The Lookouts played 12 innings, scored 11 runs, collected 21 hits and five home runs, but at no point during Thursday night’s contest against the Carolina Mudcats did they hold the lead. Additionally, Alfredo Silverio had a tremendous game, hitting for the cycle with two triples for the Lookouts. Jake Lemmerman even hit an inside-the-park home run, but all was for naught, as the Mudcats came away victors, 12-11.
The Mudcats exploded for five runs in the second inning. Bill Rhinehart led off with a walk and scored on a subsequent Eric Campbell double. The floodgates opened, and Lookouts starting pitcher Chris Withrow proceeded to yield a Yasman Grandal single, two-RBI double by Josh Fellhauer, and RBI singles to Didi Gregorious and Henry Rodriguez.
Despite digging themselves a big hole early on, the Lookouts did not waste much time getting right back into the game. Travis Denker hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the second, while Silverio and Alex Castellanos both slugged out round-trippers in the third inning to put the score at 5-4.
With the Lookouts at their heels, Carolina added a run in the fourth frame on a Rodriguez RBI double and another run in fifth, thanks to a Rhinehart solo shot.
Lemmerman led off the fifth frame with a line drive down the left field line, which due to a funny bounce out of the corner, allowed Lemmerman to wheel around the bases for an inside-the-park home run.
Carolina kept the pedal to the metal in the sixth inning with two more runs on a Rodriguez single.
Down 9-5, the Lookouts had a golden opportunity to jump back into the game in the seventh inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Carolina inserted reliever Chris Mobley into the game to face Corey Smith. Smith worked a full count, and Mobley threw a ball four to allow one runner to score. Matt Wallach then hit a screaming liner, which was snagged by third baseman Miguel Rojas, to end the rally.
The resilient Lookouts kept plugging away in the eighth inning. Elian Herrera hit a pinch-hit homer to lead off the inning to put the score at 9-7. A trio of singles from Silverio, Lemmerman, and Van Slyke resulted in another run for Chattanooga, putting the Lookouts within one run of the seemingly unattainable Carolina run total. Mudcats reliever Tim Hamulack, however, was able to induce a Travis Denker ground out to officially quell the rally.
As if toying with the Lookouts, Carolina added to their lead in the ninth inning on the wings of back-to-back solo shots from Cody Puckett and Rhinehart.
The two insurance runs in the ninth for the Mudcats proved to be critical. In the bottom portion of the ninth, Corey Smith led off with a single and made his way to second on an Herrera walk. Only a double away from a cycle, Alfredo Silverio stepped up to the plate and proceeded to battle with Hamulack. Silverio ultimately won the battle and ripped a liner in the right-center field alley. Both runners scored and Silverio slid into third safely on the play. With the tying run on third with just one out, the Mudcats turned to Brandon Hynick on the mound. Hynick was able to strike out Lemmerman but relinquished a game-tying double to Castellanos to push the game into extra innings.
Carolina finally broke the stalemate in the 12th inning. Neftali Soto led off the inning with a triple off Cole St. Clair. Miguel Rojas followed with a sacrifice fly to deep right field to give the Mudcats a 12-11 lead.
Despite having Van Slyke at third with no outs, the Lookouts were unable to score in the bottom of 12th. Donnie Joseph collected his sixth save for the Mudcats in the process.
With Silverio’s cycle, a lucky fan won Chatt Town Scooter’s season long "Cycle for a Cycle" promotion in which a fan would receive a scooter if a player on the Lookouts hit for the cycle.
The Chattanooga Lookouts and Carolina Mudcats will continue their five-game series at 7:15 P.M., Friday.
Tickets for this game or any other Lookouts home game can be purchased at the Lookouts Box Office at AT&T Field, online at www.lookouts.com, or by calling (423) 267-4849.