published Monday, September 1st, 2014

Chattanooga Lookouts sweep, earn playoff spot

The Chattanooga Lookouts' incredible late-second-half comeback in the Southern League standings culminated fittingly with a late-second-game comeback Sunday night at AT&T Field.

Tied with the Tennessee Smokies with three games left on the schedule, Chattanooga won both seven-inning contests Sunday, 9-0 and 3-2, and clinched the North Division championship for the half despite being only 60-77 for the full season. That made the Lookouts 34-33 and put them in the league playoffs starting Thursday.

Chattanooga scored two runs on Chris O'Brien's one-out triple in the bottom of the sixth inning of game two to finish the sweep. Daniel Coulombe pitched the top of the seventh and got a force-out on a bunt and two strikeouts after a leadoff walk for Taylor Davis.

After Scott Schebler's home run gave the Lookouts a 1-0 lead in the third inning, pitcher Pierce Johnson put the Smokies (33-36) ahead in the fourth with a two-run single off Matt Shelton. In the sixth, Corey Seager walked to begin the Lookouts' at-bat, O'Koyea greeted Johnson's reliever with a single, the runners moved up on a wild pitch and O'Brien delivered as a pinch-hitter.

Jhan Martinez (7-1) was the winning pitcher as the third man on the mound for the Lookouts, and Coulombe recorded his first save.

Chattanooga rolled in the opener behind pitcher Steve Smith (3-2), who pitched all seven innings with four hits allowed and lowered his earned run average to 2.76.

Shortstop Seager was 2-for-3 with a home run, four RBIs and two runs scored. Alex Liddi singled and scored on a sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead in the third inning, and the Lookouts made it 3-0 in the fourth on an O'Brien RBI double and a Jeremy Hazelbaker RBI single.

Seager's homer after a Schebler double made it 5-0 an inning later, and Chattanooga used four hits to pad the lead in the sixth. Darnell Sweeney and Seager had two-run singles.

Hazelbaker and O'Brien each matched Seager with two hits in that game, and Liddi was 1-for-1 with two walks and two runs scored.

The teams wrap up the regular season with a 2:15 game today at AT&T Field. Jeremy Kehrt (2-0, 2.08 ERA) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Lookouts with Ivan Pineyro (0-3, 5.44) going for Tennessee.

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