Chattanooga Struck With 4-1 Loss In Opener

CHATTANOOGA — The Chattanooga Lookouts (0-1) dropped their opening contest 4-1 to the Tennessee Smokies (1-0) Thursday night, managing just four hits against Smokies' starting pitcher Nicholas Struck (1-0).

Struck shut the Chattanooga bats down through six innings, allowing only four hits while striking out 10 Lookouts. Struck yielded just one run on the night, running into a jam in the sixth inning.

Pinch hitter Luis Nunez and center fielder Nick Buss were able to string together a couple of singles, and shortstop Jake Lemmerman was hit by a pitch to load the bases. First baseman Brian Cavazos-Galvez then grounded out to third base to drive in the Lookouts lone run. Cleanup hitter Kyle Russell was intentionally walked to load the bases again, but back-to-back strike outs from Struck allowed the starter to escape with little damage done.

Lookouts starter and Dodgers No. 2 prospect Allen Webster (0-1) did not have the start he had hoped for, giving up seven hits and two earned runs before being pulled in the fourth inning. Webster struck out two and walked five, leaving runners on the corners after three and one-third innings pitched.

The 22-year-old was hit hard in the third inning, allowing three hits and two runs to score, and was yanked an inning later after giving up a walk and single to begin the frame. Webster found himself in similar situations early, but double plays in both the first and second innings saved the pitcher from laboring for too long.

"It was nice to see Webster work out of it a couple of times," Manager Carlos Subero said. "He didn't have his best stuff, but he still managed to go into the fourth inning."

After Webster left the game, reliever Geison Aguasviva tossed two and two-thirds innings of perfect baseball, keeping Tennessee off the board until the eighth inning. The Smokies gained a run off Javier Solano in the eighth and another in the ninth off Luis Vasquez.

The Chattanooga bullpen kept the Lookouts in the game, but the bats fell silent late in the contest. Just two Chattanooga batters reached base before Smokies relievers retired seven straight to end the ball game. Kevin Rhoderick gave up only one hit in two innings pitched and Frank Batista retired the Lookouts in order in the ninth to earn his first save and secure Tennessee's first win of the season.

Chattanooga second baseman Rafael Ynoa proved to be the Lookouts top offensive player for the night. The speedster was 2-4 at the plate, bunting himself on for the Lookouts first hit of the game in the third and singling to right field in the seventh. Ynoa also picked up his first stolen base of the season.

"He had a good first game," Subero said. "It is only one game, but he had a good bunt. He took advantage of the first baseman playing deep on him, and then he took advantage of a 3-1 count and drove the ball. He stole a base and played great defense. He has a good start in Double A."

Chattanooga will take on the Smokies again tonight in the second game of a five-game series. Dodgers Ethan Martin is expected to take to the mound Friday night. He is set to face Tennessee probable starter Trey McNutt at 7:15 p.m. EST.

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