By Roger Hoover / Smokies Radio Network
The Tennessee Smokies look to put an end to their two-game losing streak on Sunday, facing the Chattanooga Lookouts at Smokies Park.
Last night the Lookouts rallied for three runs in the ninth to win 6-3. If the Lookouts win another game in the series, it will mean three straight series losses for the Smokies.
Tennessee will send right-hander Trey McNutt to the mound on Sunday. McNutt is 4-7 with a 4.67 ERA in 16 starts this season. Starting for Chattanooga is right-hander Zach Lee, who has no record and a 7.00 ERA in 2012 with the Lookouts.
SETTING THE SCENE
The Smokies and Lookouts square off in the middle contest of their three-game series tonight. The Smokies are 8-6 against Chattanooga this season but the Lookouts have won four of the last five meetings. The teams are slated to play 25 times in 2012. The Lookouts enter today in first place in the North Division, holding a two-game lead over Jackson.
WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH…
After facing the Dodgers’ second-best prospect (according to Baseball America) yesterday in righty Allen Webster, the Smokies square off against Los Angeles’ top prospect, Zach Lee, today. Lee pitched well in his Double-A debut on June 27 at Mississippi (one run in six innings) but surrendered six runs in three innings against the Smokies on Tuesday night in Chattanooga. After being selected as the 28th overall pick in the 2010 draft out of high school in Texas, Lee turned down football and baseball scholarships to LSU to sign with the Dodgers for $5.25 million, the largest draft bonus in franchise history.
HA TO START FUTURES GAME TODAY
Smokies outfielder Jae-Hoon Ha has been selected to play for the World Team in the MLB Futures Game to be played today at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City at 5 p.m. Ha, who is penciled into the starting lineup in center field batting eighth, will be joined on the World team by two other Southern Leaguers – Mississippi catcher Christian Bethancourt (catching, batting 9th) and Mobile outfielder Alfredo Marte (left field, batting 4th). The U.S. team roster includes INF Scooter Gennett (Huntsville), and pitchers Taijuan Walker (Jackson), Danny Hultzen (Jackson), and Tyler Skaggs (Mobile). Jackson skipper Jim Pankovits is part of George Brett’s U.S. coaching staff while Mobile manager Turner Ward will assist World manager Bernie Williams. Ha, 21, is the only player from the Cubs organization to participating in the game. Recent player to represent the Cubs in the contest are outfielders Matt Szczur (2011) and Brett Jackson (2010).
Follwing his 3-for-4 outing last night, catcher Juan Apodaca has hit safely in five straight games since re-joining the Smokies from Triple-A Iowa on June 28, going 8-for-17 since his return. He was hitting .207 for the Smokies when he was promoted to Iowa in April and has since raised his average with Tennessee to .304 (97 points).
Fans can listen to the game on the Smokies Radio Network, with the “Voice of the Smokies” Mick Gillispie entering his sixth season as Tennessee’s Director of Broadcasting. The 2010 Southern League Broadcaster of the Year is assisted by Cody Chrusciel, Roger Hoover, Jonathan Guess, and Adam King. Chrusciel and Hoover will host the Pilot Oscar-Mayer Pregame Show beginning at 4:45 p.m. on the Smokies Radio Network.
Tonight’s broadcast will air on the Smokies Radio Network’s flagship station The Sports Animal WNML AM 990, FM 99.1 and 99.3 plus the Smokies mobile app. Click the link below to listen live online.