The Chattanooga Lookouts are down to just five more home games following Saturday night's 3-2 comeback triumph over the Jacksonville Suns.
That's five more regular-season home games.
Chattanooga is rolling toward a second straight appearance in the Southern League playoffs, having polished off Jacksonville in the first five-game sweep this season at AT&T Field. The Lookouts haven't made consecutive playoffs since the 1995-96 seasons.
"You see it every year: It's the team that gets hot in the end that makes the run in the playoffs," Lookouts right fielder Blake Smith said. "Finishing strong is what we're trying to do, and we want to carry it over in the playoffs and win this thing. If we're going to stick around, we might as well win it. That's our goal."
The Lookouts improved to 33-22 in the second half and are 65-58 overall with 15 games remaining. They started Saturday three games ahead of Jackson in the North Division's second-half race and five games ahead of the rest of the division in the wild-card chase.
Jacksonville scored twice in the sixth inning, when Lookouts relief pitcher Wes Roemer allowed two singles and two walks before recording an out, but the Lookouts opened the seventh with a Smith single to left field and a Luis Nunez home run to left. C.J. Retherford followed with a triple to center, and he scored the go-ahead run on Joe Becker's one-out single to center.
"It's starting to come around, and everybody is picking each other up," Smith said. "We've had guys who have been hot this season and guys who have not, but everybody is playing good right now. Nobody is playing out of their mind right now, but everyone is playing good, which is huge."
Said manager Carlos Subero: "They're playing good ball when it counts, and they know it."
Saturday was "College Football Night" at AT&T Field and drew a crowd of 4,381, the second-largest home crowd since Independence Day.
Matt Magill (10-6, 3.75 ERA) is scheduled to start on the mound for the Lookouts in today's series opener at Tennessee, with Dallas Beeler (4-7, 4.17) scheduled for the Smokies.
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 ...