Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press The Chattanooga Lookouts' shortstop Dee Gordon throws to complete a double play as Carolina Mudcats' Sean Henry slides toward second at AT&T Field Friday evening.
After eight fairly lackluster innings, the Chattanooga Lookouts finally showed some fire in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday night. But it wasn’t enough to keep them from losing their fourth straight game.
The Carolina Mudcats took advantage of the Lookouts’ errors (2) and walks (7), caught three Lookouts stealing and combined good pitching with timely hitting in a 6-3 win.
Down 6-1 in the ninth, the Lookouts drew a pair of walks off reliever Jerry Gil and scored a run on Tommy Giles’ single to right field. Giles was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double and immediately began arguing the call with first-base umpire Tripp Gibson.
Giles got more animated by the second and was eventually tossed out of the game after having to be restrained by Lookouts manager Carlos Subero, who spent a couple of minutes arguing the call with Gibson.
Once play resumed, the Lookouts added another run on Jessie Mier’s RBI single, his third hit of the game, but couldn’t complete the rally. Still, Mier said, that ninth-inning fight, including Giles’ outburst, might have been just what the Lookouts needed.
“Our manager always says, ‘27 outs, fight ‘till the 27th out,’ and I think we really did a good job of showing that in the ninth,” Mier said. “There’s still a lot of fight in us and we’re going to build off that.”
The Lookouts had plenty of base runners thanks to seven hits, eight walks, a hit batter and one Mudcats error, but lately they haven’t able to string many good at-bats together until the ninth Friday.
“I think we’re putting it together,” Subero said, “and hopefully soon it’s going to click and we’ll start playing better baseball.”
A crowd of 4,190, the smallest for a Friday night at AT&T Field so far this season, saw the Lookouts drop to 17-25, 8.0 games behind the North division leading Tennessee Smokies. The Mudcats improved to 20-22, 6.0 games back.
The Mudcats’ Matt Klinker (4-3) earned the win, allowing a run on five hits in 7 innings. He struck out seven and walked three.
Lookouts starter John Koronka ran into trouble in the fourth when the Mudcats loaded the bases on a single sandwiched between two walks. Denis Phipps drove in the game’s first run with a hard ground ball to third and the Mudcats got another one on the play following an error.
The Lookouts, who came into the game 45-for-65 on stolen bases this season, were caught for the third time in the game in the the fourth.
In the fifth, Carolina’s Kris Negron walked and stole second without even drawing a throw. He scored moments later on a Jake Kahauleilo single to left, putting the Mudcats up 3-0.
The Lookouts got a run in the bottom of the inning when Mier hit a two-out single, scoring Eddy Perez from second base.
Koronka’s evening came to an end in the sixth when he walked the first two batters and gave up a two-run double that pushed the Mudcats’ lead to 5-1. Koronka (0-3) struck out six, but gave up four hits, walked five and allowed five earned runs in 51⁄3 innings.
On Friday the Lookouts placed shortstop Alfreda Amezaga on the 7-day disabled list, retroactive to May 18, and right-handed pitcher Harvey Garcia was assigned to the club from the Ogden Raptors of the Pioneer League.
Alberto Bastardo (3-3, 4.63 ERA) is scheduled to start tonight’s 7:15 game for the Lookouts, with Scott Carroll (0-0, 0.00) scheduled for the Mudcats.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...