By: Adam Kline
KODAK, Tenn. – Javier Baez once again played hero for the Tennessee Smokies, as his eighth inning home run propelled the Smokies to a 4-3 win over the Chattanooga Lookouts Thursday night at Smokies Park. The victory puts the Smokies at 32-20 on the second half, 66-55 overall.
Smokies starter Nick Struck struggled out of the gate once again in his second start with Tennessee this season, giving up a run in the first inning Rafael Ynoa scored on a Brian Cavazos-Galvez single. The Lookouts added two more runs in the third inning when Joc Pederson hit a two-run home run off Struck to give Chattanooga (16-36, 51-71) a 3-0 advantage.
With the Smokies down 3-0 in the fourth, Justin Bour singled and moved to third on a double by Christian Villanueva. Bour would come in for the Smokies first run of the game on a Brett Jackson groundout to narrow the Smokies’ deficit, 3-1.
The Smokies would tie the game, 3-3, in the fifth inning when Bour hit a bases loaded, two-RBI single to score Lopez and Arismendy Alcantara. Lopez singled to lead off the inning and two batters later, Alcantara walked.
Reliever A.J. Morris entered the game in the seventh and induced a fly out to left by Cavazos-Galvez with runners on second and third to successfully end the Lookouts threat and keep the game tied.
Baez hit his 13th home run of the season to give the Smokies a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning. Between Hi-A and Double-A, Baez has now hit 30 home runs total this season, which is tied for third-most in Minor League Baseball.
Morris (4-1) picked up the win with his 1.1 innings of work in relief. Frank Batista closed out the game for his 16th save of the season. He gave up a hit in his inning of work.
Game Four of this five-game series is Friday night at 7:15 at Smokies Park. Right-hander Matt Loosen (1-3, 7.15) will get the start for the Smokies against Lookouts lefty Rob Rasmussen (3-3, 2.52). Friday is NFL night at Smokies Park and following the game will be another spectacular fireworks show. For tickets or more information, please visit www.smokiesbaseball.com or call (865)-286-2300.
AUDIO RECAP SMOKIES 4 Lookouts 3