CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Saturday evening's game got off to the start that the Barons had envisioned after a long overnight trip from Pensacola. Birmingham jumped on Chattanooga early with a two run first, but couldn't make the lead stand in the late innings, dropping game one of the five game series 9-6.
Trey Michalczewski kick started the night for Birmingham with a two-run double in the first inning off of Chattanooga starter Fernando Romero.
Staked to a two run lead before stepping on the mound, Barons starter Matt Cooper got off to a strong start against the Lookouts, not allowing a hit until the third inning. With two outs in the third, Tanner English and Nick Gordon started a rally, with English tripling into the left center field gap, and Gordon bringing him home on a double.
But Cooper would stand strong, through his 6.1 inning start, allowing five hits and three earned runs, while walking one and striking out six.
The trouble began for the Barons when Cooper departed up 3-1 in the seventh. With Connor Walsh on in relief, a Travis Harrison RBI groundout cut the lead to 3-2. Then with two outs, Lookouts manager Jake Mauer pressed the right button and went to his bench for Edgar Corcino. On the first pitch Corcino saw off the bench, he brought home two with a single to give the Lookouts a 4-3 lead.
Down by the same score in the eighth, the seesaw began to tilt. With two outs in the inning, Cleuluis Rondon registered his third hit of the game, a two-run double off the wall in left field to give the Barons the lead back at 5-4.
Unable to scratch across any more runs in the eighth, the Barons turned to Robinson Leyer in the bottom half of the inning. After loading the bases with no outs, Leyer seemed to be on the verge of escaping the inning unscathed, retiring the next two batters. But then the seesaw swayed again, this time in favor of the Lookouts. Leyer could not get through Dan Rohlfing, who blooped a two run double over the head of Keon Barnum to give the Lookouts the lead for good.
Chattanooga would tack on three more in the inning, as Corcino stung the Barons again with another two RBI base hit. Corcino would then come around to score on Gordon's second hit and second RBI of the night, giving the Lookouts a 9-5 lead.
Birmingham would attempt a rally in the ninth, scoring one, but coming up short in a 9-6 defeat. Mason Melotakis improved to 2-0 with the win in relief, while Leyer took the loss to drop to 0-3.
The Barons will be back in action on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Field in Chattanooga. First pitch is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. CT and it will be a Kopech Day as RHP Michael Kopech (2-2, 2.70) will get the ball for Birmingham, while righty Paul Clemens (1-0, 4.06) will be on the mound for the Lookouts. Curt Bloom will bring you all the action on WERC 105.5 FM and the iHeart Radio app, beginning with the Coca-Cola Pregame Show beginning at 1:05 p.m. CT.
For ticket information, game schedule, promotions calendar or for additional information about Regions Field, call (205) 988-3200, or visit www.barons.com, www.facebook.com/birminghambarons or on Twitter: @bhambarons.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.