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Strider shines in return home, but M-Braves fall to Smokies on Saturday, 2-0

SEVIERVILLE, TN- For just the fifth time in 65 games this season, the Mississippi Braves were shut out by the opposition, falling on Saturday night to the Tennessee Smokies, 2-0. The M-Braves lead the series 3-2 over the Smokies heading into Sunday afternoon’s series finale at Smokies Stadium.
Knoxville native Spencer Strider (L, 1-3) made his return to East Tennessee on Saturday night, pitching in front of hundreds of friends and family. The 22-year-old right-hander out of Clemson didn’t disappoint with 5.0 innings of one-run baseball, allowing only a solo home run to Cubs’ #2 prospect Brennen Davis in the third inning. Strider consistently used a 97 mph fastball to strike out six Smokies (26-35), walking one in his fifth M-Braves start. The #19 prospect for the Braves has 86 strikeouts over his first 49.1 innings of professional baseball.
Luis Lugo (W, 3-3) has had the M-Braves’ (40-25) number this season and recorded his third-straight win after 6.0 innings of shutout baseball. Lugo hasn’t allowed a run over 14.1 innings this season against Mississippi. Lugo held the M-Braves hitless through 5.2 innings before Justin Dean and Trey Harris hit back-to-back singles with two outs in the top of the sixth inning.
Brandon White pitched behind Strider and gave up one unearned run over 2.0 innings with three strikeouts and no walks. Indigo Diaz walked one and struck out one over a scoreless eighth inning.
Ethan Robers (S, 3) gave up a double to CJ Alexander in the top of the ninth inning, after Greyson Jenista reached on a dropped third strike. The Tennessee Tech product got a pop out and strikeout to strand the tying run on base.
The Braves finished 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left seven on base over the final four innings. Despite the loss, the M-Braves have a three-game lead over Pensacola in the Double-A South standings.
Sunday afternoon the Smokies and Braves conclude their season series. LHP Hayden Deal (2-2, 4.03) will face off against RHP Dakota Chalmers (0-1, 4.97). The first pitch is scheduled for 1:00 pm CT with coverage on 103.9 WYAB, mississippibraves.com, and MiLB.tv.
The M-Braves will return to Trustmark Park for a six-game series against the Biloxi Shuckers at Trustmark Park, July 20-25. For tickets, and information on upcoming promotions, visit mississippibraves.com, or call 888-BRAVES4.