Tag Archives: Blake Smith

Buss Takes Lookouts To 11th Inning Win

By Steve Kolbe

It hasn’t happened often, but Suns closer A.J. Ramos was unable to lock down a win for Jacksonville on Friday night at AT&T Field, with the Chattanooga Lookouts scoring the game-tying run in the 10th inning, and an inning later winning in walk-off fashion when left fielder Nick Buss hit a three run home run for a 6-3 victory.   All eight of the Suns extra inning games this season have been played on the road, with Jacksonville 4-4 in those games. 

The Lookouts have won the first four games of the series by a combined count of 25-11.  The Suns are just 3-11 against the Lookouts this season, and have won just two of the nine games played in the Volunteer State.   

Jacksonville dented the scoreboard first on Friday against Lookouts starter Zack Lee.  Kyle Jensen belted a solo home run to right field in the top of the second inning to put the Suns in front 1-0.  Jensen leads the Suns, and is tied for third in the Southern League with 18 round trippers this season.  Four of his 18 homers have come at the expense of Lookouts pitching.
 
The Lookouts responded in the home half of the second against Suns lefty Brian Flynn.  With one out, Luis Nunez singled to start the rally. Brahiam Maldonado followed with a double to the gap in left-center field, with the speedy Nunez scoring all the way from first base to tie the game 1-1.
 
In the fourth inning the Lookouts put together a two-out rally against Flynn.  After J.T. Wise and Blake Smith struck out, Chattanooga collected three straight singles.  Nunez again record the first hit in the inning, and Maldonado singled to put runners on first and third.  C.J Retherford then sent a pop up into shallow right field that fell just out of the reach of Suns second baseman Paul Gran, with Nunez coasting home on the bloop single to give the Lookouts a 2-1 edge. 
 
With the game in the hands of both bullpens, the Suns faced three Lookouts pitchers in the eighth inning.  Paco Rodriguez gave up back-to-back singles to Ben Lasater and Kyle Skipworth to start the eighth.  Rodriguez then turned the game over to Chris Withrow, who struck out Kyle Jensen, but then walked Danny Pertusati on four pitches to load the bases.  On a delivery to Paul Gran, Withrow’s pitch went all the way to the backstop with Lasater hustling home on the pass ball to even the score 2-2.  Withrow suffered an injury on the pitch and was forced to leave the game. 
 
With Lookouts closer Steven Ames on the mound in the 10th inning, Danny Pertusati tripled to straight-away center.  Donnie Webb followed with an infield single with Pertusati crossing the plate to give the Suns a 3-2 edge.  
 
With the lead, and looking to snap their losing skid, Jacksonville summoned A.J. Ramos from the bullpen.  Rafael Ynoa grounded out to first, and Jake Lemmerman went down on strikes.  With two outs in the bottom of the 10th, J.T. Wise hit his fourth double of the series to keep the Lookouts hopes alive.  
 
Blake Smith came to the plate and fell behind in the count 0-2.  That normally means lights out with Ramos on the mound, but with the Lookouts down to their last strike, Smith doubled to right field with Wise scoring the equalizer.  It’s just the fourth time this season that Ramos has failed to lock  down a save in 21 opportunities.
 
Things went from bad to worse in the bottom of the eleventh inning.   After singles by Aaron Miller and Griff Erickson, Nick Buss stepped in and smashed his sixth home run of the season over the right field wall to hand the Lookouts a walk-off 6-3 win.  Ramos has allowed just two home runs in 61 innings of work this season.  Ramos gave up the long ball for the first time since May 2nd, when Birmingham Barons first baseman Andy Wilkins hit a two-run homer against him. 
 
Zack Cox went 3-for-6 with three singles.  Kyle Jensen and Danny Pertusati each collected two hits.   Suns batters struck out 11 times in the game, and have gone down on strikes 48 times in the series.  Luis Nunez finished the night 3-for-5 and scored two runs for the Lookouts.  Rafael Ynoa, Griff Erickson, and Brahiam Maldonado each were 2-for-5. 
 
The Lookouts have found their way to the win column in six of last seven games, and improved to 18-11 at home in the second half.  The Suns fell to 9-15 on the road, and have lost a season-high five straight road games.  Jacksonville’s six-game overall losing streak is the longest by the club since a six-game slid May 6th-11th, when the Suns were outscored 26-3 and shutout three times. 
 
