CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (release) -- With skipper Buddy Bailey seeking his 1,600th career managerial win, the Tennessee Smokies were unable to hold a six-run lead as they fell to the Chattanooga Lookouts, 11-6 in the rubber match of a three-game series on Tuesday night at AT&T Field.
Trailing 6-0 in the third, the Lookouts plated 11 unanswered runs to win for the eighth time in their last nine contests. First baseman Luis Nunez led the charge, going 3-for-4 with eight RBIs. Mike Burgess tripled and drove in four runs for Tennessee as the Smokies fell to 6-7 in the second half and 41-42 overall.
With Zach Lee, the Dodgers’ top-ranked prospect according to Baseball America and MLB.com, making his second career Double-A start for the Lookouts , the Smokies plated five runs in the top of the first. Logan Watkins led off with his team-leading seventh triple and scored when the next batter, Junior Lake, singled to left to make it 1-0. Tennessee then loaded the bases and, with two outs, Mike Burgess unleashed a three-run triple to right to give the Smokies a 4-0 lead. Burgess scored on a Nelson Perez RBI double to put the Smokies up 5-0.
The Smokies took a 6-0 lead in the third when Greg Rohan led off with a double and scored later in the frame on an RBI ground out off the bat of Burgess.
The Lookouts broke through against Trey McNutt in the bottom of the third when an RBI double by Nunez cut their deficit to 6-1. Then in the fifth, a leadoff triple by Brahiam Maldonado chased McNutt from the contest and a Nunez sacrifice fly cut Chattanooga’s deficit to 6-2.
In the seventh, Chattanooga plated four runs to tie the contest at six. Buss led off with a triple and scored on an error on the same play to make it a 6-3 contest. A Jake Lemmerman RBI single later in the frame capped the comeback and evened the score, 6-6.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Lookouts loaded the bases and took their first lead of the day when Pedro Baez drew an RBI walk. Chattanooga re-loaded the bags and Nunez struck again, launching a grand slam to right to complete the scoring.
Neither starter factored in the decision. McNutt, who had lost three straight decisions and allowed 18 earned runs in his last 11.2 innings entering the night, scattered seven hits and walking three batters while allowing two runs over four innings. For Chattanooga, Lee surrendered six runs on seven hits in three innings of work.
Steve Ames (1-2) earned the win in relief for the Lookouts while Kevin Rhoderick (2-4) took the loss.
The Smokies return home to Smokies Park on Wednesday night at 7:15 p.m. when they open up a six-game homestand by welcoming the Jacksonville Suns into town for the first contest of a three-game series. In the series opener, Tennessee sends right-hander Dallas Beeler (3-5, 4.21 ERA) to the mound against Jacksonville southpaw Rob Rasmussen, who will make his Double-A debut.
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