By Steve Kolbe
The Chattanooga Lookouts scored all of their runs in the first three innings in a 9-6 win over the Jacksonville Suns on Wednesday at AT&T Field. The Suns have allowed 29 runs during their four-game losing streak.
The Lookouts came out swinging from the start in the first inning against Suns starter Graham Taylor. Rafael Ynoa led off with a single to center, and Jake Lemmerman reached on an error by Suns first baseman Ben Lasater. J.T. Wise then drove in the first run of the night with a sacrifice fly, with Ynoa scoring to put the Lookouts up 1-0. With two outs, Blake Smith belted his 12th home run of the season, a two-run blast to right-center to increase the lead to 3-0.
The Suns dented the scoreboard in the top of the second against Lookouts starter Aaron Miller. After singles by Kyle Skipworth and Alfredo Lopez, Jake Smolinski hit a two-out double down the left field line to cut the lead to 3-2. Smolinski and Chris Gutierrez are tied for the team lead with 21 doubles this season.
Chattanooga sent nine men to the plate in the home half of the second inning and exploded for four more runs to make the score 7-2. Rafael Ynoa drove in a run with a double, and also scored on a throwing error by Suns third baseman Zack Cox. J.T. Wise provided the big hit in the inning when he smashed a two-run home run to left field. The Lookouts scored nine runs on 11 hits in the first three innings.
The Suns countered with four runs of their own in the top of the sixth. After singles by Danny Pertusati and Zach Cox, Kyle Jensen hit his 17th home run of the season and Kyle Skipworth followed with his 17th round tripper of the year, as the Suns hit back-to-back home runs in the inning to cut the lead to 9-6. Jensen has hit four three-run home runs this season. But that’s as close as the Suns would get, managing just one hit in the final three innings.
Kyle Skipworth went 2-for-3 and was the only Suns player with a multi-hit game. The Suns have hit a total of six home runs against the Lookouts this season, with Jensen and Skipworth belting three each. Blake Smith went 3-for-5 with a home run to lead the Lookouts. J.T. Wise was 2-for-4 and drove in five of the Lookouts runs, the most RBI’s by a single player in a game against the Suns this season. Rafael Ynoa, Brahiam Maldonado, Griff Erikson, and C.J. Retherford each had two hits.
Chattanooga improved to 9-3 against Jacksonville this season. The Lookouts finished with 15 hits, one shy of the most allowed by the Suns in a single game during the 2012 campaign.
Graham Taylor (7-10) allowed nine runs on 11 hits in the loss. Aaron Miller (6-6) surrendered six runs on seven hits to win for the first time in his last four starts. Miller has half of his wins at the expense of the Suns, with a record of 3-0. Steven Ames earned his 16th save of the season for the Lookouts.
The middle game of the series is Thursday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:15 PM from AT&T Field in Chattanooga. RHP Bryan Evans (5-6, 4.15) will try to end the Suns four-game slide, while RHP Allen Webster (5-8, 3.83) will start for the Lookouts.