The season could come to an end tomorrow, which would be good news for two teams and bad news for one.
The Tennessee Smokies extended their season by usurping the Birmingham Barons (White Sox), 9-2. The Smokies now trail the best-of-five series two games to one.
Eric Jokisch has been Tennessee's ace since Kyle Hendricks's promotion to Iowa, and tonight he came up big. He lasted 7.2 innings and allowed only two runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out four.
Tennessee lead 3-2 when Jokisch exited in the top of the eighth, but they exploded for six runs in the bottom of the inning to put the game away. The big blow in the eighth was a bases-clearing three-run double (along with an outfield error) by left fielder John Andreoli. Andreoli was 2 for 4 with two doubles and they only gave him two RBI. His other double led off the 5th inning and he scored after a fly out and a sacrifice fly.
Shortstop Javier Baez gave the Smokies a lead they would never relinquish when he smashed a two-run home run in the bottom of the first. Baez was 2 for 4 and scored twice.
Center fielder Matt Szczur singled to lead off the first and eighth innings and scored both times. He was 2 for 4 with the sacrifice fly that scored Andreoli.
DH Christian Villanueva went 2 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI.
The Smokies will try to stay alive and even the series with Birmingham tomorrow at 2pm Chicago time.
The Daytona Cubs are one win away from a Florida State League Championship with a 2-0 win over the Charlotte Stone Crabs (Rays). They now lead the best-of-five series two games to none.
Daytona has played four games so far and their pitching staff has yet to allow an earned run. (And the only unearned run came with two outs in the ninth of a 6-0 game.) Tonight it was Ivan Pineyro's turn to shine, and he did as he surrendered only three hits over seven innings. He struck out seven and walked only one.
Frank Del Valle pitched the final two innings for the save. It wasn't without incident, however, as he loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth before getting a comebacker to the mound to end the game. Del Valle allowed two hits and a walk over his two innings. He struck out one.
Daytona score a run in the bottom of the first when DH Dan Vogelbach doubled home first baseman Dustin Geiger and they scored their other run in the seventh inning when catcher Chadd Krist hit a ball that ricocheted off the first base bag for an RBI double, scoring Kris Bryant.
Vogelbach was 1 for 3 with a walk. Geiger was 1 for 4. Bryant was 1 for 4 with a double. Krist was 2 for 3 with that double.
Right fielder Pin-Chieh Chen was 2 for 4.
Center fielder Zeke DeVoss was 2 for 4. He also made a leaping catch going backwards in center field to rob Charlotte of at least a double. Both the Daytona and Charlotte announcers said it was the greatest catch of the year. They're both trying to see if there is any video of the catch.
Daytona now travels to Port Charlotte for game 3 at 4 pm Chicago time, Kyler Burke is scheduled to take the mound for Daytona. They just need one win out of three games in Charlotte for the Florida State League Championship.
Daytona has now won 15 of their last 16 games and have gone 26-6 since July 31.
The Boise Hawks will try to clinch their first Northwest League Championship since 2004 when they take on Vancouver at 3:05 Chicago time tomorrow. They lead the best-of-three series one game to none. Paul Blackburn will pitch for Boise and Kyle Anderson will throw for Vancouver.