By Adam Kline / Tennessee Smokies
KODAK, Tenn. – The Tennessee Smokies used a four-run sixth inning to defeat the Chattanooga Lookouts Sunday evening in front of 3,473 at Smokies Park, 6-5. With the win, the Smokies improve to 27-29 for the second half, 62, 64 overall. The Lookouts drop to 33-23, 65-59.
Tennessee starter Dallas Beeler wasn’t fooling the Lookouts’ offense early, as Chattanooga scored three times in the first two innings on home runs by Luis Nunez and Griff Erickson to give them an early 3-0 lead.
The Smokies finally got to Lookouts starter Matt Magill (10-7) in the fifth inning, plating two runs in the frame. Matt Cerda led off with a single then came around to score on a pinch-hit double by Mike Burgess. Following a groundout by Matt Szczur, Burgess scored on a Logan Watkins single to narrow the Smokies deficit, 3-2.
Tennessee continued their offensive attack on the Lookouts in the sixth. Bour hit a leadoff single and was safe at second as Jake Lemmerman committed a throwing error on the force attempt on a groundball from Junior Lake and Rubi Silva loaded the bases with a bunt single. Cerda followed with a groundball to second that allowed Bour to score and a wild throw allowed Lake to score. Chad Noble brought in Silva and Cerda with a two-run single to center to give Tennessee the 6-3 lead.
Chattanooga scored a single run in the seventh inning off reliever Kevin Rhoderick. Following back-to-back walks, Erickson grounded to Bour at first base, who got the first out at second base, but a throwing error by Junior Lake allowed a run to score and narrow the Smokies lead, 6-4.
In the ninth, Smokies closer Frank Batista came in to seal the game for Tennessee. Joe Becker led off the inning with a single and a second error by Lake put two runners on base. Two batters later, Rafael Yona hit a single to right field to plate a single run, but Batista was able to get Nick Buss to pop out and secure the win for the Smokies.
Beeler ended the game allowing three runs (two earned) in five innings of work. Tony Zych (2-1) picked up the win of the Smokies retiring the three batters he faced in the sixth inning. Batista collected his league-leading 23rd save of the season, allowing one unearned run and striking out one in his 1.1 innings.
The Smokies and Lookouts will play Game Two of their five-game series on Monday at 7:15 p.m. at Smokies Park. RHP Nick Struck (13-10, 3.48) will start for the Smokies and Chattanooga will counter with LHP Aaron Miller (6-6, 4.46). For tickets and more information visit http://www.smokiesbaseball.com or call (865) 286-2300.
LISTEN TO GAME HIGHLIGHTS: August 19, 2012 Lookouts 5 Smokies 6