Matt Magill made a great first impression as a starting pitcher for the Chattanooga Lookouts.
It's the third impression he could live without.
Magill, who struck out six batters in five scoreless innings in his Class AA debut on April 8, was tagged for a seven-run second inning Wednesday at AT&T Field, and Chattanooga lost 9-8 to Birmingham. The Lookouts (6-8) rallied from an 8-0 deficit but could not overcome the disastrous inning in which seven consecutive Barons reached base.
"Matt just didn't have it today," Lookouts pitching coach Chuck Crim said. "We're going to have days like that, and what's going to determine how he does this year is how he recovers from that."
The Barons (7-7) took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, and their big second began when Luis Sierra singled to center field, Justin Greene singled on a grounder to third and Tyler Saladino drew a walk to load the bases. Drew Garcia tripled to right to put Birmingham up 4-0, and an Andy Wilkins single to left made it 5-0.
Former Lookouts infielder Corey Smith doubled to center to score Wilkins before Seth Loman provided the eight-run bulge with a two-run home run to right-center. Magill entered Wednesday with an earned run average of 3.00 and left with an 8.25 ERA.
"It's tough on these guys coming out at 11 o'clock and playing, because your body runs off a time clock and most of these guys are sleeping during that time," Crim said. "The other guy would have gone through the same thing had we not given him an eight-run lead."
The Lookouts trailed 9-4 entering the bottom of the seventh but got within 9-6 on RBIs by Nick Buss and Pedro Baez. With two out and the bases loaded, Luis Nunez hit a two-run single up the middle.
Buss tripled with two out in the eighth, his second triple of the game, but was stranded when Baez grounded out.
"Even though we lost, I think everybody is happy that we battled back like that and make the game competitive," Buss said. "It was exciting getting some runs there and making it fun at the end. We just need to pull out some wins."
Nathan Eovaldi (0-0, 2.45) is scheduled to start tonight's 7:15 series finale for the Lookouts, with Matt Zaleski (0-0, 0.00) scheduled for the Barons.
Pitcher Chris Withrow, the No. 7 prospect in the Dodgers organization according to Baseball America, is scheduled to start Friday at Tennessee. Withrow has yet to pitch this season due to an abdominal injury.
"He threw a touch-and-feel and looks like the old Withrow to me," Crim said. "He actually looks a little better."
Crim said the Lookouts will use a six-man rotation at Tennessee and piggyback one of the games.
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 ...