CHATTANOOGA, TN – After trailing 2-0 early, the Jacksonville Suns (5-1) rattled off the next 12 runs of the game and ultimately downed the Chattanooga Lookouts (3-4) by a 12-3 final in game two of the Southern League Championship Series on Thursday from AT&T Field. With the win, the Suns now hold a 2-0 series lead.
Jon Link (W, 1-0) picked up the win for the Suns by allowing two runs (both earned) on seven hits with a walk and six strikeouts in his five innings of work.
James Nygren held the Lookouts without a run on a pair of hits and two strikeouts in his two scoreless innings of relief.
Blake Logan struck out the side in order in a scoreless 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth inning.
Jheyson Manzueta allowed a lone run (earned) on one hit with one strikeout in his one inning of work to finish off the ballgame in a non-save situation.
Steve Smith (L, 0-2) was saddled with the loss for Chattanooga after surrendering six runs (five earned) on seven hits with four walks and three strikeouts in his 5.2 innings.
The game was scoreless until the Lookouts broke through with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning. Steve Smith helped his own cause with a two-out, two-run single into right field to put Chattanooga up by a 2-0 score after two innings of play.
The Suns would hop on the scoreboard with two runs to tie the game up in the top of the fourth. A Jon Link RBI groundout brought in Terrence Dayleg to cut the lead in half, while the next batter Austin Nola contributed a two-out RBI single to make it a 2-2 ballgame after three and a half innings.
Jacksonville would then take the lead with a single run in the top of the fifth inning. Brady Shoemaker’s RBI double hugged the third base line and stayed fair to bring in J.T. Realmuto from second to give the Suns a 3-2 lead with four and a half innings complete.
The Suns added to their lead by sending 10 men to the plate and scoring five times in the top of the sixth, all of which came with two outs. Two-run home runs from Austin Barnes (HR, 2) and Viosergy Rosa (HR, 3) plus a Terrence Dayleg RBI single stretched Jacksonville’s lead to 8-2 after five and a half innings of play.
But the Suns were not done in the top of the ninth, scoring four more times to further their advantage. Back-to-back RBI doubles from J.T. Realmuto and Viosergy Rosa and a two-run homer from Brady Shoemaker (HR, 2) made it a 12-2 Suns lead with eight and a half innings in the books.
The Lookouts were able to cut into the lead with a run in the bottom of the ninth, using Chris O’Brien’s (HR, 3) leadoff homer to make it a 12-3 Suns lead and cap off the scoring in game two.
With the victory, the Jacksonville Suns now find themselves with a 2-0 series lead, needing one more victory to clinch the sixth Southern League Championship in the franchise’s history.
The Suns finished with 16 hits on the game, with nine of them going for extra bases. Every Suns position player in the starting lineup recorded a hit, including two-hit games from Brady Shoemaker and Terrence Dayleg and three-hit efforts from Austin Barnes, Viosergy Rosa and Isaac Galloway.
Lookouts position player Alex Liddi got the final out of the top of the ninth inning in his professional pitching debut.
The Suns and Lookouts will be back at it for game three of the Southern League Championship Series on Friday, as the series shifts back to Jacksonville with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. ET from Bragan Field. The Suns are set to throw out left-hander Justin Nicolino (1-0, 3.86) while the Lookouts are due to counter with right-hander Jeremy Kehrt (0-0, 1.80).
Suns fans can listen to Friday’s game on the Suns Baseball Network, 94.1 WSOS-FM or through www.jaxsuns.com, MiLB.com or the Suns iPhone or Android app beginning at 6:50 p.m. ET with the Memorial Hospital Suns Pregame Show.
The 2014 season of Suns baseball is presented by EverBank, the official banking partner of the Jacksonville Suns. Sponsorships, group outings, and season / individual game tickets are currently available by calling the Suns front office at (904) 358-2846.
Below are two highlights from Thursday’s ballgame: