Tag Archives: Chattanooga Lookouts

Suns Drop Season-High Seventh Straight

 

First baseman Luis Nunez(above)drove in a pair of runs to lead the Lookouts past the Suns 3-2 at AT&T Field in Chattanooga August 18, 2012. The Lookouts completed the five-game sweep, outscoring the Suns 24-13. Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Lookouts

By Steve Kolbe

The Suns were swept in a series for the first time this season, falling 3-2 to the Lookouts on Saturday night at AT&T Field in Chattanooga.  The Lookouts won 12 of the 15 games against the Suns during the season.
 
The Suns took the lead in the sixth inning when Jake Jefferies walked with the bases loaded to force in a run and put Jacksonville up 1-0.  Danny Pertusati then grounded into a double play, with Ben Lasater scoring from third base to increase the lead to 2-0.
 
Jose Alvarez allowed just three hits in the first six innings.  The Lookouts collected four hits in the seventh and scored three times to jump in front 3-2.  Luis Nunez provided the big hit with a two-run home run.
 
The Suns loaded the bases in the top of the ninth with no outs, but were unable to score against reliever Steven Rodriguez.  Kyle Skipworth and Chris Gutierrez struck out, and Zack Cox grounded out to end the game.  The Suns have lost a season-high seven straight games.
 
Jacksonville opens a five-game series against the Birmingham Barons on Sunday at the Baseball Grounds, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:05 PM.

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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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Suns Slip Past Lookouts 4-3

The Jacksonville Suns won the series finale over the Lookouts 4-3 at AT&T Field May 27, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Lookouts

  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.
  
 
 
 

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Skipworth Hits For Cycle; Suns Win Slugfest 13-10

Jacksonville Suns catcher Kyle Skipworth hit for the cycle including a grand slam against the Chattanooga Lookouts May 26, 2012 at AT&T Field. Photo Courtesy: MiLB.com

By Steve Kolbe 

Suns catcher Kyle Skipworth hit for the cycle to lead the Suns past the Lookouts 13-10 in a slugfest at AT&T Field in Chattanooga on Saturday night.  The win snapped the Suns four game slide, and also ended Chattanooga’s six game win streak.
 
The scheduled starter for the Lookouts Nathan Eovaldi didn’t take the mound as expected.  Instead, right-hander Luis Vasquez was pressed into service and started a game for the first time this season.  The Suns  came out swinging against Vasquez and sent nine men to the plate in the first inning. 
 
Leadoff man Danny Black doubled to right field to start the game, and Jake Smolinski drove in Black with a RBI single  to put the Suns in front 1-0 before many fans had even taken their seats.  With two outs, Kyle Skipworth hit a ground rule double to put runners on second and third and bring Kyle Jensen to the plate.  Jensen capped the inning by smashing his sixth home run of the season, a three-run blast to right-center field for a 4-0 Suns advantage.  The Suns improved their record to 11-2 when scoring a run in the first inning.  Jensen and Skipworth share the team lead with six round-tippers each.
 
In the second, Jacksonville added another run when Danny Black led off for the second straight inning, this time reaching base on an error by the pitcher.  After Paul Gran bunted his way on and Jake Smolinski was hit by a pitch, the bases were loaded with no outs.  Shawn Bowman then grounded into a force out, with Black thrown out at the plate.  With one out, Kyle Skipworth’s hit a sacrifice fly to right field with Gran tagging from third to increase the lead to 5-0.
 
The Lookouts scored their first run of the night against Suns starter Matthew Neil in the home half of the second, when Travis Denker led off the inning with his third home run of the season to cut the lead to 5-1.  The Lookouts have hit 10 home runs this season against the Suns, their most against any club.
 
Having just arrived at the ballpark prior to the game, reliever Eammon Portice took over on the hill for Vasquez in the third, and had similar results.  The Suns scored to make it 6-1 when Matthew Neil walked with two outs, and Danny Black drove him in with a single to right field.  Black reached base in each of the first three innings.
 
