Tennessee 10 – Jackson 6
Three late insurance runs – one coming in the eighth and two in the ninth – helped Tennessee hold Jackson at bay on Saturday, as the Smokies escaped with a 10-6 win on the road, thanks to a four-hit, four-RBI effort from second baseman Stephen Bruno.
In the top of the third, with Tennessee trailing 5-2 after a second-inning grand slam by the Generals’ Daniel Paolini, Bruno homered to left, cutting the Smokies’ deficit to 5-4. The next inning, another long ball – this one off the bat of Jeudy Valdez – tied the game at five apiece.
The deciding run came in the top of the fifth inning when Taylor Davis singled to left, scoring Rubi Silva and Dustin Geiger to make it a 7-5 Smokies lead. Kris Byrant’s tenth home run of the season in the eighth added one of the aforementioned insurance runs and Bruno followed that up in the ninth with a two-run shot, his second of the game and third on the season.
The Tennesee bullpen proved to be the difference in the contest, tossing five shutout innings of relief in which they surrendered just one lone base hit, scattering three base-on-balls. P.J. Francescon (4-1) notched three of those innings in the winning effort, striking out two and lowering his ERA on the season to 0.87 in 20 2/3 innings of work.
Three Smokies players – Bruno, Silva and Valdez – had at least three hits, while two others added a pair apiece on a night where the team was able to overcome a 3-for-11 night with runners in scoring position thanks to the power of the long ball.
Tennessee improves to 21-15 on the season with the win, while Jackson falls to 15-21.