From the Smokies--
KODAK, Tenn. - The Tennessee Smokies rode a three-run seventh inning to their sixth win in seven games in a 4-1 victory over the Chattanooga Lookouts (16-34, 51-69) in the opening game of their five-game series at Smokies Park. With the win, the Smokies (30-20, 64-55) take a 4.5 game lead over Birmingham for first place in the Southern League North Division.
The Smokies got on the board early against Lookouts starter Garrett Gould (2-4). Christian Villanueva hit a one-out double, advanced to third on a groundout by Brett Jackson and scored on a Rafael Lopez single to give Tennessee a 1-0 lead.
In the seventh inning, Nate Samson drew a lead off, pinch-hit walk and later scored on an RBI-single by Alcantara to give the Smokies a 2-0 lead. A few batters later, Silva hit a two-run single to score Matt Szczur and Alcantara, bringing the Smokies lead to 4-0.
Smokies starter Eduardo Figueroa (1-1) picked up his first Double-A victory going five innings of scoreless baseball, giving up six hits, a walk and a strikeout in the process.
Reliever Hunter Cervenka pitched out of two jams in his two innings of work and did not yield a run. He gave up one hit, walked one and struck out three.
The Lookouts would get a run in the eighth inning off of reliever Dayan Diaz on a Miguel Rojas double, scoring pitcher Jarret Martin, who hit for himself in the inning.
Diaz would pitch the ninth inning for the Smokies and struck out Rafael Ynoa on a called strike three to end the game. He threw two innings and gave up a hit, a run, a walk and struck out three.
Szczur and Villanueva led Tennessee's 9-hit offensive attack, both going 2-3 with a run and a walk.
The Smokies and Lookouts will play Game 2 of this five-game series on Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. at Smokies Park. Tennessee will send righty Dae-Eun Rhee (3-1, 3.79) to the mound to take on the Lookouts lefty Chris Reed (3-9, 3.64). Wednesday is Buck night at Smokies Park, so come on out and enjoy hot dogs, small sodas and small popcorns for only $1 each. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.smokiesbaseball.com or call 865-286-2300.