Eovaldi Strong, But Lookouts Fall 3-2

CHATTANOOGA-- Dodgers No. 2 prospect Nathan Eovoldi pitched well in his first appearance of the season for Chattanooga (1-4), despite no offensive support from the Lookouts lineup. The Looks' fell 3-2 to the Tennessee Smokies (4-1), dropping to 1-4 after the first series of the season.

Eovoldi took to the mound April 8 after the fifth spot in the rotation was labeled "TBA" for most of the Tennessee series for fear of Ted Lilly being unable to make his scheduled start for the Dodgers, but while the youngster did not get the quick call-back to the majors, he will not stay in Double-A much longer with performances similar to Monday's outing.

The right-hander tossed five innings for Chattanooga, allowing just one run to score during his four-hit showing. Eovoldi had three three-up, three-down innings, laboring a bit in the fifth inning, but a double play ball gave the experienced hurler the outs he needed to escape from the tough frame.

Back-to-back hits from Smokies right fielder Mike Burgess and catcher Mike Brenly, followed by a walk issued to shortstop Elliot Soto, put Eovoldi in a rough situation early in the fifth with no outs. Starting pitcher Brooks Raley helped his own cause with a sacrifice fly to bring home a Tennessee run, but a 4-3 double play from second baseman Jake Lemmerman sent the Lookouts to the plate with a 1-1 tie to break.

Eovoldi said he felt good in his first start, looking to work ahead in the counts and working on different pitches, but he did not feel like he got calls he felt he should have.

"Great misses," pitching coach Chuck Crimm called Eovoldi's close calls. "That was one of the reasons he got promoted to the big leagues last year was because he stays on the edges and makes quality pitches."

Eovoldi also scored Chattanooga's first run of the game in the third inning after drawing a walk in his first at-bat. Center fielder Nick Buss tripled home the pitcher, but the scoring chances for the Lookouts ended when Buss was thrown out at the plate on a fly out to center.

The Looks' would not score again until the seventh inning when yet another triple, this time off the bat of third baseman Pedro Baez, drove in first baseman Travis Denker. Denker scored all the way from first after singling to begin the inning, but the Tennessee bullpen sat down nine of the next 10 Chattanooga batters to shut down the Lookouts offense.

Lookouts reliever Steven Ames (0-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing the game-winning run to score in the top of the ninth inning. Alberto Cabrera (1-0) walked away with the win for the Smokies and Frank Batista earned his third save of the season.

After a tough week at AT&T Field the Lookouts hit the road for a five-game series, beginning today, in Jacksonville, Tenn., to take on the Suns. The Miami Double-A affiliate is 3-2 going into the series after taking three games from the Huntsville Stars.

While manager Carlos Subero was impressed with the team's pitching and phenomenal defensive display, Subero is looks for improvements at the plate when the Lookouts roll into the sunshine state.

"I think one thing that sticks out is our defense," Subero said. "Our defense was outstanding in the first series, our pitching was outstanding and our hitting wasn't. We just had one game where we were able to score 10 runs, but the other four games, I think we scored three yesterday, then two, one and zero. We should be able to get right, it's just a matter of early in the year."

After the first series, Chattanooga has three players batting over .300, two batting .400 or better. Catcher J.T. Wise leads the Looks' with a .462 average, while Denker is batting an even .400 and Kyle Russell is at .357.