Suns starter Brian Flynn allowed two runs on seven hits, and struck out four without walking a batter in five innings.  Lookouts starter Zach Lee also lasted five innings, giving up a run on six hits.  A.J. Ramos (3-2) allowed four runs, all earned, on five hits over two innings in the loss.  Ramos had allowed just five earned runs all season entering the game.  Steven Ames (2-3) tossed two innings for the Lookouts in the win.
 
The Suns will try to salvage the series finale on Saturday with the first pitch slated for 7:15 PM from AT&T Field in Chattanooga.  LHP Jose Alvarez (5-7, 4.10) will start his 22nd game of the season for Jacksonville.  RHP Andres Santiago (0-0, 3.60) is set to start his first game of the season for Chattanooga.  The Suns havn’t been swept in a series this season.
 
 
 

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Suns Fall 6-1; Lose Fifth Straight

 

Lookouts third baseman Luis Nunez(above)finished with three hits and drove in a run for Chattanooga in a 6-1 win over the Jacksonville Suns at AT&T Field August 16, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Lookouts

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns lost for the fifth straight game, falling 6-1 to the Lookouts on Thursday night at AT&T Field in Chattanooga.  The Lookouts have outscored the Suns 19-8 in the first three games of the series.   Jacksonville has allowed five runs or more in six of the last seven games.
 
The Suns found the scoreboard first in the third inning with a two-out rally against Lookouts starter Allen Webster.  Chris Gutierrez doubled to right-center field, and Zack Cox reached base on an error by third baseman Luis Nunez with Gutierrez moving to third.  Ben Lasater delivered with a RBI single to left field, with Gutierrez hustling home to put the Suns in front 1-0.  Gutierrez leads the Suns with 22 doubles this season.  The Suns fell to 46-20 when scoring the first run of the game.
 
After getting runners to second and third in each of the first two innings and leaving them on base, the Lookouts broke through in the home half of the third against Suns starter Bryan Evans.  The first four batters of the inning each collected a hit, with Nick Buss and J.T. Wise starting the rally with singles.  They weren’t on base long, with Blake Smith swinging at the first pitch he saw from Evans and sending a triple into the gap in left-center, with Buss scoring from second and Wise scoring all the way from first to give the Lookouts a 2-1 lead.  Luis Nunez then singled to drive in Smith from third base to make the score 3-1.  Nunez would be the last batter that Evans would face in the game after throwing 63 pitches in just two innings, and only 29 of his pitches were strikes.
 
The Lookouts doubled their lead in the sixth against Suns reliever James Leverton.  Bobby Coyle singled, went to second on a sacrifice bunt, and advanced to third on a ground out.  With two outs, Rafael Ynoa drove in Coyle with a single to left field to make pad the lead to 4-1.  After a  walk to Nick Buss put runners on first and second, J.T. Wise hit a base-clearing double to the gap in left-center to increase the Lookouts lead to 6-1.  Ynoa has five hits, two RBI’s, and three runs scored in the series.  Wise has six hits in the series, and has driven in seven runs in the last two games.
 
Jacksonville had three hits in the first three innings, and then just three hits the rest of the game.  The Suns have been outscored 35-21 during their five-game losing streak, and have fallen four games back in the South Division.  Chattanooga has won three in a row and five of the last six to climb to the top of the North Division.
 
The top five in the Lookouts batting order were a combined 11-for-21 with six RBI’s and five runs scored.  J.T. Wise and Luis Nunez combined for half of the Lookouts 12 hits with  three each.  Wise has three doubles and a home run in the last two games.  Rafael Ynoa and Blake Smith both went 2-for-4.  Paul Gran went 2-for-4 for the Suns. 
 
The Lookouts hit five doubles, the most the Suns have allowed in a game since April 27th against Pensacola.  The Suns are 5-for-23 and the Lookouts are 9-for-38 with runners in scoring position in the first three games of the series.
 
Bryan Evans (5-7) allowed three runs on five hits and struggled with his control in a season-low two innings of work.  He started off only one of the 14 batters he faced in the game with a strike.  Allen Webster (6-8) allowed one unearned run on five hits in 5.1 innings for the win.  He hasn’t suffered a lost in his last eight starts going back to July 2nd.  The Lookouts bullpen combined to pitch 3.2 hitless innings.  Scott Elbert, in Chattanooga on a rehab assignment from the Dodgers, struck out the side in the eighth and has fanned all five batters he has faced in the series. 
 