In the fourth, Jake Smolinski walked to lead off the inning, and Shawn Bowman singled behind him.  With two on and no outs, Skipworth drove in his second run of the night with a single.  Later in the inning, Russell Mitchell drove in his tenth run of the year, with Bowman coming in to score on a ground out and the Suns had built an 8-1 advantage.
 
The Lookouts came to life in the bottom of the fourth against Neil.  Singles by Travis Denker and Brahiam Maldonado, and a walk to Pedro Baez loaded the bases with one out.  Jake Lemmerman then drove in the first run of the inning, when Bowman committed an error on a grounder hit in his direction with Baez scoring to make the score 8-2 Suns.  Matt Wallach brought the Lookouts closer with a base-clearing double into the right field corner, and at the end of four innings Jacksonville led 8-5.
 
Before the fifth inning began, the Lookouts made a call to the bullpen and summoned another newcomer, Bret Montgomery.  After striking out the first batter of the inning, five straight Suns hitters would reach base against Montgomery.  Danny Black hit his second double of the night, Paul Gran scratched out an infield single, and Jake Smolinski drove in Black with a single.  With the score 9-5 Suns, Shawn Bowman walked on four pitches to load the bases and set the stage for Kyle Skipworth.  With one mighty swing, Skipworth sent the ball sailing high into the Chattanooga night and over the right field fence for the Suns first grand slam of the season.  By the end of the inning, the Suns had scored five runs on four hits to expand the lead to 13-5.  Jacksonville scored runs in each of the first five innings in the game.  During their four game losing streak, the Suns had plated a total of only nine runs.
 
Chattanooga chipped away by scoring three runs in the bottom half of the fifth.  Luis Nunez singled to lead off the inning, and scored on Travis Denker’s double to straightaway center.  The inning was highlighted by a no-doubt-about-it two-run home run to left field off the bat of Pedro Baez, and the score was 13-8.  Baez has hit a two-run homer in two straight games, and he now has 26 runs batted in.  Suns relief pitcher Zach Neal took over for Matthew Neil and struck out Jake Lemmerman for the final out of the inning.
 
The Lookouts didn’t go away quietly, and scored two more runs in the seventh.  J.T. Wise single to left, and Denker doubled behind him.  Baez cashed in a run with a ground out with Wise scoring and Denker moving to third on the play.  With two outs, Lemmerman singled to drive in Denker to cut the lead to 13-10, but that’s as close as Chattanooga would get. 
 
The 13 runs are the most that the Suns have scored in a game this season.  In the first eight games of the season series against the Lookouts, Jacksonville had scored a total of 26 runs. 
 
During the 2011 campaign the Suns hit four grand slams, third-most in the Southern League.  Alex Romero, Luke Montz, Kevin Mattison, and Jake Smolinski each hit one.
 
For the Suns, Kyle Skipworth finished 4-for-4 and hit for the cycle.  He doubled in the first, singled in the third, hit his grand slam in the fifth, and tripled in the seventh.  Skipworth drove in six runs and scored twice.  Danny Black went 3-for-6, drove in a run, and scored two others.  Jake Smolinski was 2-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored.  Paul Gran had two hits and scored twice. 
 
For the Lookouts, Travis Denker went 4-for-5 with two doubles and a home run.  He drove in two runs and scored four times.  Nick Buss, Brahiam Maldonado, and Matt Wallach each finished with two hits in the losing cause.
 
Matthew Neil pitched four and two-thirds innings in his second start for the Suns.  He allowed eight runs on 10 hits and did not figure in the decision.  Zach Neal tossed two and a-third innings to earn his third win of the season.  Evan Reed struck out two of the three batters he faced in a flawless ninth to record his ninth save. 
 
In the spot start, Luis Vasquez allowed five runs on five hits in the first two innings to fall to 1-2.  The Suns are 2-7 this season against the Lookouts, with both of the wins coming against Vasquez.  The 13 runs are the most that the Lookouts have surrendered in a game this season.
 
