The Chattanooga Lookouts had a clear objective Sunday afternoon in addition to trying to win.
"Water," first baseman J.T. Wise said. "More water. That's what we need."
The sizzling start to summer was evident at AT&T Field, as the temperature for Aaron Miller's first pitch against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos was 94 degrees. It was 98 in the top of the ninth inning, when Beau Mills hit a three-run home run to right field off Logan Bawcom to propel Pensacola to an 8-7 comeback win.
Mills erased a productive Chattanooga sixth inning in which RBIs by Matt Wallach, Kyle Russell, Rafael Ynoa and Luis Nunez gave the Lookouts a 7-3 lead in a game that lasted three hours and 13 minutes.
"Playing in this heat just makes me respect these guys even more," Lookouts pitching coach Chuck Crim said. "I remember at the end of last year telling the guys how much I respected them for coming out here, because I know what it's like. It's not a lot of fun to not have anything to wipe their hands off on and having sweat dripping from their brow and from their hand and everything else.
"The uniforms we have get heavy, and I just think people have to give them a lot of credit for what they do out here, because it's not easy."
The crowd of 2,001 was the third-lowest at AT&T this season.
"We'll play here in front of one person," Crim said. "As long as there is a team in the other dugout and we can compete, it doesn't matter. We're here to play baseball and to play that other club."
Miller worked a quick first inning, but Pensacola counterpart Daniel Corcino opted for more time in the sun. Corcino walked Ynoa, Nunez and Blake Smith to open the game, and when he angrily slapped the ball away following a throw from catcher Brian Peacock after walking Smith, Ynoa raced in from third base to make it 1-0.
The Lookouts (1-3) extended their lead to 3-0 in the fourth on Ynoa's two-out double into the right-field corner that scored Wallach and Miller.
The Blue Wahoos (3-1) loaded the bases with nobody out in the sixth to end the day for Miller. Steven Ames entered and allowed a two-run double to right by Mills, and then he threw a wild pitch that scored Peacock to tie the game.
"The last two nights have been pretty hot, too, but this one got hotter as the game went on," Lookouts center fielder Nick Buss said. "It might have been the hottest one we've had this year."
Said Wise: "Montgomery was very hot, but this is probably right there with it."
Chris Reed (0-0, 2.00 ERA) is scheduled to start tonight's 7:15 series finale for the Lookouts, with J.C. Sulbaran (5-4, 4.25) scheduled for the Blue Wahoos.