Lookouts Bats Come Alive, Win First Game

While fireworks provided bang at AT&T Field Friday night, the Chattanooga (1-2) offense exploded for 10 runs Saturday night, earning a 10-2 win over the Tennessee Smokies (2-1).

It looked as if the Looks' had another pitching duel on their hands early, falling behind 1-0 in the third inning. Starting pitcher Aaron Miller was pulled after two and two-thirds innings, giving up three singles in a row to Tennessee's Logan Watkins, Jae-Hoon Ha and Rebel Ridling, but reliever Red Patterson (1-0) forced a groundout to end the inning and the Chattanooga offensive attack began.

Kyle Russell drove in the Lookouts first run of the night in the third inning, tying the game at one and ending a 14-inning scoreless drought for Chattanooga. Centerfielder Nick Buss scored on the RBI double off the bat of the former Texas Long Horn, and it looked as though J.T. Wise had also scored on the play, but Wise was called out for skipping third on his way around the bags and the inning came to an end.

Despite giving up the lone run in the third, Smokies pitcher Dallas Beeler cruised through five innings, giving up six hits while striking out two.

Beeler may have left an inning too early.

The Lookouts sent 15 batters to the plate in the bottom of the sixth, putting up nine runs against the Tennessee bullpen. Wise singled to lead off the frame and Russell followed through with his second double of the night. Russell's two-bagger was followed up by four straight singles from Travis Denker, Blake Smith, Jake Lemmerman and Griff Erickson.

Smokies reliever Daniel Berling (0-1) was not able to retire a batter until coaxing a groundout from pinch hitter Luis Nunez, the seventh batter of the inning, and Buss threw down a sacrifice bunt for the second out. Berling walked Rafael Ynoa and allowed a second hit to Wise following the outs, and Tennessee manager Buddy Bailey decided he had seen enough.

Casey Weathers was brought on to finish off the inning, but the righty would struggle to find the strike zone. Weathers walked three batters and gave up yet another hit to Russell before ending the eight-hit inning on an Erickson pop out.

"I felt good after that one," manager Carlos Subero said. "We were able to break that nine-spot and it was good to get the bats going."

The Lookouts bullpen finished off the Smokies as reliever Luis Vasquez threw two innings and Dodgers No. 9 prospect Shawn Tolleson slammed the door shut with a three up, three down, two-strike out performance in the ninth.

The bullpen looked as if it was in mid-season form, but the offense coming to life was the most positive note of the game. Chattanooga ended the night with 16 hits on the board and five batters recording a multi-hit game.

Russell was the offensive star for Chattanooga, going 3-4 with two doubles. Russell drove in his first two runs of the season, and the power hitter showed patience at the plate by earning a walk and cutting out strikeouts for the night.

"I felt comfortable today," Russell said. "[Franklin Stubbs] and I went into the cage today and worked on small things. It's just the little nooks and crannies you have to go through during the season, and I felt more comfortable at the plate today. Things happen for a reason, we got some good hits today and we're going to try to do the same thing tomorrow."

The Lookouts will play game four of the five game series with the Tennessee Smokies at 2:15 p.m. EST Easter Sunday. Chattanooga's Matt Magill is scheduled to start against Smokies dealer Dae-Eun Rhee before the teams wrap up the series Monday night.