The Chattanooga Lookouts arrived from the south. The Carolina Mudcats arrived from the east and won. The rain arrived from the west and won, too.
After beginning Wednesday with lengthy bus rides across Southern League territory, the Mudcats led the Lookouts 6-4 after eight innings at AT&T Field when rain halted play. Following a delay of 42 minutes, the game was called and skidding Chattanooga had its third consecutive defeat.
The Lookouts had traveled 400 miles after getting swept in Tuesday night's doubleheader at Mobile, while the Mudcats had ventured 500 miles from their home in Zebulon, N.C., after taking three of five games from Jacksonville. The Mudcats did a superior job of hiding their weariness, as the Lookouts committed three errors, three wild pitches and a balk in the first five innings.
Chattanooga dropped to 17-24 and is seven games below .500 for the first time -- and a season-high eight games back of Tennessee (25-16) in the North Division's first-half race.
Carolina took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Sean Henry drew a two-out walk and scored on Eric Eymann's double to left field. Denis Phipps tripled to open the second inning for the Mudcats (19-22) and scored on a fielding error by shortstop Elian Herrera, and Carolina made it 3-0 moments later when Lookouts starting pitcher Jesus Castillo committed a balk with runners on the corners.
Castillo argued the ruling and was ejected after tallying just five outs, and he was replaced by David Pfeiffer.
A Herrera one-out throwing error enabled Eymann to reach base in the third inning, and Eymann scored to make it 4-0 on Dave Sappelt's two-out single to left. The Lookouts pulled within 4-1 later in the third when Scott Van Slyke and Tommy Giles opened with doubles, but Carolina went up 5-1 in the fourth when Kristopher Negron singled to center, advanced to third on a Pfeiffer throwing error and scored on a Pfeiffer wild pitch.
Another Pfeiffer wild pitch in the fifth allowed Carolina to stretch its advantage to 6-1, but Chattanooga got its bats going in the fifth with a Jaime Pedroza double to center, a Mike Rivera RBI single up the middle and an Eddy Perez RBI double to right. The Lookouts made it 6-4 in the seventh when Corey Smith reached by error and scored on a Perez single to center.
John Koronka (0-2, 4.50 ERA) is the scheduled starting pitcher for tonight's 7:15 game for the Lookouts, with Matt Klinker (3-3, 1.86) scheduled for the Mudcats.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...