By Steve Kolbe
The Jacksonville Suns took an early lead and won their second straight game, defeating the Chattanooga Lookouts 4-3 in the series finale at AT&T Field on Sunday night.
The Suns started the scoring in the second inning against Lookouts starter Ethan Martin. Kyle Skipworth singled with one out, and then Kyle Jensen walked on four pitches. The Suns took a 1-0 lead when Jeff Dominguez singled to right field with Skipworth crossing the plate, and Jensen advancing to third base on the play. Donnie Webb then drove in Jensen with a sacrifice fly to right field to increase the lead to 2-0.
The Lookouts cut into the Suns lead in the bottom of the third against Suns starter Omar Poveda. Matt Wallach led off the inning with an infield single, and made his way to second on a perfect sacrifice bunt by Lookouts starting pitcher Ethan Martin. Nick Buss then singled to right to put runners on the corners with one out. After a line out by Luis Nunes, it appeared that Poveda was going to wiggle out of the jam. But Poveda’s pickoff attempt to first went in the dirt and past Jeff Dominguez toward the stands, and Matt Wallach huslted home to cut the Suns lead to 2-1.
With a one-run lead and the Suns trying to hand Martin his first lose of the season, the Suns scored two more times in the fifth inning. Jeff Dominguez led off the fifth with a walk on four pitches, and stole second base to put himself in scoring position. Donnie Webb then jumped on a 2-2 pitch for a RBI single to center, with Dominguez scoring to pad the Suns lead to 3-1. Webb advanced to second on the throw to the plate. Omar Poveda helped his cause with a textbook sacrifice bunt to push Webb to third base, and Danny Black’s sacrifice fly drove in Webb for a 4-1 Suns advantage.
The Lookouts added a run in the home half of the fifth inning to get within 4-2. Nick Buss tripled into the gap in right-center field, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Luis Nunez. Buss is second in the league with six triples this season.
In the sixth inning, Blake Smith led off with a single and Poveda issued a free pass to Pedro Baez on four pitches. Poveda found his control to strike out Kyle Russell on three pitches for the first out of the inning. With one out, Jake Lemmerman singled to left with Smith scoring and the Suns lead was down to one, 4-3. The Suns summoned Corey Madden from the bullpen, and he retired the next two batters to end the inning.
Omar Poveda allowed three runs on six hits over five and a-third innings, and struck out a season-high seven batters to improve his record to 4-2. The Suns bullpen shut down the Lookouts, allowing just one hit over three and two-thirds innings of work. Evan Reed pitched the ninth to earn his tenth save of the season.
Jacksonville handed Lookouts starter Ethan Martin his first defeat of the season. Martin and Huntsville’s Tyler Thornburg were the only two remaining starters in the Southern League without a loss. Martin is now 5-1 after allowing four runs on four hits in his six innings.
With tropical storm Beryl bearing down on Jacksonville, the weather could be a factor for the upcoming homestand. The Suns are scheduled to begin a five game series against the first place Mobile BayBears on Monday night.