The Chattanooga Lookouts outlasted the Birmingham Barons Saturday night, 7-4, their fifth series win on the year.
LHP Packy Naughton made his Lookouts' debut and came away with the the win. Naughton tossed five strong innings, while giving up two earned runs, on six hits, along with fanning four.
Birmingham got on the board early as they nabbed a run on a pair of hits and an error, taking the lead 1-0.
Chattanooga responded, as catcher Chris Okey blasted his fourth home run of the year, as he put the Lookouts back on top 3-1.
The Barons tied it back up at 3-3 on a Luis Alexander Basabe double, scoring a pair.
After that it was all Lookouts, as Ibandel Isabel crushed another home run, his 13th of the year, putting Chattanooga in the driver seat, 5-3. It's been several days since Isabel hasn't homered in a game, and he wasn't going to let the streak end on Saturday.
WIth two outs in the fifth, Isabel took a 1-0 pitch from Barons' starter Blake Battenfield over the wall in right-center field, scoring Taylor Trammell.
It was his 100th career homer and came an inning after he singled on a soft line drive to center.
Isabel has been on an incredible run at the plate hitting a homer in his fifth consecutive game. He is just one homer away from the Southern League record.
"He's just got a powerful swing, man," Chattanooga hitting coach Daryle Ward said to MiLB reporter Shlomo Sprung following the game. "It's pretty impressive to watch. He's just got a good feel for hitting hard line drives in the air. Even when he gets under it a little bit, he's still strong enough to drive the ball out of the ballpark."
Ward said that Isabel was able to improve his swing, thanks to some video work that focused on what kind of position he was in before he got ready to attack the baseball.
"Earlier, he was kind of jumping off of his backside a little bit," Ward said. "Then he was able to stay on his back leg, so that way he could drive through the baseball."
Isabel possesses so much strength, the former Major Leaguer noted, that he can miss-hit the ball and still leave the yard. But there are times the native of the Dominican Republic commits to swinging at a ball before it's thrown, something Ward would like to eliminate.
"As hitters, sometimes you make up your mind that you're gonna swing at this pitch, no matter where it is," he said. "But just to remind him there's no place in the ballpark where he can't hit the ball over the fence, so there's no need for him to panic. He can just see the ball first and then explode on the ball when he gets a good look at it."
Alfredo Rodriguez and Okey both added a pair of insurance runs to secure the win.
Closer Joel Kuhnel came in the eighth inning to lock down the game, earning his sixth save on the year.
Lookouts game highlights (from redsminorleagues.com)
Alfredo Rodriguez went 3-5.
Ibandel Isabel went 2-4 with a 2-run home run (13).
Mitch Nay went 1-4 with a triple.
Brantley Bell went 2-4 with a steal and 2 runs scored.
Gavin LaValley went 0-2 with 2 walks and a run scored.
Chris Okey went 1-4 with a home run (4) and 4 RBI.
Michael Beltre went 1-3 with a walk.
Packy Naughton allowed 2 earned in 5.0 innings with 2 walks and 4 strikeouts.
Aaron Fossas allowed a run in 2.2 innings with 3 strikeouts.
Joel Kuhnel threw 1.1 shutout innings with a strikeout.
Sunday, the Lookouts celebrate Memorial Day with RHP Tony Santillan (1-2, 3.50 ERA) taking the ball in the series finale against Barons southpaw Kodi Medeiros (0-6, 6.68 ERA).
Game time is set for 6:15 p.m.