Chattanooga, Tenn. -(Smokies) Chattanooga Lookouts starter Andres Santiago pitched a nine inning no-hitter and struck out 12 while leading the Lookouts to a 1-0 victory versus Tennessee at AT&T Field on Thursday night.
The loss dropped the Smokies (32-34, 65-70) out of a tie for first in the Second Half standings and was their seventh straight. Tennessee now trails Chattanooga (32-32, 58-76) by one game with just four remaining this season.
Santiago faced the minimum and walked only one in the game. He struck out 12, including three straight strikeouts in the ninth to finish the gem. Santiago induced seven groundouts versus three flyouts and threw 109 pitches with 72 counting for strikes.
An eighth inning walk taken by Christian Villanueva was all that prevented Santiago from pitching a perfect game in game one of the five game series.
Villanueva walked with one out in the eighth, but would be caught in a double play moments later to end the inning.
The only run in the game came in the second when Santiago's battery mate Chris O'Brien hit a solo home run off Tennessee starter Felix Pena.
Pena allowed just one run and five hits over five innings. He struck out four and walked two while taking the loss. Jeff Lorick worked two and 2/3 inning out of the bullpen and struck out four. Tony Zych retired one batter in the eighth and pitched just 1/3 of an inning.
The no-hitter was the first thrown against Tennessee since September 7, 2007 when the Smokies played the Huntsville Stars during postseason play. It was also the first regular season no-hitter against the Smokies since May 22, 2002.
Santiago's gem was the first nine-inning no hitter thrown by a Lookouts' pitcher since Travis Buckley accomplished the feat on June 1, 1996.
The series continues on Friday night at AT&T Field with first pitch scheduled for 7:15 PM ET. The Smokies will send Corey Black (6-7, 3.26) to the mound against Chattanooga's Nick Struck (5-6, 5.22 ERA). The game can be heard on online as well as WJBE 1040 AM and 99.7 FM in the Knoxville area.