A picture-perfect Sunday afternoon at AT&T Field did not produce a picture-perfect conclusion for the Chattanooga Lookouts.
Nate Tenbrink had three hits and scored three runs as Jackson ended Chattanooga's season with an 8-2 whipping. Mike Zunino belted a three-run home run to left field in the top of the ninth inning to cap the scoring for the Generals, who clinched the best-of-five Southern League North Division playoff series three games to one.
Chattanooga had lost nine consecutive playoff games before staying alive with Saturday night's 1-0 triumph, but Sunday's loss keeps the Lookouts out of the championship series for a 16th straight year. The Lookouts managed just six runs in the four games.
"I think execution was the difference," Lookouts manager Carlos Subero said. "They took care of business when they had to, and we couldn't come through offensively. It put a lot of pressure on our pitchers to minimize the damage, but it's been a great year.
"We had a slow first half and picked it up in the second half with tremendous pitching. A lot of kids developed and had great years."
Sunday's announced crowd of 874 marked the lowest in AT&T Field's 13-year history.
"We knew what we were up against," Lookouts general manager Rich Mozingo said. "It's an afternoon game and the first Sunday of the NFL."
The Generals struck first in the second inning, when Tenbrink's two-out double to center was followed by Brad Miller's RBI bloop single to center. Tenbrink made it 2-0 in the fourth inning on a leadoff home run to right.
Jackson stretched its advantage to 4-0 in the sixth inning on Chih-Hsien Chiang's two-out single to right that scored Tenbrink and Miller.
The Lookouts had only two hits to Jackson's 11 until the bottom of the sixth, when a leadoff walk by Rafael Ynoa was followed by a Nick Buss double to left. Jake Lemmerman had a sacrifice to center to get Chattanooga on the board, and then a two-out double to left by Luis Nunez scored Buss to pull the Lookouts within 4-2.
Chattanooga loaded the bases with two out in the seventh inning, but Yoervis Medina struck out J.T. Wise. The Generals made it 5-2 in the eighth when Rich Poythress hit a bases-loaded single to right.
"We did our best, but they played really well," Buss said.
Jackson will play Mobile for the league championship.
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.
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 ...