Lookouts Cruise Past Pensacola 6-1 - Lodolo Leaves in Fourth
Sunday, June 13, 2021 - by Joseph Dycus
Jose Barrero is one of the more athletic players on the Chattanooga Lookouts, and he made a great case for being the best athlete in the seventh inning. Chattanooga's shortstop took off from first the second Mark Kolozsvary sent the ball into centerfield. A diving Blue Wahoo wasn’t able to make a spectacular catch for the third out, and so Barrero was already at third by the time Lorenzo Hampton got up. The Lookout’s shortstop had already sped home as the throw came in to the catcher.
On a team known for their great starting pitchers and big bats, it was some of the less-heralded players who made big plays during the Lookouts 6-1 win over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos on Saturday night.
But it should be noted that when the stars were out there, they certainly looked like ones on the diamond.
Nick Lodolo was almost untouchable in the first inning, sitting down three on strikes both looking and swinging. Only a solid J.J Bleday single into center interrupted the strikeout parade, and he was stranded where he stood when Jerar Encarnacion was frozen by a third strike on the inside part of the plate. Pensacola’s Jake Eder was much less controlled, walking his first two batters to start his night. Jose Barrero moved the runners up on a slow grounder, and designated hitter Mark Kolozsvary drove in Braxton Lee and reached first on a fielder’s choice.
Lorenzo Cedrola lined a hard hit ball into right field, and eventually ended up at second as another run crossed the plate. Eder may have entered the game with a 0.60 ERA, but that number only went up as he struggled with his location. Nick Lodolo wasn’t very sharp in the second inning either, giving up a single down the right field line and hitting two straight batters to load the bases.
After a quick visit from the coaching staff, Lodolo calmed down. He struck out the next batter and then got Devin Hairston to line straight to second baseman Brian Rey, who jumped on second for a double play and ended a stressful but scoreless second inning. And when Leo Rivas slapped a hard hit ball down the third base side that glanced off Demetrius Sims’ glove, Lodolo got another run in his back pocket entering the third. He took that peace of mind into a third inning where he struck out three of four batters.
After three and a third scoreless innings that included seven strikeouts, Lodolo abruptly left the game and was replaced by 26 year-old Matt Pidich with a 2-2 count. Pidich struck out his first batter, and then his second for what was a great start to his relief outing after struggling on Tuesday. His fourth inning was more reminiscent of that “start” where he only went 2/3rds of an inning. Pidich allowed his first four batters to reach base, with one of them being thrown out by Mark Kolozsvary when he attempted to steal second.
A Lookout coach ran out to speak to Pidich with the bases loaded, and probably hoped his talk would inspire another instance of the Lookouts getting out of a bases loaded situation with no runs being scored. Pidich then navigated the two most feared hitters Pensacola had in Bleday and Encarnacion with poise, and struck out both to get out of the jam and the fifth inning.
In the Lookouts’ side of the inning, Mark Koloszvary drove a slow grounder to Pensacola pitcher Eder, who appeared to have an easy toss to second to start the double play at second. That throw went way over Devin Hairston’s head, and Barrero took second and then hustled his way to third before a throw could be made. His hustle was rewarded when Brian Rey’s double-play ball actually sent him home to give the Lookouts a 4-0 lead.
Hector Perez probably didn’t expect to pitch the sixth inning, but the relief pitcher was needed after Pidich left the game. The man without a number on the roster sheet filled in admirably with the help of great fielding. Third baseman Robbie Tenerowicz made a great throw to first to get the initial out, TJ Hopkins jetted through center field to get the second, and then Perez struck out the third to get the Lookouts out of the inning.
Aside from Barrero’s aforementioned ramble home in the bottom of the seventh, Kolozsvary also ran across the plate when Brian Rey sent a single into center field. The Blue Wahoos loaded the bases in the top of the eighth but came away with zeroes still on the scoreboard. The Lookouts gave up one run toward the end, but otherwise salted away their 6-1 win in the ninth and set their sights on tomorrow’s game. The series finale will take place at 2:15.
BLUE WAHOOS: 0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/0 - 1/10/1
LOOKOUTS: 2/1/0/0/1/0/2/0/X - 6/11/1
Eder, Leban (7), Roberson (8) and Fortes; Lodolo, Pidich (4), Perez (6), Figueroa (8), Ghyzel (9) and Kolozsvary
You can reach the author at Joseph.A.Dycus@gmail.com or on Twitter at @joseph_dycus .