Smokies walk off with 6-5 win
Smokies right-handed starter Corey Black fired five no-hit innings, while second baseman Stephen Bruno delivered a clutch ninth-inning single to give Tennessee a 6-5 walk-off victory over the Chattanooga Lookouts on Friday night at Smokies Stadium.
The win gives the Smokies a 2-1 series lead and improves their record to 3-5. Chattanooga fell to 3-5 on the year.
RF John Andreoli led off the final frame by hustling out an aggressive double, and then moved to third on Valdez’s sacrifice bunt. A pair of intentional walks would then load the bases and set the stage for Bruno, who slapped a single to right to give the Smokies the walk-off win.
It was a solid first start of the season for Black (5.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 SO), who retired each of the final ten batters he faced after yielding three early walks. It was a similar line to Black’s final start of 2013, when he gave up just one base knock through six scoreless innings in the third game of the Florida State League Championship.
Despite a blown save, closer Armando Rivero earned the victory to improve to 1-0 on the year, while Lookouts reliever Juan Gonzalez suffered the loss. Neither Black, nor Chattanooga starter Chris Reed factored in the decision.
Geiger got the scoring started in the third with the first homer at Smokies Stadium in 2014. 3B Kris Bryant led off the frame with a walk before Geiger blasted his third longball of the season, which placed him in a tie for the Southern League lead with Birmingham Barons infielder Jaime Pedroza.
The Smokies would extend the margin to 5-0 courtesy of another roundtripper. Geiger began the frame with a single to left, while C Rafael Lopez drew a walk to bring up SS Jeudy Valdez, who exited the yard with a three-run blast to left to propel Tennessee ahead by five.
Chattanooga would narrow their deficit in the eighth with a three-run frame, taking advantage of Tennessee fielding miscues. After RF Jon Garcia walked, CF Noel Cuevas, 2B Casio Grider and SS Ozzie Martinez all reached on errors, the latter two each plating single tallies, while 3B Daniel Mayora smashed an RBI single to left to make it 5-3.
The Lookouts would even the count in the ninth thanks to a two-run blast from Cuevas following Garcia’s free pass before Tennessee grabbed back the lead for good in the following half of the frame.
Geiger recorded his third multi-hit effort of the season to extend his hit streak to five games, and was the lone Smokies or Lookouts batter to collect two or more hits in the contest. With Bryant’s free pass in the opening frame the infielder has reached base in each of the seven games he has played in this year.
The two teams will play the fourth game of their series Saturday evening at Smokies Stadium, with first pitch set for 6:15 p.m. Right-hander Ivan Pineyro (0-1. 2.25) is scheduled to take the hill for the Smokies, while fellow right-hander Andres Santiago (0-0, 3.60) is slated to get the nod for the Lookouts.