The Tennessee Smokies (20-25 second half, 55-60 overall) were unable to recover after surrendering six runs in the bottom of the first inning as the Jackson Generals (25-19, 67-47) took the final regular-season meeting between the teams, 10-4, on Tuesday night at Pringles Park. The loss in the finale of the five-game series was Tennessee's fourth straight.
The Smokies opened the scoring in the top of the first when Matt Szczur led off the game with a triple and scored two batters later when Junior Lake grounded out to make it 1-0.
With Jake Brigham on the mound making his second start for the Smokies since being acquired by the Cubs from the Rangers in a trade last week, the Generals greeted the right-hander rudely in the bottom of the first. After the first three hitters reached base to load the bases with no outs, Joe Dunigan lined a two-run single to right to give Jackson a 2-1 edge. The next batter, Rich Poythress, launched a three-run homer to left. Poythress's second home run in as many days and third of the season made it 5-1. Later in the frame, an RBI double by Nate Tenbrink put the Generals up 6-1 and chased Brigham from the contest.
That score held until the top of the fifth, when Matt Cerda scored on a Chad Noble ground out after tripling to start the inning to cut Tennessee's deficit to 6-2. However, Jackson would plate a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame to jump back on top, 8-2.
Tennessee rallied for two runs in the top of the sixth thanks to a Justin Bour sacrifice fly and a Nate Samson RBI single to make it an 8-4 contest, but the Generals countered with a pair of runs in the home half of the sixth to cap the scoring.
Generals starter James Paxton (7-3) earned the win to improve to 4-0 on the second half, allowing four runs on seven this over 5.2 innings. Brigham (0-2) suffered the loss.
Bour turned in his fifth straight multi-hit outing, going 2-for-3 while driving in his league-leading 96th run of the season. For Jackson, Poythress and Dunigan each drove in three runs while Sucre went 4-for-5 with three runs scored.
The Smokies return home to Smokies Park on Wednesday night at 7:15 p.m. to begin a five-game set against the Huntsville Stars, the Double-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. In the series opener, Tennessee is slated to send right-hander Dallas Beeler (4-6, 3.99 ERA) to the mound against Huntsville righty Johnnie Lowe (1-2, 6.04 ERA).
GAME NOTES: Bour finished 10-for-15 with five extra-base hits and 10 RBIs in the five-game series... Three of the Smokies nine hits were triples, marking a season high... Tennessee finishes the regular-season series with a 7-17 record against the Generals... Smokies infielder Dustin Harrington pitched for the second time in the series, working a scoreless eighth inning... Tennessee finished 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position while the Generals stranded 14 runners on base in the three hour, 16 minute affair... Tennessee's bullpen allowed just one of six inherited runners to score... Mike Brenly made his first start of the season at first base and committed Tennessee's lone error of the contest.