CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Smokies Baseball) -- Robert Whitenack’s seven scoreless innings was enough for the Smokies to down the Lookouts 6-2 on Tuesday night at AT&T Park. With the victory, the Smokies improve to a 23-16 overall record while the Lookouts drop to 20-19.
The Smokies took the lead in the top of the first when Marwin Gonzalez got on base with a one out walk. D.J. LeMahieu doubled on a fly ball to right field to put runners on second and third. In the very next at-bat, Rebel Ridling singled to center field, scoring both Gonzalez and LeMahiu and giving the Smokies a 2-0 lead.
After three scoreless innings the Smokies added to their lead in the top of the fifth. Luis Flores led off with a line drive double to left field. After a sacrifice bunt by RHP Robert Whitenack, Jae-Hoon Ha tripled to center field, scoring Flores and making it a 3-0 Smokies lead. Tennessee added another run in the top of the sixth when Matt Spencer reached base on a two out walk. Nate Samson reached on an infield single and Spencer advanced to third base on a throwing error by Ivan Ochoa. Flores followed up with a single to left field, plating Spencer and giving the Smokies a 4-0 advantage.
In the top of the eighth, the Smokies added another run to their lead. Josh Vitters led off the frame with a double to right field. With two outs, Vitters advanced to third base on a passed ball and Nelson Perez singled to center field, scoring Vitters and giving a 5-0 lead to the Smokies. In the top of the ninth, the Smokies added their final insurance run of the game. Gonzalez and LeMahieu led off the with back-to-back singles. Ridling grounded into a double play to erase Gonzalez and LeMahieu from the bases, but was able to reach first base. Vitters then singled to right field to move Ridling to second base and Spencer followed up with a single of his own to plate Ridling, making it 6-0.
The Lookouts were able to get on the board in the ninth off RHP Rafael Dolis. Chattanooga scored twice before Dolis struck out Ochoa to end the game. Whitenack (4-0) tossed seven innings, giving up no runs on three hits. LHP Michael Antonini (2-6) took the loss, giving up three earned runs on six hits in five innings.
The Smokies will play the rubber game against the Lookouts at 11:15 AM on Wednesday afternoon at AT&T Park. The Smokies send RHP Trey McNutt (1-2, 2.29 ERA) and the Lookouts will start RHP Chris Withrow (0-4, 6.12 ERA). The Smokies return home for a five game series against the Mobile BayBears beginning Thursday, May 19th at 7:15. Tickets can be purchased at www.smokiesbaseball.com or by calling (865) 286-2300.
The Tennessee Smokies are the minor league Class AA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. Members of the 10-team Southern League, Smokies baseball has been entertaining families and fans of America’s national pastime in the East Tennessee region for 100 years. To learn more about the Tennessee Smokies, visit www.smokiesbaseball.com.