The Jacksonville Suns won the Southern League Championship tonight as they blinded our Tennessee Smokies, 7-3.
Today's game got off to a good start, as the Smokies scored two runs in the bottom of the second on a double by second baseman Tony Thomas.
But Smokies starter Andrew Cashner couldn't hold the lead. Cashner gave up one run in the top of the third, which Tennessee promptly got back in the bottom of the inning on a solo home run by left fielder Ty Wright. But Cashner got into real trouble in the fourth inning. He walked two men and then allowed a three-run home run to the opposing pitcher to give Jacksonville a 4-3 lead that they would never relinquish.
For the evening, Cashner threw four innings and allowed four runs on four hits. He walked three and struck out only one.
After the fourth inning, the Smokies offense couldn't do anything. They never even got a man as far as second base again before the ninth inning. Meanwhile, the Smokies defense made three errors in the sixth inning which led to two runs. Shortstop Starlin Castro muffed a ground ball and pitcher Jayson Ruhlman moved the runner to second base on a wild pickoff throw. The next batter bunted, and Castro made a throwing error which allowed the original runner to score. That runner would eventually score later in the inning.
The Suns tacked on their seventh run in the seventh inning off of reliever Alex Maestri.
The Smokies did mount a threat in the ninth when the first two batters reached on a single and a walk. But after right fielder Tyler Colvin grounded into a force out, he then inexplicably got picked off first base with a man on second and one out.
Wright was the big bat for the Smokies tonight--he went 3 for 4 with the home run. Catcher Welington Castillo was 2 for 3.
It was a disappointing finish to the season, but congratulations anyway to Ryne Sandberg and the Smokies as they had a very successful season.