The Chattanooga Lookouts' bats were far from silent on Friday night - but the lack of quality hits spoke volumes on the scoreboard.
In a game in which the hosts out-hit Birmingham 8-5, it was the Barons who stole the victory with a ninth-inning run to win 3-2 in front of 3,435 fans at AT&T Field. The loss by the Lookouts tied the series at two games apiece going into the final game of the series tonight at 7:15.
The Barons (16-18 second half, 46-57 overall) went ahead in the top of the ninth when a blooper by Seth Loman was misjudged in right field by Kyle Russell, who bobbled the catch. The play was ruled a double, which scored Andy Wilkins for what was the winning run.
Russell was potentially hurt on the play, having to leave his ninth-inning at-bat with a possible wrist injury. Blake Smith entered with two strikes against him and two outs, eventually striking out to end the game.
The Lookouts (20-14, 52-50) took a 1-0 edge in the bottom of the second when C.J. Retherford singled, scoring J.T. Wise, who had tripled during the prior at-bat. They added to that lead the following inning when Nick Buss hit his 20th double of the season, which scored Matt Wallach.
Lee held the Baron bats at bay until the top of the fifth, when Justin Greene got ahold of a pitch and homered to left field. The rookie allowed only a run and three hits with four strikeouts in his outing, lowering his earned-run average from 9.45 to 7.92 in the process.
Birmingham tied the game in the seventh inning, when Andy Wilkins homered off Chris Reed. The Barons' Jacob Petricka went 7 2/3 innings, allowing only the two early runs. Dan Remenowsky (1-2) got the win for Birmingham.
"We gave ourselves a two-spot on the scoreboard, but they had a couple of homeruns to put them back in it," Lookouts manager Carlos Subero said. "Then we had the error in the ninth inning -- it happens."
As a team, the Barons grounded into four double plays, as opposed to one by Chattanooga. Yet, the Lookouts weren't able to capitalize, as Buss was caught stealing twice.
Chattanooga still holds a one-game lead over the Jackson Generals.
"In the second half of the season, it's a battle for a spot in the playoffs," Subero said. "You have to take things day-to-day. We wanted to win, but they did a good job in coming back and getting the victory.
"We'll just have to come back and go at it again tomorrow."
Ethan Martin (7-5, 3.10) will take the mound tonight for the Lookouts, while Andre Rienzo (3-1, 2.91) gets the ball for the Barons. Start time is at 7:15 at AT&T Field.