The Birmingham Barons in Game 4 gave it their all against the Chattanooga Lookouts. In their losing efforts the Barons were fighting back most of the game and finally completed the comeback in the eighth to take the lead. The Lookouts were determined to come away with the win and
The Birmingham Barons in Game 4 gave it their all against the Chattanooga Lookouts. In their losing efforts the Barons were fighting back most of the game and finally completed the comeback in the eighth to take the lead. The Lookouts were determined to come away with the win and with two-outs sent a no-doubt home run over the left field wall to seal the 6-4 victory.
Despite the outcome, the battle between the two foes was filled with action. Starting in the top of the first inning as Barons newcomer LHP Tommy Sommer got his first start of the season in Double-A.
As a player who split time between Single-A Kannapolis and High-A Winston-Salem, Sommer had some nerves to shake off at the beginning of the game. Despite the nerves leading to some tough innings, the southpaw wouldn’t allow his first hit until a two-run home run in the third. The Lookouts would jump to an early lead, however Sommer was able to fight off the home team with two shutout innings to close his night.
Sommer finished his Barons 5.0 inning debut with one hit, two earned runs and five strikeouts. The 24 year-old wasn’t perfect from the bump, nevertheless he held the opposition to minimal offense.
The Barons were not the only side to have a solid outing from their starting pitcher. The Lookouts starter held the Barons in check, only allowing one hit through 5.0 IP. That one hit came off the bat of first-baseman Xavier Fernandez in a double, his first of two on the night.
Fernandez continued his frenzy that he is on this series, finishing the night 3-3 accounting for a run and two doubles.
Chattanooga’s starter didn’t just hold the Barons to one hit in his efforts, he threw 10 strikeouts which ties the record for most strikeouts against Birmingham by a single pitcher.
The Barons may not have been able to put any runs on the board against the Lookouts starter, but were able to pounce once the bullpen was called upon for the rest of the game. A fresh pitcher did one thing for the away team: Give them the confidence to steal the momentum.
Shortstop Jose Rodriguez got things going in the sixth inning with a single, and the Barons second hit of the game. Rodriguez was the spark that lit the fuse to get the bats to heat up. Yet, one batter later the Barons would be down to their final out in the inning due to Chattanooga turning a double play.
Battling through adversity is nothing new to the Barons, and Fernandez displayed that with his second double of the night to get himself into scoring position. Fernandez wouldn’t stay at second for too long as center-fielder Yoelqui Céspedes would drive him in with an RBI triple, the Barons third of the year. Cutting the deficit in half was a high priority for Birmingham, however catcher Adam Hackenberg wanted more.
Hackenberg would knot the game at two a-piece with an RBI single to score Céspedes from third. The Barons offense was finally able to get runners on and across the plate, and in efforts to keep the momentum on the away side the team turned to LHP Garrett Crochet.
Crochet was tasked with two innings of work, in which he allowed three hits, one walk, three strikeouts and a lone earned run. The southpaw started his last two appearances slow, however in this outing was able to finish strong, sitting down his final two batters in strikeouts.
Birmingham has embraced the MLB experienced pitcher and has enjoyed their time with him. To show their appreciation the Barons gifted Crochet a two-run top of the eighth inning.
The elite eighth inning started with the red-hot Fernandez dropping a ball into shallow right-field. Birmingham wanted to take advantage of the two-out base hit by putting some speed on the bag in Andy Atwood. The swap would pay off in a big way as Céspedes would double to put a pair in scoring position. Céspedes would finish his night 2-5 with an RBI, a double and a triple.
One batter later Hackenberg would swap places with Céspedes on a two-run double to give the Barons the 4-3 lead. Now with all the momentum mounting for the Barons, RHP Vince Vannelle was brought in the inch the team closer to a victory.
Vannelle in his sole inning of work gave up one earned run, however was able to escape the inning without further damage done. The righty finished his night giving up two hits, one earned run and captured one strikeout.
The Barons had built up enough momentum that the run in the bottom of the eighth was not as damaging as it could have been. Birmingham mustered up the remaining energy that they had to load the bases in the top of the ninth.
However, the Barons were running on fumes once the final out in the top half of the inning happened. Birmingham brought on RHP Nick Gallagher to take on the ninth, and was able to capture two strikeouts to start his outing.
Gallagher was not able to close the door on the victory as the final batter of the game smacked a two-run no-doubter to walk-off the game.
Birmingham went nine rounds with the Lookouts in Game 4. If this entails how the rest of the series will go, neither of these teams are going to make it easier to win the series.