Lookouts, Nate Eovaldi win 2-1

Lookouts, Nate Eovaldi win 2-1

May 17th, 2011 by David Paschall in Sportlocal

Nate Eovaldi

The young gun had some fun.

Starting pitcher Nate Eovaldi, the only member of the Chattanooga Lookouts born in the 1990s, pitched six scoreless innings Monday night to pace the hosts past the Tennessee Smokies 2-1 at AT&T Field. The 21-year-old Texan allowed two hits while striking out eight.

"My age never really crosses my mind," Eovaldi said. "I'm just going out there trying to attack the hitters. I was locating my fastball well tonight and was getting ahead of the guys. I threw a few good sliders, but I left a few up and got lucky."

An 11th-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008, Eovaldi improved to 3-1 while lowering his earned run average to 2.80. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound right-hander went 3-5 with a 4.45 ERA last season in the high Single-A California League.

"Nate is a heck of a competitor," Lookouts pitching coach Chuck Crim said. "He's the youngest pitcher here, but he's got some of the best stuff we have. The only chink in his armor right now is his command and control of his slider.

Chattanooga, which improved to 20-18, took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Wilberto Ortiz's soft single to right that scored Brian Cavazos-Galvez.

The Lookouts had runners on the corners with one out in the sixth inning when Jaime Pedroza tried to bunt home Scott Van Slyke. Smokies starting pitcher Chris Rusin flipped the ball to catcher Blake Lalli, who withstood a collision from the 6-5 Van Slyke to record the out.

Cavazos-Galvez advanced from first to second on the play, and Lookouts manager Carlos Subero quickly called for Cavazos-Galvez to steal third. Cavazos-Galvez not only got to third but strolled home after Lalli sailed his throw over the glove of Josh Vitters to give Chattanooga a 2-0 lead.

"When you come from a collision play, you're kind of banged up," Subero said of challenging Lalli, "so that's a tough play for him to make. It ended up being a run for us, which was good, because our offense is not driving in many runs for us right now."

Michael Antonini (2-5, 4.02) is scheduled to start tonight's 7:15 game for the Lookouts, with Robert Whitenack (3-0, 3.13) scheduled for the Smokies.

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