The series finale is set for Sunday night from AT&T Field with the first pitch scheduled for 6:15 p.m.  The Suns will send RHP Omar Poveda (3-2, 4.54) to the mound for his ninth start of the season.  Jacksonville will try to hand RHP Ethan Martin (5-0, 3.28) his first loss of the year.  Martin is one of only two starting pitchers in the Southern League with a perfect record.

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Suns Fall Short In Extra Innings

Lookouts right fielder Blake Smith hit a solo home run in the third inning off of Suns starter Graham Taylor. Smith leads Chattanooga with seven home runs and 28 runs batted in. Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Lookouts

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns struck out a season-high 17 times and ended up on the wrong side of a 14-inning affair on Friday night, with the Lookouts winning 5-4 at AT&T Field in Chattanooga.  The Suns lost in extra innings for the first time this season and are now 2-1 when working overtime, with all three of the games on the road.  The Lookouts have gone into extra innings five times in their last 11 games.  Chattanooga is now 3-3 in extra-inning games this season. 

The Suns scored the first run of the game in the second inning against Lookouts starter Chris Withrow, when Shawn Bowman walked to lead off the inning and later scored on a single by Russell Mitchell to give Jacksonville a 1-0 advantage.  Mitchell has driven in nine runs this season. 

The Lookouts used the long ball to take the lead in the bottom half of the second against Suns starter Graham Taylor. After Brahiam Maldonado led off the home half of the inning with a single, Pedro Baez smashed his second home run of the season over the left field fence, a two-run blast that put the Lookouts in front 2-1. 

In the third inning, the Lookouts flexed their muscle again when Blake Smith hit a solo home run to right field off of Taylor to increase the lead to 3-1.  Taylor has given up a team-high seven home runs this season. 

Jacksonville cut into the lead in the fourth when Shawn Bowman led off inning by reaching base again, this time with a single.  Playing in his second straight game, catcher Jake Jefferies drove in Bowman with his second double of the year, and the Suns trailed 3-2.  

In the fifth, the Suns reclaimed the lead when Paul Gran walked, and Jake Smolinski reached on an error by shortstop Jake Lemmerman.  With two on and one out, Bowman continued his strong night at the plate when he doubled into the gap in right-center field, with Gran scoring from second and Smolinski hustling around from first  to give the Suns a 4-3 edge.  That would be the last run of the night.  After scoring four runs on four hits in the first five innings, the Suns had just three hits in the games final nine innings. 

In the home half of the seventh, Rafael Ynoa led off the inning with his first triple of the season.  He wasn’t on base for long, with Nick Buss driving him in with a single on a two strike pitch to tie the game 4-4.  Ynoa would later leave the game after he was injured on a head first slide into first base. 

In the fourteenth inning, lead off hitter Nick Buss was hit by a Josh Schmidt pitch and Luis Nunez singled to left.  After a ground out by J.T. Wise, the Suns walked Blake Smith intentionally to load the bases and take their chances with the pitcher, Blake Johnson.   With Chattanooga out of position players, Johnson was forced to grab a bat and take a trip to the plate.  With the Suns infield in, Johnson helped his own cause with his first hit of the season, sending a grounder back up the middle for the game-winning RBI to give the Lookouts a 5-4 victory.  In the series Lookouts pitchers have five hits against the Suns, with at least one hit in every game. 

This season, 20 of Jacksonville’s first 48 games have been decided by a single run, with the Suns 10-10 in those games.  The Suns won eight of their first 12 one-run games this year, but have won just two of the last eight games decided by the smallest of margins.  

Suns starter Graham Taylor took the mound at 7:20 p.m. for his tenth start of the season.  He allowed four runs on 10 hits over six innings and was long gone when the game ended four hours and nine minutes later.  Relievers Kyle Kaminska, A.J. Ramos, and Bobby Bramhall combined to pitch seven scoreless innings.  Josh Schmidt allowed two hits and the game-winning run the 14th inning to fall to 1-3 on the season. 

