The Pensacola Blue Wahoos entered AT&T Field last Saturday night having yet to lose a series this season in the Southern League.
They exited Wednesday afternoon the same way, rallying from an early 3-0 deficit to post a 7-6 triumph that clinched the series in the fifth and deciding game. Pensacola improved to 26-14 before an announced crowd of 4,464, while the Lookouts dropped to 21-17.
Chattanooga was 8-2 this month before Pensacola arrived, giving the improving Lookouts their best gauge yet in terms of where they stand.
"I was really excited about this series," Chattanooga manager Pat Kelly said. "We had won three straight series coming in and four of five, but we had not been facing teams that were playing very well at the time. Now, we were going to face the best team in the league with the best pitching in the league.
"I thought it was going to be a great test for us, and we more than held our own."
Alex Kirilloff's single to center field in the eighth inning scored Tanner English and Mark Contreras to turn Pensacola's 5-4 lead into 7-4. The Lookouts answered later in the eighth with a Mitch Nay sacrifice and a Chris Okey RBI double but could not pull even.
Nay finished 3-for-3 with four RBIs in what was easily the highest-scoring game of the series, as Chattanooga's first two losses were via shutout.
"I think we can play with anybody," Lookouts pitching coach Danny Darwin said. "I would put our pitching up against anybody, and I would put our hitting up against anybody. When you have two teams like this, they're pretty much equal."
Nay's two-run home run to left in the second put Chattanooga up 2-0, and the Lookouts took a 3-0 lead into the fourth before enduring a five-run outburst by Pensacola. Caleb Hamilton's two-run homer to left-center got the Blue Wahoos on the board, and RBI doubles by Contreras and Joe Cronin and an RBI single by Travis Blankenhorn gave the guests a 5-3 lead.
Nay struck again in the sixth with an RBI single that pulled the Lookouts within 5-4.
The Lookouts completed a 10-game homestand and traveled after Wednesday's finale to Biloxi, Mississippi, where they will begin a five-game series Thursday night. Chattanooga's next home contest will be next Wednesday against the Birmingham Barons.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.