Mississippi Braves infielder Luis Valenzuela blasted two home runs on Monday night, including his first career grand slam as the M-Braves smashed the Chattanooga Lookouts 13-4 in the series opener at AT&T Field.
The offensive outburst occurred after both teams were held without a hit through the first three innings.
Mississippi (4-5) began a string of scoring in five consecutive innings in the fourth by sending nine batters to the plate.
Drew Waters started the rally by dropping in a single to left and advanced to second on a fielding error by Taylor Trammell. Cristian Pache singled placing runners at the corners and Alejandro Salazar brought home Waters with another single. Chattanooga starter Jordan Johnson (L, 0-1) recorded the first two outs but walked Jonathan Morales to load the bases. Valenzuela drilled a 2-2 pitch over the wall in right field pushing the lead to 5-0.
Up 5-1 after four innings, the M-Braves plated two more runs in the fifth inning with two outs. Morales singled home C.J. Alexander and Salazar to make it 7-1. Taylor Trammell went 1-3 with a walk, run scored, and he had an RBI.
Alfredo Rodriguez went 1-3 with a walk and a run scored.
Luis Gonzalez went 1-3, was hit by a pitch, and he scored a run.
Valenzuela hit his second home run in consecutive at-bats, blasting a solo shot to right-center in the sixth inning. Connor Lien followed with a triple and scored a wild pitch to up the lead to 9-1.
The scoring frenzy continued in the seventh when Pache and Alexander drew bases-loaded walks to run the deficit to ten at 11-1.
M-Braves starter Joey Wentz came one out shy from being eligible for a victory on Monday, tossing 4.2 innings on 82 pitches. The 21-year-old walked just one and struck out seven, yielding just one earned run. Mike Mader (W, 1-2) relieved Wentz and retired the first four batters he faced, before running into trouble in the seventh. The lefty walked three and hit a batter, giving up three runs and seeing Chattanooga (4-5) trim the lead to 11-4.
With a runner on and two outs in the eighth, Lien hit his first home run of 2019 into the seats in right-field extending Mississippi's edge to nine runs at 13-4.
The 3 hour, 24-minute contest saw a combined nine pitchers used, 14 walks, 20 strikeouts and 16 runners left on base. The announced attendance at the game was 2,695.
In game two of the series, Lookouts' veteran RHP Rob Wooten
will face M-Braves LHP Tucker Davidson .
First pitch is set for 7:15 pm with coverage beginning at 7:00 pm on 88.1 FM.