Smokies drop fifth straight, 6-4

KODAK, Tenn. (Team release) -- The Tennessee Smokies were unable to hold on to a three-run lead late into Sunday evening’s game with the Chattanooga Lookouts and fell 6-4 at Smokies Park. The loss, their fifth in a row, drops the Smokies to 8-10 in the season’s second half and 51-37 overall.

For the first time in the series, the Smokies scored first, Chattanooga starter Chris Withrow walked the bases loaded with one out, and Nelson Perez brought in Ryan Flaherty with a sac fly to left, making it 1-0.

The Smokies extended the lead to 3-0 an inning later. Withrow walked the bases loaded again, then Rebel Ridling grounded out to score Brett Jackson and Flaherty singled to bring in Nate Samson.

Tennessee starter Ryan Searle was excellent in his second start for the Smokies, receiving a no-decision after holding the Lookouts to no runs and only one hit while striking out eight over 5.2 innings. The right-hander gave way to Kevin Rhoderick after walking the bases loaded in the sixth, and Rhoderick worked out of the jam to keep Chattanooga off the board.

The Smokies bullpen was unable to hold the lead for Searle in the later innings, however. In the seventh, Gorman Erickson came in on a bases-loaded hit by pitch, by Kevin Rhoderick, and Ivan Ochoa scored on a Hector Gimenez sac fly, narrowing the deficit to 3-2. The Lookouts struck again, this time off Jeff Beliveau, and took a 6-3 lead in the eighth, as Scott Van Slyke, Travis Denker, and Ochoa all hit solo homers and Gimenez brought in Elian Herrera with a sac fly to left.

Blake Lalli scored on a wild pitch to bring the Smokies within 6-4 in the bottom half, but Perez stranded two runners with a strikeout to end the inning. They were unable to rally in the ninth, as Lookouts closer Josh Lindblom retired the hitters in order.

Rafael Dolis finished the game for Tennessee going the final 1.2 innings, allowing one runs on no hits walking four and striking out one.

Will Savage (9-3) picked up the win for Chattanooga after hurling five scoreless innings in relief, and Lindblom recorded his 13th save of the season. Beliveau (4-1) took the loss for the Smokies after allowing three runs on three hits in an inning pitched.

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