The Chattanooga Lookouts desperately needed for something good to happen late Sunday afternoon and it finally did right before 5:30.
Facing the Biloxi Shuckers in the final game of their six-game stand, it had been a tough week for the Lookouts as they had dropped four straight games after winning Tuesday’s opener.
Totally unlike Saturday’s game when the Shuckers scored eight runs in the first inning, the outcome of this one wasn’t determined until the 10th and that’s when the Lookouts rallied for two runs and a stirring 7-6 come-from-behind victory.
Isiah Gilliam was the hero for Chattanooga as his two-run single with no outs drove in James Free with the tying run and Michael Siani with the game-winner as the Lookouts improved to 32-31 with the victory.
They use the international rule for Southern League baseball in extra innings where they put the guy who made the last out of the previous inning on second base to start the next one.
Free was the man on second when Siani got hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. A wild pitch moved them both up a base before a walk to Matt McLain loaded the sacks with nobody out.
The count on Gilliam was 1-2, including a couple of balls fouled off, but he finally got the pitch he was looking for as he ripped it down the line in right for the game-winning hit.
He never stopped after running past first as he raced to pick up the ball from the corner in right.
It was his only hit of the day, but what a great time to get it as the Lookouts were looking for any kind of way to snap that four-game losing streak.
Pedro Severino, a seven-year major league veteran who is in Biloxi on a rehab assignment, gave the Shuckers a lead in the third inning with a two-run homer to left.
The Lookouts then responded with four runs in the fifth.
Jonathan Willems ripped a triple off the wall in center and scored the first run on a grounder by Eric Yang, who reached on a throwing error by third baseman Noah Campbell.
McLain then followed with his 11th homer of the season, a two-run blast to left to put the Lookouts ahead at 3-2. Alex McGarry then followed with an RBI-single to drive in Gilliam, who had reached on another Biloxi error.
Three of those four runs were unearned, but who cared as the Lookouts had the lead for the first time.
The Shuckers didn’t score again until the eighth when they regained the lead with three runs, including two on a single by Yeison Coca and the second on a double steal where Campbell scored from third while Coca was finally tagged out in a rundown.
The Lookouts were still down by a run going to the bottom of the ninth, but responded with the tying run when Willems singled to right to drive in Michael De Leon, who had singled with one out and advanced on a wild pitch.
Cam Devanney put the Shuckers up 6-5 in the 10th with a single that drove in Felix Valerio, but that’s the only run they scored as Julio Pinto slammed the door and didn’t allow any further damage.
Pinto picked up the win with his one inning of relief as he allowed the one run on two hits while striking out two. Pinto is now 5-0 for the season.
Kent Hasler, the fifth Biloxi pitcher, took the loss after allowing two runs on one hit. His record is now 0-3 with an ERA of 9.64.
De Leon and Willems were the only Chattanooga players with two hits while Wiemer and Severino both had two for the Shuckers.
The Lookouts will have Monday off as usual before traveling to East Tennessee to face the Tennessee Smokies before returning home for a series with the Birmingham Barons starting on June 28.
BILOXI 002 000 030 1 – 6 10 3
CHATTANOOGA 000 040 001 2 – 7 9 0
Knarr, Hitt (6), Walters (8), Vennaro (9), Hasler (10) and Reetz; Williamson, Nutof (6), Garcia (8), Karcher (8), Pinto (10) and Yang, Free (10).
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)