Corey Smith had a one-of-a-kind night behind the plate. For the Salt Lake Bees, it was definitely a good thing.
Smith conjured up his first home run of the season and drove in the go-ahead run to spark a late Bees rally and propel the team to a 7-5 victory over the Tucson Sidewinders on Thursday night at Franklin Covey Field.
"I wasn't sitting on it," Smith said of his game-changing home run. "It was in a spot where I could get my bat to it, and I was fortunate enough to get some barrel on it and hit it out of the ball park."
He sparked the offense at an opportune time. Salt Lake had fallen behind 5-3 going into the sixth inning when Smith blasted his homer past left field.
Then after Brandon Wood scored on Adam Pavkovich's single to right field to even up the score, Smith smacked the ball deep into center field putting the Bees ahead for good.
It was a sweet series of clutch plays for the team's designated hitter, given his initial failure to make the sort of impact he expected to make after coming to Salt Lake from Arkansas.
"It was good to see," Bees manager Bobby Mitchell said. "He's been wanting to contribute and he's been struggling."
The hits Smith delivered in his late-inning heroics showcased the power Salt Lake anticipated getting when he first joined the team. Mitchell figured it was only a matter of time, once he adjusted to the pitching in the Pacific Coast League.
"He can hit the ball a long way," Mitchell said.
Tucson went up 1-0 in the first inning when Trent Oeltjen belted a line drive single to left field to drive in leadoff batter Tim Raines Jr. Raines singled to get on base and put himself in scoring position when he stole second.
Salt Lake evened things up in the bottom of the inning when Brad Coon scored on a wild pitch. Coon benefitted from some bad throws by Sidewinder pitcher Emiliano Fruto. He got on base with a walk and made it from second to third on a balk.
The Bees took a 2-1 lead when Bobby Wilson scored another unearned run. Wilson hit a sacrificial bunt on his initial at-bat, but a fielding error by third baseman Jamie D'Antona allowed him to get on base.
Wilson then put Salt Lake ahead 3-1 in the second when his sacrifice fly brought in Terry Evans from third base.
Tucson chipped into the Bees' lead and finally went up 4-3 in the fifth when Raines and Justin Upton each scored. Upton earned the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly from D'Antona.BEES NOTES: Salt Lake is now 60-1 when leading after eight innings the best such mark in the PCL. ... Attendance was 9,032. ... Darren O'Day earned his second Triple-A victory from the mound and his first since May.
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