By Steve Kolbe
Chattanooga Lookouts starting pitcher Matt Magill was nearly untouchable, allowing just two hits over seven innings as the Lookouts topped the Suns 4-1 at AT&T Field on Thursday night.
Magill retired the first nine Suns batters he faced in the game, four by strike out. The only two hits he allowed were doubles to Jeff Dominguez in the fourth inning and Shawn Bowman in the fifth. The Lookouts scored their first run of the night in the second inning, when Blake Smith drew a leadoff walk from Suns starter Bryan Evans. With one out, Brahiam Maldonado doubled off the wall in left field with Smith scoring to put Chattanooga in front 1-0. The walk to Smith was the first issued by Evans in his last three starts.
In the seventh, Evans again walked Smith to lead off the inning and then hit Travis Denker with a 3-2 pitch. With two on and no one out, the Suns made the call to the bullpen. Corey Madden came into the game to face Brahiam Maldonado, who has been one of the best hitters in the series so far for the Lookouts. Maldonado hit a ball high off the left field wall that was initially ruled a home run. After a lengthy discussion by the umpiring crew, Maldonado was given a double. Smith and Denker scored on the play to increase the Lookouts lead to 3-0. Maldonado has driven in five of the Lookouts 10 runs in the series. Chattanooga tacked on another run to make it 4-0, when Griff Erickson singled to center field with Maldonado crossing the plate.
The Suns lone run of the game came against reliever Allen Webster in the eighth inning. Jake Jefferies led off with a single, and scored when Donnie Webb drove in his tenth run of the season with a double off the left field wall.
Matt Magill tossed seven innings allowing just two hits to improve his record to 4-2. He struck out 10 Suns batters and did not issue a walk. Magill has won four of his last five starts since April 24, allowing a total of five runs. Bryan Evans pitched six innings allowing three runs on three hits to fall 0-4 on the season. For the second straight start Evans deserved a better fate. In his last two starts he has gotten just three hits and one run of offensive support while he’s been on the mound.
Jeff Dominguez went 2-for-4, and for the second straight game he finished the night with two doubles. Shawn Bowman, Jake Jefferies, and Donnie Webb were the only other Suns with a hit. Like the Suns, the Lookouts had only five hits in the game with Brahiam Maldonado going 2-for-2 with three runs batted in. Blake Smith walked twice and scored to runs for Chattanooga.
The Suns have been outscored 14-5 during their three-game losing streak. Overall, the Suns have lost 15 of the last 20 games since May 6th to fall to 21-26 on the season. The Lookouts have won five straight games for the first time this year, and Chattanooga is over .500 (24-23) for the first time since beating the Suns April 13 at the Baseball Grounds. On that night, the Lookouts improved to 5-4 in the ninth game of the season. The Lookouts two longest winning streaks this season, four games and five games, have both come at the expense of the Suns.
Game three of the series is Friday night with the first pitch slated for 7:15 p.m. at AT&T Field in Chattanooga. Suns lefty Graham Taylor (2-4, 4.47) will make his tenth start of the season for the Suns. Right-hander Chris Withrow (1-1, 5.52) will take the mound for the Lookouts.