Will Savage, Lookouts stop slide

Will Savage, Lookouts stop slide

May 3rd, 2011 by David Paschall in Sportlocal

Lookouts right fielder Kyle Russell catches a fly ball between the upright fingers of a Dodgers poster during Monday's game against the Jackson Generals at AT&T Field. Staff Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press

At the end of last season, Will Savage got bruised and battered when he took the mound for the Chattanooga Lookouts.

This year, he's the one stopping the bleeding.

Savage allowed one run in six innings Monday night at AT&T Field to pace the Lookouts to a 5-3 victory over Jackson, thus avoiding a five-game series sweep by the Generals. The 26-year-old right-hander improved to 3-0 with a 2.86 earned run average after posting a 10.80 ERA in four starts with Chattanooga last season.

"It was tough going through that failure, but I've gone through failure in my career, and you've got to learn from that," Savage said.

The Lookouts improved to 13-12 in snapping a six-game losing streak at home.

Savage pitched for three Los Angeles Dodgers affiliates last season, going a combined 10-5 with a 4.32 ERA. It was only his second professional season as a starter, and his year began with an appendectomy, which wiped out his offseason conditioning and rendered him to the couch for three weeks.

The 6-foot-4, 210-pounder from the University of Oklahoma already had thrown more than 135 innings when he arrived in Chattanooga last August.

"We probably ran him out of gas down in A-ball," said Lookouts pitching coach Chuck Crim, who worked with Savage last year at Great Lakes. "He pitched into the seventh inning for me every time and did a great job. He was a Midwest League all-star, but he probably wasn't prepared to come down here in the heat and keep doing what he was doing."

Said Savage: "When I was supposed to have my best stuff facing the best competition, I was far from it. I feel a lot better this year, and I feel a lot more confident in my arm and my arm strength."

The Lookouts went up 1-0 in the first inning when Brad Coon successfully broke for home while Scott Van Slyke was in the process of being chased down between first and second. They made it 2-0 in the second when Pedro Baez led off with a double to left field and scored on Matt Wallach's one-out single to right.

Baez homered to left-center to open the fourth, and an Alfredo Silverio sacrifice fly in the fifth brought in Kyle Russell to put the Lookouts up 4-0. Baez and Van Slyke combined for four of Chattanooga's eight hits, with Van Slyke raising his average to .355.

"You never want to get swept at home, especially when it's a five-game series," Van Slyke said. "When you're starting to lose a little bit, you kind of tighten up, so we had a meeting today and just talked about relaxing and getting back to fundamentals and having some fun out there."

Nate Eovaldi (1-1, 3.06 ERA) is scheduled to start tonight's 7:15 series opener against Mississippi, with Randall Delgado (1-1, 2.84) scheduled for the Braves.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.