Returning members of the Chattanooga Lookouts are used to toasty times at AT&T Field, but 86 degrees at first pitch three games into the season?
"It is definitely not what I was expecting," Lookouts catcher Jessie Mier said. "We got pretty used to this last summer, and we have certain things we do to stay hydrated throughout the game."
The Lookouts are no longer thirsting for victory, pounding out 18 hits Saturday night in a 12-4 drubbing of Tennessee before 5,619 at AT&T Field. Kyle Russell highlighted a five-run sixth inning with a two-run home run to right field, the team's first homer of 2011.
After losing 12-4 and 6-3 the first two nights to the Smokies, Chattanooga took its first lead of the season in the fifth inning when Russell scored on Elian Herrera's sacrifice fly to center for a 5-4 advantage. Scott Van Slyke had three hits for the winners, while Russell, Herrera, Mier, Corey Smith, Pedro Baez and Wilberto Ortiz each added two.
The Smokies racked up 32 hits in the first two games of the series and added nine in defeat.
"They've got a good-hitting team," Lookouts manager Carlos Subero said. "When we haven't executed, they have taken advantage of it. They're crushing the baseball. They're feeding off the fastball, and it's more of them taking advantage of things than it is us not being able to execute.
"If they continue to do this, they're going to do great throughout the year."
Steve Clevenger's solo home run to center in the second inning put the Smokies up 2-0, but the Lookouts tied it in the bottom of the second on a Steven Jackson single up the middle and a bases-loaded wild pitch. Matt Spencer's double to left-center in the third scored Brett Jackson and Ryan Flaherty to put Tennessee back up 4-2.
Nate Eovaldi is scheduled to start today's 2:15 game for the Lookouts, with Trey McNutt scheduled for the Smokies. Even warmer temperatures are expected.
"I've not ever had this weather, not even in California," Subero said. "The weather on opening night was great - you know, a long-sleeve shirt but not a thick one. This has caught me by surprise."