Travis Denker hit a homer, scored two runs, and played stellar defense to lead the Lookouts to a closely-contested 4-3 win over the Tennessee Smokies in Thursday night action at AT&T Field.
The Lookouts trail the division leading Jackson Generals by 1/2 game.
Chattanooga took the early lead by plating three runs in the bottom of the second inning. Denker led off the inning with a solo shot to account for the first run of the inning. Blake Smith and Anthony Jackson followed with singles. Jake Lemmerman then ripped a bullet to center fielder Jae-Hoon Ha, who originally misplayed the ball but then made an acrobatic catch. Smith was able to advance to third on the play. Lookouts starting pitcher Aaron Miller, who is hitting over .300, came through with a double down the left-field line to score both runners.
Tennessee cut the lead to a run with two runs in the fourth inning. Ha led off the rally with a single and was followed by a Justin Bour double to put both runners into scoring position. Juan Apodaca then nailed a double to easily score both runners. Despite eventually loading the bases, the Smokies could not muster another run in the inning.
Smokies starting pitcher Eric Jokisch (5-2) was replaced by reliever Casey Weathers in the sixth inning. After recording a quick out, Weathers struggled with his control and proceeded to walk the next three batters he faced. Lemmerman hit into a run-resulting ground out in which he barely avoided a double play, but the Lookouts were unable to do further damage.
The Smokies mounted another rally in the seventh. Nate Samson set the table with a walk and advanced to second on a subsequent Junior Lake bunt single. Logan Watkins then singled to center, scoring Samson, but Lake was thrown out at third by center fielder Anthony Jackson on the play. A Red Patterson wild pitch and walk to Ha put runners on the corners with one out still on the board. Luis Vasquez then entered the game out of the Lookouts bullpen and struck out the next two batters to quell the Tennessee rally.
Steven Ames pitched a perfect ninth to shut the door on the Smokies, earning his 11th save of the season in the process.
Javier Solano (3-0), who pitched 2.1 innings in relief of Miller, was credited with the win.
Inning by inning Recap of the game.
The Lookouts and Smokies will continue their four-game series at 7:15 P.M., Friday. Another exciting fireworks show follows the game.
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.