What a difference a day makes.
Less than 24 hours after the Chattanooga Lookouts had season highs with 16 runs and 20 hits, the reality of Southern League baseball came crashing back to earth.
Facing the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in the third of a six-game home stand, the Lookouts scored 14 less runs with 13 less hits and it wasn’t enough as the Southern Division-leading team from Florida improved to 20-13 with the 5-2 victory.
Chattanooga is now 18-14 with losses in three of its past four games.
The fourth game of the series is set for Friday with top prospect Hunter Green set to pitch for the Lookouts. He’s currently 4-0 and leads the league with 51 strikeouts. He’s also fun to watch as his fastballs most always top 100 miles per hour.
But on a night when the start of the game was delayed some 51 minutes by an early-evening shower, the Lookouts never really got untracked.
A single run in the second inning gave Chattanooga a brief 1-0 lead before the Blue Wahoos took the lead with two runs in the third on the strength of J.J. Bleday’s fifth home run of the season and second in two days.
A run-scoring double by Lorenzo Hampton in the fourth extended Pensacola’s lead to 3-1 before the Lookouts made it 3-2 with another run in the sixth.
Leo Rivas had a run-scoring single to draw Chattanooga within a run. Jay Schuyler walked to load the bases with two outs, but Byrd Tenerowicz grounded out to short on the first pitch to end that threat.
Mark Kolozsvary had a single in the seventh and Rivas drew a two-out walk in the eighth, but the Lookouts never came close to scoring after the sixth.
Southpaw Will Stewart earned the win for Pensacola by allowing both runs on five hits in 5.2 innings. He also had three strikeouts and a walk while hitting two.
Colton Hock, the fourth pitcher for Pensacola, earned the save with a perfect ninth.
Ricky Salinas took the loss for Chattanooga after allowing three runs on four hits in five innings. He had seven strikeouts and three walks, but got very little support from the Lookouts’ offense. He’s now 1-1 for the season.
Demetrius Sims had three of Pensacola’s six hits, including a run-scoring double in the eighth when the Blue Wahoos put their final two runs on the board. That double drove in Bleday, who had led off with a walk while Lazaro Alonso scored the last run on a wild pitch.
Lorenzo Cedrola was the only Chattanooga player with two hits as his team collected a total of seven for the game.
While Greene is the scheduled starter for Chattanooga on Fireworks Friday, Pensacola will send Max Meyer to the hill. He’s their top prospect and brings a 3-1 record into his next start with an 1.86 earned run average.
A total of 2,371 fans endured the rain delay to watch Thursday’s game.
PENSACOLA 002 100 020 – 5 6 2
CHATTANOOGA 010 001 000 – 2 7 0
Stewart, Bellatti (6), Bice (7), Hock (9) and Fontes; Salinas, Demurias (6), Diaz (8), Keys (9) and Kolozsvary.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)