Tennessee Smokies slip past Chattanooga Lookouts

Tennessee Smokies slip past Chattanooga Lookouts

April 10th, 2012 by David Paschall in Sportlocal

Lookouts pitcher Nathan Eovaldi has been promoted to Los Angeles.

Lookouts pitcher Nathan Eovaldi has been promoted to...

Photo by Jake Daniels /Times Free Press.

Chattanooga Lookouts starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi threw five respectable innings Monday night at AT&T Field, and he wasn't taken deep by Albert Pujols.

Eovaldi pitched the final game of the Freeway Series last Wednesday in Los Angeles between the Dodgers and Angels and surrendered an estimated 441-foot home run to Pujols, in whom the Angels are investing $240 million over the next 10 years. Eovaldi was sent down to the Class AA Lookouts after that final spring exhibition and is essentially on hold for the Dodgers after making six big-league starts last season.

"I feel like I can make it back," Eovaldi said after Monday's 3-2 loss to the Tennessee Smokies. "It's just a matter of coming out and continuing what I did here last year."

The 22-year-old right-hander allowed one hit and one walk through four innings before the announced crowd of 3,786, but his fifth inning did not go smoothly.

Mike Burgess and Mike Brenly opened the fifth with singles to left field before Elliot Soto drew a walk to load the bases. Smokies starting pitcher Brooks Raley hit a sacrifice fly to center to tie the game at 1 before Eovaldi got out of the jam with a double play.

He threw 84 pitches in five innings, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out four.

"I thought he did a great job," pitching coach Chuck Crim said. "I thought he threw the ball like Nate could. He made his pitches."

Said Eovaldi: "I felt like I threw the ball well. I just got some unfortunate calls."

The Smokies took a 3-2 lead when Soto's two-out triple to right-center off Steven Ames in the ninth inning scored James Adduci. Tennessee, which swept Chattanooga out of the Southern League playoffs last September, began this season by taking four of five.

An 11th-round pick of the Dodgers in 2008 out of Alvin (Texas) School, Eovaldi started last season with the Lookouts and went 6-5 with a 2.62 earned run average in 20 games, including 19 starts. He made 10 appearances overall with Los Angeles a year ago, going 1-2 with a 3.63 ERA.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder limited opponents to a .230 batting average, and the Dodgers went 7-3 in games in which he appeared.

Asked if it was unique suiting up with the Lookouts after competing all spring with the Dodgers, Eovaldi said, "I have played with pretty much every one of these guys at some point in time. It's just really going out there and pitching."

Allen Webster (0-1, 5.40 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Lookouts in tonight's 7:05 series opener at Jacksonville, with Joey O'Gara (1-0, 0.00) scheduled for the Suns.

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