Chattanooga Takes Two from Birmingham

The Chattanooga Lookouts (7-8) topped the Birmingham Barons (7-8) 9-2 Thursday night, riding the bullpen for eight innings.

Dodgers No. 3 prospect Nathan Eovaldi was scheduled to start for the Lookouts, but the former big leaguer exited the game after just one inning of work. Eovoldi said he does not know why he was pulled from the game, and manager Carlos Subero said he was unsure of the circumstances.

"We don't know what's going to happen yet," Subero said. "It's just one of those scheduled starts. Hopefully he'll be ready to go next time… There's no news right now."

With Eovoldi exiting after the first inning, it did not look promising for Chattanooga. Reliever Jon Michael Redding entered the game sporting a 7.11 ERA in just six and two-thirds innings pitched, the second highest ERA of the Chattanooga bullpen.

Tonight was a different story for the former starter. Not expecting a call so early in the game, Redding gave up only three hits through four innings of work. The Barons were able to draw first blood on an RBI single off Redding to put Birmingham up 1-0 in the third inning, but the right-hander went on to strike out four batters, earning his second win of the season.

The Chattanooga offense delivered with two runs in the fourth inning in support of Redding. Right fielder Pedro Baez coaxed a walk and Blake Smith crushed a homerun over the wall in right center the following at bat. The two-run shot was Smith's first of the season the tear did not stop there for Smith.

The cleanup hitter started a two-out, three-run sixth inning and drove in two runs in the seventh inning with his third hit of the night. Smith finished the night 3-4 with a season-high four RBI.

"It was a big confidence booster," Smith said. "A weight was lifted off my shoulders. I just relaxed more and it felt good. When our guys are clicking, we're a pretty big threat out there. We had guys getting big two-out hits and guys were picking each other up when they had to."

Chattanooga is now three games behind first-place Jackson in the Southern League North and will travel to Sevierville, Tenn., to take on the Tennessee Smokies (7-7) for the second time this season. Chattanooga went 1-4 against Tennessee to open the 2012 schedule.

The Lookouts are 4-1 on the road this season, taking four games in Jacksonville, Fla., from the Suns. Allen Webster (1-2, 4.70 ERA) is scheduled to start Friday against Tennessee. Webster pitched just three and one-third innings against the Smokies in his opening night start, giving up seven hits and two runs. Webster struggled with control in the first start, walking five batters while striking out just seven.

"I just need to get my fastball command," Webster said after the rocky start. "Once I get my fastball command, everything else will work." Webster has pitched six innings in each of his last two starts, earning both a win and loss in the starts. In each of the last two starts, Webster has shown great command, walking just two batters while striking out 10.

Webster seems to have found his fastball command, and the young right-hander is taking advantage of the sinker by jamming it in on the hands of batters. Webster is sporting a 2.00 fly out/ground out ratio going into the series.