KODAK, Tenn. (release) -- Having won seven of their last nine games, The Tennessee Smokies were looking to extend their five-game winning streak heading into the last two weeks of the regular season. Instead, the Smokies fell to the Chattanooga Lookouts in 11 innings at Smokies Park, 3-2. The loss drops the Smokies to 32-24 on the season’s second half, 75-51 overall. Tennessee also falls to 2.5 games behind Chattanooga for the second-half title.
The Smokies wasted no time in jumping out to an early lead. Jae-Hoon Ha singled and stole second, then scored on a Rebel Ridling single to make it 1-0.
Junior Lake and Nelson Perez led off the second with back-to-back singles, and Jonathan Mota grounded into a force out, and an error by Lookouts SS Jake Lemmerman allowed Lake to score and extended the Smokies lead, 2-0.
Chattanooga tied the game with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
Brooks Raley put together a strong outing for the Smokies, going 6.1 innings and allowing two runs on nine hits while striking out two. The left-hander gave way to Marcus Hatley in the seventh, and Hatley killed a Chattanooga seventh-inning threat by inducing an inning-ending double play ball with runners at first and third and one out.
Chattanooga starter Stephen Fife (4-3) quieted the Smokies offense going eight innings allowing five hits, and retiring the final 15 batters he faced.
Rafael Dolis relieved Hatley in the eighth inning, and didn’t allow a hit in two scoreless frames as the Smokies took the game to extras. Marco Carrillo (5-3) took over in the tenth, and an inning later, surrendered a solo home run to Scott Van Slyke putting the Lookouts ahead 3-2.
The Smokies tried to mount a rally in the bottom half off Lookouts closer Shawn Tolleson (S, 10), as Ha singled with one out and advanced to third on a Josh Vitters single, who was called out trying to stretch his hit into a double. Ridling walked to put runners at the corners with two outs, but Steve Clevenger left both stranded with a groundout to end the game.
The two teams will battle it out in Game 2 Monday night at 7:15 p.m. at Smokies Park. Tennessee will send Eric Jokisch (0-0, 9.00) against Chattanooga’s Michael Antonini (9-8, 3.94). Fans can purchase tickets by visiting www.smokiesbaseball.com or by calling (865) 286-2300.