(Tennessee Smokies) Smokies’ 3B Jeimer Candelario continued his recent tear with two doubles, but Lookouts’ starter RHP D.J. Baxendale limited the Tennessee offense two just two runs, as Chattanooga emerged victorious, 6-2, on Wednesday night at AT&T Field.
With the loss, Tennessee drops to 21-25 on the season. Chattanooga’s victory bumps their overall mark for 2016 to 20-26.
Tennessee jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the second thanks to a Candelario (2-4, R, 2 2B, SO) double and a sacrifice fly by C Victor Caratini (1-3, RBI), but the advantage was short lived.
Chattanooga’s offense erupted in the third inning and never looked back. SS Leo Reginatto (2-3, R) kick started the rally with a single to center and an error by the Smokies allowed the Lookouts to avoid a rally-killing double play. The next hitter – 3B T.J. White (1-3, R, 3B, 2 RBI) – really made Tennessee pay by lacing a line shot into right-center field. Both runners came across the plate on White’s three-bagger to put Chattanooga ahead, 2-1.
The triple parade did not end there. Leadoff man – CF Zack Granite (1-3, R, 3B, RBI, BB) – followed with a screaming grounder down the first base line. White scored easily from third, while the former Seton Hall Pirate chugged his way third with a run-scoring triple of his own to stretch the Lookouts edge to 3-1.
In the sixth, Chattanooga added a couple of key insurance runs. With one out, 2B Ryan Walker (2-4, R) singled and proceeded to move to third on a stolen base and an errant pickoff throw. 1B D.J. Hicks (1-4, R, RBI, SO) made sure the error stung, as he drove home the runner with a RBI single to right, stretching the Lookouts lead to 4-1.
After a ground out moved Hicks to second, Chattanooga put another ball in the gap. This time it was RF Daniel Palka (1-4, 3B, RBI, SO) who came through as he smoked a ball into left. Hicks scored, as the former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket motored into third with the Lookouts’ third run-scoring triple of the night, putting the squad up, 5-1.
Tennessee pulled to within 5-2 in the seventh as a result of a RF Mark Zagunis (1-4, R) single, another Candelario double and a sacrifice fly by LF Billy McKinney (0-3, RBI, SO). Chattanooga added their final tally in the eighth on a RBI single to left by Walker.
Baxendale (6.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, SO) – a former standout at Arkansas – pitched admirably on Wednesday night en route to his fourth win of the year. The 2015 Southern League Mid-Season All-Star tossed a quality start, allowing two runs on four hits over 6.2 innings. During one stretch, Baxendale retired 14 straight Smokies hitters.
In his first Double-A start, Smokies’ RHP Stephen Perakslis (4.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 SO) suffered his first loss with Tennessee this season. The 25-year old showed great control, throwing 35 of his 46 pitches for strikes.
RHP Jose Rosario (2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER) made his Double-A debut for Tennessee after being added from High-A Myrtle Beach earlier in the day. The 25-year old tossed a perfect fifth inning, but surrendered two runs on three hits in the sixth.
Candelario (2-4, R, 2 2B, SO) continued his hot hitting for Tennessee, as his two doubles gives him a Southern League-leading 17 on the season. Walker (2-4, R) and Reginatto (2-3, R) each tallied multi-hit games and scored a run for the Lookouts.
Tennessee will look to even this five-game series on Thursday night. RHP Duane Underwood Jr. (0-1, 4.91 ERA) – the Cubs’ top pitching prospect according to Baseball America – is projected to toe the slab for the Smokies. LHP Nick Greenwood (2-0, 3.60 ERA) – who has pitched in 20 Major League games with the St. Louis Cardinals – is scheduled to get the start for Chattanooga.