Game One Radio Recap:
Game Two Radio Recap:
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Smokies dropped both games of a doubleheader on Sunday at AT&T Field in Chattanooga and were eliminated from post-season play. The Lookouts, with a 9-0 victory in game one and a 3-2 comeback win in game two, will finish as Second Half Champions.
Chattanooga (34-33, 60-77) starter Steve Smith pitched a complete game shutout in the 9-0 Lookouts win in game one. In game two, the Smokies (33-36, 66-72) led 2-1 entering the sixth inning, but would lose their late lead in the doubleheader shortened game. Reliever Blake Cooper took over for starter Pierce Johnson in the sixth and allowed two runs to score in the inning.
Cooper (3-3, 1.62) inherited one and immediately allowed a single to O’Koyea Dickson in the sixth. He then managed to retire Noel Cuevas on a failed sacrifice bunt, but pinch hitter Chris O’Brien followed with a liner that got by a diving catch attempt from Albert Almora in center. The hit rolled past Almora and the resulting triple scored two runs. Both Corey Seager and Dickson scored on the play and the Lookouts came back to take a 3-2 lead.
Cooper suffered both a blown save and took the loss . The loss was his first with Tennessee and his third overall in the Southern League this season. He allowed one inherited runner to score in the inning and officially was charged with just one run in the inning. The lone run he allowed in the sixth of game two was the only run given up by Cooper with the Smokies this season.
Reliever Jhan Marinez (7-1, 4.91) earned the game two win for the Lookouts. He pitched the end of the sixth and finished the inning without allowing a run. Daniel Coulombe earned the save, it was his first in four tries this season.
After wining the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader, the Lookouts put themselves in a position of needing just one more win over the final two games to clinch a post-season berth. They managed to do that in game two of the doubleheader and will face the Huntsville Stars in the Southern League North Division playoffs later in the week.
The Lookouts won the first game in commanding fashion 9-0. Seager led the Lookouts with a 2-for-4 game and drove in four runs.
Smith (3-2, 2.76) went the distance in the seven inning game and blanked the Smokies on four hits.
C.J. Edwards (1-2, 2.44) started game one for Tennessee and kept the Lookouts scoreless over the first two innings before allowing an unearned run in the third.
Alex Liddi led off the Chattanooga third with a single up the middle and moved to second when starting pitcher Steve Smith dropped a sacrifice bunt. The bunt was misplayed by Tennessee catcher Taylor Davis and his errant throw on the play allowed both Liddi and Smith to reach safely. Angel Sanchez delivered a sacrifice fly later in the inning and the Lookouts took a 1-0 lead.
Edwards stayed in the game for the fourth and would see two more Chattanooga runs come across. After walking Seager in the fourth, Edwards gave up a run scoring double to O’Brien and the Smokies fell behind 2-0. The Lookouts lead went to 3-0 when, in the very next at-bat, Jeremy Hazelbaker drove in O’Brien with a single to center.
Edwards left after the fourth and allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits while taking the loss. He walked three and struck out one in his final regular season start.
Jeff Lorick followed Edwards and also allowed four hits. However, Lorick gave up five earned runs including a two-run home run to Seager in the fifth. Seager’s home run was the second Chattanooga hit in the fifth. Scott Schebler collected the first knock with a single to right and after a Daniel Mayora strikeout, Seager came through with his two-run blast to right.
Lorick was charged with five runs on four hits over an one and 1/3 innings. He pitched through the fifth and into the sixth before leaving the inning with one man retired.
Jeremy Hazelbaker singled to left to start the sixth and LIddi followed with a walk. A sacrfice bunt from Smith moved both runners up and a single to center by Sweeney plated two more Chattanooga runs. The Lookouts led 7-0 after Sweeney’s hit and Lorick was pulled from the game.
Lendy Castillo took over for the remainder of the sixth inning. Castillo gave up a single to Sanchez, walked Schebler and then gave up a two-out single to Seager. Sweeney and Sanchez scored on Seager’s second run scoring hit of the game and the Lookouts took a 9-0 lead.
Tennessee’s game two starter, Pierce Johnson, helped his own cause and then some with a two-run single in the fourth of game two. It was Johnson’s first career hit and it put the Smokies up 2-1 in the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader.
Johnson’s hit came off Lookouts’ starter Matt Shelton who left after five innings with just two runs allowed on six hits. The knuckleballer walked one and struck out eight.
Mike Thomas also pitched for the Lookouts in game two. He faced only one batter in the sixth and retire him before turning things over to Marinez.
Johnson allowed just one run over five plus innings and struck out five. He gave up a solo home run to the league’s home run leader Scott Schebler in the third, but that would be his only run allowed on the day.
The series and regular season conclues for both teams on Monday afternoon with the first pitch from AT&T Field in Chattanooga scheduled for 2:15 PM ET.