Fans were treated to an historic evening at Smokies Park Saturday night as the Tennessee Smokies defeated the Mississippi Braves by the score of 3-2 in front of the largest crowd in Smokies Park history and against a future Major League Baseball Hall of Famer.
The final score of the game was secondary to the appearance of Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz, who took the field in the bottom of the eighth inning to a standing ovation of 7,381 excited fans. The record-breaking crowd on hand to get a glimpse of the Braves’ stuperstar eclipsed the grand opening night of the stadium in April of 2000.
The record crowd was eagerly anticipating Smoltz taking the mound all night. In the meantime, they were treated to another pitcher’s duel between Braves pitcher Jerome Gamble (0-3) and Smokies starter Mitch Atkins (3-5).
Gamble had the rare occurrence of taking a no-hitter into the top of the fourth inning but trailing 1-0 to the home team. The Smokies plated a run in the bottom of the third after Matt Matulia reached on throwing error by Braves shortstop Paul Bennett. Matulia would later score on a sacrifice fly by Nate Spears, and the Smokies had a 1-0 lead without the benefit of a hit. ... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.