The Chattanooga Lookouts' tenous spot atop the Southern League's North Division became a bit shakier following Friday night's 8-2 loss to the Huntsville Stars.
A fireworks crowd of 3,082 saw Huntsville pitcher Mark Rogers combined with two relievers on a seven-hitter. Rogers (4-6), who lasted only 1 1/3 innings in his last outing against the Lookouts, allowed only one hit and struck out seven batters in five innings.
The loss, coupled with Carolina's 3-1 win over West Tennessee, leaves the Lookouts and Mudcats tied with 10-8 records for the second half, while Huntsville (9-9) is just one game back. The finale of the four-game series is today (6:15), the final game before the all-star break.
The Stars took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on Rogers' one-out RBI double, but it was the fourth inning that really hurt the home team. A one-out error on Chattanooga starting pitcher Mario Alvarez led to two unearned runs on Brett Lawrie's two-out single. That helped ruin a nice outing for Alvarez, who allowed just four hits and struck out eight in six innings.
Rogers, though, was just a little better. After allowing leadoff hitter Dee Gordon's infield single to start the game and walking No. 2 batter Trayvon Robinson, Rogers quickly induced a double play from Jerry Sands and faced only two batters over the mininum through the next four innings.
"That was probably Mark's best game," Huntsville manager Mike Guerrero said of his pitcher, who had allowed 18 runs in his last 28 2/3 innings. "Once he got through the first inning he was in total control."
The score remained 3-0 until the Stars scored two runs in the seventh, then put the game away in the eighth with three more unearned runs on a Lawrie RBI double and Drew Anderson's two-run homer. Lawrie, Caleb Gindl and Zelous Wheeler each had two of the team's eight hits.
Gordon had two hits for the Lookouts, including an RBI triple.
n The Lookouts hosted part of the weekend reunion of the final University of Tennessee at Chattanooga baseball team. Mark Mariakis, head football coach at Ridgeland High School, helped organize the outing, which included, among others, UTC football coach Russ Huesman.
"It's great seeing everybody," said Mariakis, who said the former players also would take a cruise today on the Southern Belle. "I haven't seen some of the guys since 1982, so it's a special time."