After a shaky start, the Chattanooga Lookouts (14-25) chipped away slowly at the early lead of the Birmingham Barons (22-18), only to get turned away in late innings for a 6-4 loss.
The Lookouts started the series with Andres Santiago (L, 3-7) on the mound. It was the second inning that gave Santiago trouble, allowing the first three hitters of the inning to reach base. The four-run inning was eventually capped off by a three-run home run by Barons’ first baseman Rangel Ravelo. Santiago settled in well after that, however, and finished his time on the mound without giving up another run through six innings.
It took a while to get the Lookouts on the board, but once they did the runs trickled in. It began when Chris O’Brien led off the bottom of the fifth inning by hitting a ball high off the right field wall. Hustling out of the box, O’Brien made it a stand-up triple and scored on a Bobby Coyle Jr. sacrifice fly.
In the sixth, it was a one-out single by Scott Schebler that turned into a run when Corey Seager lined a double into the gap. O’Brien had the opportunity to lead off again in the seventh inning, garnering a double this time. A Noel Cuevas single scored O’Brien and brought the Lookouts to just one run away from tying the game.
Both Jared Mitchell and Chris Curley of the Barons launched solo home runs in the eighth and ninth innings to put the game out of reach. Coyle gave a pitch a ride out of the park in the bottom of the ninth inning, but it was too little and too late as those insurance runs gave the Barons all the cushion they would need to win. Tony Bucciferro (W, 1-0) of the Barons had the win added to his record in his first career start at the Double-A level.
Friday night’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:15 PM and there will be fireworks immediately following the second game of the series. On the mound for the Lookouts will be right-hander Nick Struck (1-6, 7.15) against Barons’ right-hander Mike Recchia (5-2, 2.88).