CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Nick Struck fanned a career-high 10 batters as the Tennessee Smokies opened the 2012 campaign with a 4-1 win over the Chattanooga Lookouts on Thursday night at AT&T Field.
Tennessee pitchers combined to strike out 13 batters as the Smokies out-hit Chattanooga, 12-5. Struck (1-0) fired six innings and allowed just one run on four hits while walking one. Kevin Rhoderick followed with scoreless innings of relief before Frank Batista retired the side in order in the ninth to notch the save.
Following a 55-minute rain delay prior to first pitch, Tennessee opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the top of the third inning. After Logan Watkins singled with one out and stole second, center fielder Jae-Hoon Ha laced a double to left to give the Smokies a 1-0 lead. Ha then advanced to third on a balk before coming plateward on a Justin Bour single to make it 2-0.
After allowing a leadoff double to Pedro Baez in the bottom of the fifth, Struck fanned the side to help the Smokies maintain their 2-0 lead. The Lookouts finally broke through in the sixth when they loaded the bases with one out and plated their first run of the contest on an RBI groundout by Brian Cavazos-Galvez to cut their deficit to 2-1, but Struck limited the damage by striking out the final two batters of the frame.
Bour gave the Smokies some breathing room when he led off the top of the eighth inning with his first career Double-A home run to extend the Tennessee advantage to 3-1. Tennessee capped the scoring with a Watkins RBI single in the ninth inning to make it 4-1.
Lookouts starter Allen Webster (0-1) struggled with his command and took the loss, walking five batters while allowing two runs on seven hits over 3.1 innings.
Bour and Watkins each finished with three hits in the contest.
The Smokies and Lookouts continue their five-game, season-opening series on Friday night at 7:15 p.m. at AT&T Field when Tennessee sends right-hander Trey McNutt to the mound against Chattanooga righty Ethan Martin.
GAME NOTES: The top four hitters in the Tennessee lineup (Jim Adduci, Logan Watkins, Jae-Hoon Ha, and Justin Bour) combined to go 10-for-19 with four RBIs and three runs scored… In four career road starts with Tennessee, Struck has allowed just two earned runs in 23 innings, good for a 0.78 ERA away from Smokies Park… Including last year’s postseason, the Smokies have now won four straight meetings against Chattanooga.
ABOUT THE TENNESSEE SMOKIES
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 over 100 years. To learn more about the Tennessee Smokies, visit www.smokiesbaseball.com.
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