University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football coach Russ Huesman delivered an impressive first pitch Thursday night at AT&T Field.
The Chattanooga Lookouts did not always follow suit, committing three errors in the third inning, but they regrouped for a 6-1 victory over the Jacksonville Suns. The win was the fifth in six games for the first-place Lookouts, who improved to 31-22 and are nine games over .500 for the first time in the Southern League's North Division second-half race.
"We're a calm team that just kind of lets things happen and lets things work out," Lookouts right fielder Blake Smith said. "Earlier on, those errors could have shut things down."
Smith and J.T. Wise each drove in two runs, and the tandem has combined for 11 RBIs in the past two games.
Jacksonville took a 1-0 lead in Chattanooga's calamitous third on Ben Lasater's two-out single to left field that scored Chris Gutierrez, but the Lookouts responded later in the third when a Nick Buss leadoff single to right was followed by Wise's single to left and Smith's triple to center. Luis Nunez followed with a single to left that scored Smith and made it 3-1.
The Lookouts had another three-run outburst in the sixth inning, when Rafael Ynoa's two-out single to left scored Bobby Coyle and Wise's double to center scored Ynoa and Buss.
"We made those three errors, but right when they came in, everybody was picking each other up," manager Carlos Subero said. "We didn't have to say anything. I think it's the point of the year where things are going the right way."
Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Scott Elbert continued his rehab assignment by striking out the side in the eighth inning.
Thursday was "UTC Night," which resulted in a crowd of 3,037. Two busloads of football players attended the game, as did coaches representing several sports, including the basketball tandem of John Shulman and Wes More, as well as several cheerleaders and Sugar Mocs.
Zach Lee (1-3, 6.05 ERA) is scheduled to start tonight's 7:15 game on the mound for the Lookouts, with Brian Flynn (2-0, 3.42) scheduled for the Suns.
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 ...