By Cody Chrusciel / Smokies Radio Network
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Saturday night’s game between the Tennessee Smokies and Chattanooga Lookouts was suspended heading into the eighth inning with the score tied, 8-8. The contest will resume on Sunday at 1:15 p.m. at AT&T Field in Chattanooga with the regularly-scheduled nine-inning game to follow.
The Smokies led Saturday’s contest, 7-0, but the Lookouts scored six runs in the fifth and tied it at seven in the sixth. The teams traded solo home runs in the seventh before the game went into a rain delay and was eventually suspended.
Facing Dodgers’ top prospect Zach Lee, the Smokies opened the scoring in the top of the second, taking a 2-0 lead thanks to a pair of one-out RBI doubles by Mike Burgess and Nate Samson.
The Smokies took advantage of a costly Chattanooga error to plate two more runs in the top of the third inning to extend their lead to 4-0. With one out and the bases loaded, Greg Rohan bounced back to the mound but Lee’s throw to the plate got past catcher Matt Wallach, allowing a pair of runs to score.
In the fourth, Tennessee used a two-out rally to push three more runs across. With Logan Watkins aboard, Justin Bour cracked a two-run homer to right center to make it a 6-0 contest. Two batters later, Greg Rohan’s second double of the night plated Juan Apodaca to extend the Tennessee lead to 7-0.
Tennessee starter Dallas Beeler held the Lookouts off the scoreboard until the bottom of the fifth inning, when Chattanooga would break out the bats. After back-to-back walks and a sacrifice bunt put two men in scoring position with one out, a Rafael Ynoa RBI single got Chattanooga on the board. Nick Buss followed with a two-run triple to cut the Lookouts deficit to 7-3. A Luis Nunez RBI single made it 7-4 and chased Beeler from the contest. Tony Zych entered in relief and the first batter he faced, Kyle Russell, launched a two-run homer to right to pull Chattanooga within one, 7-6. The Smokies escaped the jam, but not before the Lookouts sent 10 batters to the plate.
Chattanooga tied the contest at seven in the bottom of the sixth inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Luis Nunez lifted a fly ball to right field and Wallach beat Nelson Perez’s throw to the plate.
Tennessee would snag the lead right back when Perez led off the top of the seventh with his third home run of the season to put the Smokies back on top, 8-7. However, Chattanooga evened the score at eight in the bottom of the frame when Blake Smith took Marcus Hatley deep. The contest went into a rain delay following the final out of the seventh inning.
Neither starter will factor in the decision. Beeler surrendered a season-high five earned runs on six hits over 4.1 frames, walking three and striking out two. Lee struggled as well, allowing seven runs (five earned) on seven hits in 3.2 innings to raise his Southern League ERA to 9.45 over his first five Double-A starts.
The Smokies and Lookouts will conclude their four-game series on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Field following the completion of the suspended contest when Tennessee sends right-hander Ty’Relle Harris (0-1, 2.70 ERA) to the mound for his second start of the season while Chattanooga counters with righty Ethan Martin (7-5, 3.10 ERA), who ranks second in the Southern League in ERA.