Game four of the series is Friday night with the first pitch scheduled for 7:15 PM from AT&T Field in Chattanooga.  LHP Brian Flynn (2-0, 3.42) will take the mound for the Suns.  RHP Zach Lee (1-3, 6.05) will start for the Lookouts.
 
 

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Lookouts Fast Start Sinks Suns

 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.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Matt Magill Shuts Down Suns

 

Matt Magill(above) allowed just two singles and struck out 11 over seven innings of work in the Lookouts 4-1 win over the Jacksonville Suns at AT&T Field. Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Lookouts

 By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns scored a run in the ninth to avoid begin shutout for the 11th time this season, but fell 4-1 to the Lookouts in the first of a five game series at AT&T Field in Chattanooga.  The Suns are 3-8 against the Lookouts this season.  Since a five-game sweep against the Montgomery Biscuits, the Suns have lost three straight and four of their last five.  The Suns fell into a second place tie with Pensacola, two games behind the first place Biscuits.
 
Suns starter Matthew Neil and Lookouts starter Matt Magill kept the game scoreless for the first six innings, with Neil allowing just four hits and Magill touched for only two singles.  Chattanooga took the lead in the bottom of the seventh with an unearned run.  Luis Nunez led off with a double and scored on a throwing error by Suns first baseman Ben Lasater to put the Lookouts up 1-0.  Lasater fielded Jake Lemmerman’s sacrifice bunt, and when he tried to throw out Nunez at third, the ball sailed into left field.   Jacksonville fell to 15-42 when giving up the first run of the game.
 
The Lookouts added insurance in the bottom of the eighth against Suns reliever Mike Ojala.  The first four batters of the inning each had a hit, starting with J.T. Wise, who led off the inning with his 31st double of the season.  After a single by Blake Smith put runners on first and third, Brahiam Maldonado singled with Wise coasting home to increase the Lookouts lead to 2-0.  Luis Nunez then doubled down the left field line, with Smith coming around to score to make the score 3-0.  Jake Lemmerman tacked on the Lookouts last run with a sacrifice fly, with Maldonado touching the plate and the Lookouts were in command 4-0.
 
Lookouts starter Matt Magill was untouchable, retiring 14 straight Suns batters after Jake Smolinski singled in the third inning.  The Suns scored their lone run in the top of the ninth against Lookouts reliever Chris Withrow.  After walks to Chris Gutierrez and Ben Lasater, Kyle Skipworth drove in his 51st run of the season with a two-out single to center. 
 
Luis Nunez and Blake Smith each finished 2-for-4 for the Lookouts, with Nunez hitting a pair of doubles.  Kyle Skipworth finished with two of the Suns three singles.  Ben Lasater reached base twice with walks.  Chris Gutierrez with a walk, and Jake Smolinski with a single were the only other Suns players to reach base.  The Suns had just four base runners in the first eight innings. 
 
The Suns struck out 16 times in the game, one shy of their season-high of 17 set on May 2nd at Birmingham.  Nine of the 10 Suns players with a plate appearance struck out at least once.  Ben Lasater was the only player that didn’t go down on strikes in the game.
 
Matthew Neil (2-7) allowed one unearned run on five hits in the loss.  Matt Magill (10-6) surrendered just two singles over his seven innings in the win.  Magill stuck out 11 Suns batters, one shy of his season high, to increase his league-leading total to 147 strikeouts.  Magill’s 10 wins are the third-most in the Southern League, with Nicklas Struck of Tennessee leading with 13 wins, and Huntsville’s Josh Stinson second with 11 victories.  Chris Withrow earned his second save of the season. 
 
The Suns will look to get even in the series on Wednesday, with the first pitch slated for 7:15 PM from AT&T Field in Chattanooga.  LHP Graham Taylor (7-9, 3.86) takes the hill for the Suns.  LHP Aaron Miller (5-6, 4.26) will start for the Lookouts.
 
 

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Lookouts Handle Suns 4-1

Lookouts starting pitcher Matt Magill allowed just two hits and struck out ten batters over seven innings to improve his record to 4-2. Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Lookouts

 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.
 

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