KODAK, Tenn. (release) -- Three hitters extended their hitting streaks Saturday night, but the Tennessee Smokies were unable to overcome a four-run deficit and fell to the Chattanooga Lookouts, 6-4, in front of 5,068 at Smokies Park. The Smokies fall to 33-21 on second half and 67-56 overall and now hold a six-game lead on second-place Jackson with 15 games to go in the second half.
Both starting pitchers, Eric Jokisch for Tennessee and Ross Stripling for Chattanooga, surrendered only a hit over their first five innings of work. The Lookouts would strike first in the sixth inning on Jokisch when Joc Pederson drove home Matt Wallach with an RBI single.
The Lookouts would score three more times in the seventh inning to take a 4-0 lead. However, Tennessee would fight back in their half of the seventh inning. Justin Bour reached on a one-out walk and advanced to second on a single by John Andreoli. Christian Villanueva doubled to deep left to score Bour from second narrow the Smokies deficit, 4-1. The next batter, Brett Jackson laced a line drive that was snared by first baseman J.T. Wise and Wise was able to double-up Villanueva at second to end the Smokies’ threat.
Smokies reliever Yeiper Castillo would give up two runs in the eighth to give Chattanooga a 6-1 advantage. The Smokies would attempt another late-inning rally in the eighth inning. Rafael Lopez and Jonathan Mota led off the frame with back-to-back singles. The pair would advance a base on a long fly out by Matt Szczur and Lopez would score on a sacrifice fly by Arismendy Alcantara. Javier Baez and Bour followed with RBI-hits to bring the Smokies within two runs, 6-4.
Michael Thomas (S, 2) would retire the Smokies in the ninth inning to secure the victory for the Lookouts.
Jokisch (10-11) took the loss for the Smokies allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits and striking out five in 6.1 innings. Stripling (6-3) picked up the win allowing just the one hit to Bour in the fourth inning, striking out five in six innings.
Baez (1-for-3), Bour (2-for-4) and Mota (1-for-1) all extended their hitting streaks to seven games apiece.
The Smokies will now head to Birmingham, Ala. to take on the Birmingham Barons starting Sunday at Regions Field. The team will return home for the final homestand of the regular season to take on the Mobile BayBears beginning on Friday, August 23 at Smokies Park. For tickets or more information, visit www.smokiesbaseball.com or call 865-286-2300.