Chris Withrow started the game for the Lookouts, and allowed four runs on four hits over five innings.  Before the night was over, Lookouts manager Carlos Subero had made six calls to the bullpen.  In the end, Blake Johnson pitched two hitless innings to earn the win and improve to 2-3.    Both teams combined to use a dozen pitchers.  For the Lookouts, only Luis Vasquez and Allen Webster were left in the bullpen at the end of the night.  Zach Neal, Wade Korpi, and Evan Reed were the only Suns hurlers not to have their names called. 

Jacksonville hitters struck out a season-high 17 times on Friday.  In five of the last eight games, Suns batters have struck out at least 11 times.   Shawn Bowman went 3-for-4, drove in two of the Suns four runs and scored twice.  Jake Jefferies, Russell Mitchell, Danny Black, and Paul Gran each had one hit. 

The Lookouts tied a season-high with 16 hits with 11 players with at least one hit on the night.  Pedro Baez, Luis Nunez, Blake Smith, Jake Lemmerman, and Chris Withrow each finished with two hits apiece. 

Chattanooga has taken the first three games of the series, and won a season-high six straight games.  For the second time in the series the Suns scored the first run but ended up on the losing end.  Jacksonville is now 17-4 this season when scoring the first run of the game.  The Suns have been outscored 19-9 during their four game losing streak, and overall the Suns have just five wins in 21 games and have fallen into fifth place in the South Division.  The Lookouts increased their season-high winning streak to six games. 

Game four of the series is Saturday night with the first pitch slated for 7:15 p.m. from AT&T field in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  RHP Matthew Neil (0-0, 3.60) will make his second start of the season for the Suns.  Neil made his double-A debut May 20 against Pensacola, allowing two runs on five hits over five innings and did not figure in the decision.  The Lookouts will send RHP Nathon Eovaldi (2-2, 3.18) to the mound for his ninth start of the season.

 

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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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Suns Edge Lookouts 7-6 In Series Finale

Suns catcher Kyle Skipworth greeted after his first home run of the season. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns used a five run seventh inning to get past Chattanooga 7-6 in the final game of their season-opening 10 game home stand.
 
The Suns started quickly when Jake Smolinski led off the game with a double into the left field corner.  He swung at the first pitch from Lookouts starter Nathan Eovaldi, who has the best fastball in the Dodgers organization.  Smolinski scored the game’s first run on a ground out by Kyle Jensen and the Suns led 1-0.  It was the third time in the series that the Suns scored the first run.
 
The Lookouts took the lead in the top of the third when Brian Cavazos-Galvez hit his first home run of the season off of Suns starter Omar Poveda.  A two-run blast into the flag court to give Chattanooga a 2-1 lead.  Kyle Skipworth tied the score in the home half of the fourth when he hit his first home run of the season.  A blast that landed in the last row of seats in the right field stands.  Skipworth had 11 home runs last season.
 
With the score tied 2-2, Cavazos-Galvez came through again for the Lookouts, this time an RBI double in the fifth to put Chattanooga back in front.  It was his first double of the season.  Cavasoz-Galvez continued his big night in the seventh when he hit his second home run of the game to increase the Lookouts lead to 4-2. 
He finished the night 4-for-5 with four runs batted in and scored three runs. 
 
In the seventh inning, the Suns took the lead for good when relief pitcher Luis Vasquez gave up six hits and five runs.  The big hit in the inning came off the bat of Shawn Bowman, a bases-clearing double that plated three runs.  Kyle Skipworth and Curt Smith also chipped in with RBI singles.
 
The Lookouts scored single runs in both the seventh and ninth innings, but left the bases loaded in the ninth when Suns closer Evan Reed retired Luis Nunez on a ground out.  The winning pitcher was Kyle Kaminska.  He went four innings, allowing five hits and two runs.  Reed earned his third save of the season.
 
The Suns travel to Pensacola starting Sunday to face the Blue Wahoos in a five game series in the first-ever meeting between the two teams.  It marks the first road trip of the season for Jacksonville.  During the 2011 season, the Suns won 36 games on the road, fourth-most in the Southern League.

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