Tennessee left-hander takes a one-hitter into seventh inning on his way to second win of season
The Tennessee Smokies capped their most recent home series with the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx with a 6-2 victory Wednesday afternoon, improving to 6-4 in the second half of the Southern League season.
Tennessee swept its North Division rivals from West Tennessee Tuesday night 4-2 and 1-0 in a double-header that made up for Monday’s rain-out at Smokies Park.
Tennessee, the third place finishers in the first-half of the North Division standings, won four of the five games in the series against first half division runner-up West Tenn.
The Smokies got nice outings from starting pitchers Greg Smith (game-one) and Ross Ohlendorf (game-two) in Tuesday’s games, and then picked up a solid start from Matt Chico in Wednesday’s win.
Tennessee is a few percentage points behind North Division leader Chattanooga, who also claimed the first half division championship and clinched a postseason reservation.
Chico improved to 2-2 on the season by allowing one earned-run on four hits over 6 2/3 innings Wednesday on a hot and humid late July day in Sevierville.
The stocky-built southpaw recorded three strikeouts while issuing two free passes. He also threw a pair of wild pitches during his time on the mound that spanned 89 total pitches.
Middle-reliever Matt Wilkinson replaced Chico with two outs in the sixth. Wilkinson faced four batters before registering the last out of the inning. He allowed a run on three hits.
Bill White was credited with the save after going the final two frames without allowing a hit. White sent down six of the seven batters he faced, recording one strikeout and allowing a walk.
Tennessee tallied one run in the first, two in the second and held a 3-0 lead as Chico carried a one-hitter into the sixth inning.
West Tenn scored a run off Chico in the seventh, prompting Smokies manager Bill Plummer to bring in Wilkinson who finished the top half of frame with the home team up 3-1.
Tennessee added two more runs in the bottom half of the seventh with back-to-back RBI singles by Jon Zeringue and Alberto Gonzalez to go up 5-1.
Both squads then added one run each in the eighth inning.
Tennessee got on the board first in the opening frame when Jerry Gil reached on a one-out walk and was brought around to score with a Jesus Cota RBI.
The Smokies loaded the bases in the second and Chico helped his own cause with an RBI to make it 3-0 early.
Tennessee will next begin a five-game series at Carolina tonight with first pitch slated for 7:15. Tennessee’s Garrett Mock is slated to start for the Smokies, who will return home for a series against Montgomery on Tuesday, July 4.