Chattanooga third baseman C.J. Retherford blasted two solo home runs and reliever Wes Roemer fired four solid innings of relief, while Pensacola shortstop Billy Hamilton swiped two more bases, as the Lookouts topped the Blue Wahoos 4-2 in front of a capacity crowd of 5,038 on Friday night at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.
The Lookouts now lead Birmingham and Huntsville by 3.0 games in the SL North Division's second-half race.
Retherford collected his solo shots in the second and seventh frames, with his second home run turning out to be the game-winning hit. The Florida native has now totaled three homers at the Double-A level after blasting 20 with High-A Rancho Cucamonga prior to his promotion. The 26-year-old also collected two multi-homer efforts with the Rancho Cucamonga earlier this season.
The Lookouts struck first in the opening frame, with Rafael Ynoa starting off the contest with a walk and stealing second prior to being sent in on an RBI triple from Nick Buss. Pensacola would then answer in the bottom of the frame with two scores to grab a 2-1 advantage.
Hamilton drew a free pass and then stole second and third, while Ryan LaMarre was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Donald Lutz then drew a bases-loaded walk to plate Hamilton before LaMarre scored later on a fielder's choice. Chattanooga however, would draw the contest even at 2-2 courtesy of Retherford's first homer of the evening.
With Hamilton's two steals, the speedster is now just ten away from tying Vince Coleman's single-season Minor League record of 145, which he set in 1983. Including tonight, the 21-year-old has already stolen 18 bases in just ten games in the month of August.
The Lookouts would add an additional insurance run in the eighth for their final tally. Luis Nunez walked and then moved to third on a two-base error, before coming home when Blake Smith reached on the second Blue Wahoos fielding miscue of the inning.
Chattanooga reliever Wes Roemer earned the victory after yielding just four hits while striking out five in four shutout innings, while LHP Steven Rodriguez shut the door in the ninth for his first save of the year. Pensacola starter Kyle Lotzkar did not factor in the decision despite allowing just two earned runs on four hits in his six innings of work, while RHP Josh Ravin suffered the loss for the Blue Wahoos.
Play-by-Play of the game.
With the Blue Wahoos leading the series 2-1, the two teams are scheduled to square off again Saturday night, with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m..
Pensacola is slated to give the nod to RHP Daniel Corcino, while Chattanooga is expected to counter with RHP Zach Lee.