

The Barons have taken a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. 

The Smokies will host Birmingham Saturday at 6:15 p.m. in a must-win game for Tennessee.

On Friday, the Smokies were unable to overcome an early deficit.

The Barons got to Smokies starter Dae-Eun Rhee early in the game, scoring four times in the second inning.

Dan Black started the big inning with a home run to left field. Then with two runners on, an error by Javier Baez allowed Cody Puckett to reach, scoring Dan Wagner and extend the inning for Birmingham.

The next batter, Trayce Thompson, continued to swing a hot bat in the series, hitting a two-RBI double to give the Barons the 4-0 advantage.

Rhee (0-1) would surrender another run in the fifth inning and end his night after 4.1 innings, allowing five runs (two earned) on seven hits, walking four and striking out two.

Reliever P.J. Francescon didn't fare much better allowing two more runs to score in the sixth inning to give the Barons a 7-0 lead. Hunter Cervenka and Armando Rivero each made scoreless appearances for the Smokies out of the bullpen.

In the ninth, the Smokies plated a single run when John Andreoli drove home Rubi Silva with a RBI-double to make the score 7-1.

Birmingham starter Chris Beck (1-0) earned the win, holding the Smokies to only three hits, while striking out five in his five innings of work.

(The Tennessee Smokies provided information for this story) 

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