Wednesday night's matchup between the Barons and Lookouts placed two newcomers against one another. Included in the Luis Castillo trade, Levi Stoudt made his Cincinnati Reds debut for the Chattanooga Lookouts. Conversely, Birmingham's newest arm, Matthew Thompson, earned the promotion from High-A Winston-Salem earlier this week. Early on, there was
Wednesday night's matchup between the Barons and Lookouts placed two newcomers against one another. Included in the Luis Castillo trade, Levi Stoudt made his Cincinnati Reds debut for the Chattanooga Lookouts. Conversely, Birmingham's newest arm, Matthew Thompson, earned the promotion from High-A Winston-Salem earlier this week. Early on, there was no question which fresh fish flexed harder than the other.
Chattanooga posted five hits through the first two innings, and all but one of them was an extra-base knock. Specifically, the Lookouts led things off with a triple high off the right-field wall. The next batter drove in the ballgame's first run via groundout. After a swift seven-pitch bottom-half, Chattanooga added two more runs in the second thanks to a single, double, and another triple. Seemingly, Thompson's night appeared to be over before it really started.
But then, the former 2nd-round pick settled into his own and shoved back-to-back scoreless frames. The fourth especially stood out because he struck out the side. However, in the fifth, that stretch faded into the night, as did Thompson himself. Mitch McLain ended Thompson's night by destroying a solo home run at 111 mph and 426 feet. Consequently, the Lookouts jumped out to an early four-nothing lead. The Southern League's best offense benefited from just two hits through five full frames.
Although the game felt one-sided with Thompson out there, when Kaleb Roper entered, matters worsened tremendously. Albeit, not all the mistakes were Roper's fault. Most importantly, Oscar Colas allowed a baseball to roll under his glove. Doing so allowed one unearned run to come around. However, it didn't change the fact that Chattanooga put together a double and three straight singles. As a result, their lead grew even more, as Birmingham headed into the bottom of the sixth down seven runs.
That said, Jose Rodriguez energized this crowd somewhat with his third long ball of the season. The two-run blast boosted Rodriguez's Souther-League leading hit total to 102. Subsequently, D.J. Burt exemplified his wheels by walking to first, stealing second, advancing to third on a bad throw, and finally scoring on a 111 mph groundout from Oscar Colas.
A scoreless top half generated some hope for the Barons, especially when they loaded up the bases. However, they failed to cash in the runner, worsening their season-long trend of leaving ducks on the pond. The missed opportunity came back to bite Birmingham as Chattanooga added two more in the eighth, giving them a 9-3 lead.
Ultimately, the dueling debuts certainly leaned in favor of the Lookouts' Levi Stoudt. In comparison, Stoudt dealt for five full innings, allowed just two hits, walked nobody, and punched out six Barons. On the other side, Birmingham's Thompson overcame the shaky start to finish off 4.1 innings, but not before giving up seven hits and four earned runs. In the end, Magic City dropped their second consecutive game, this time by a wide margin of 9-3. Back at it again tomorrow, as Sean Burke hopes to turn this series around for Birmingham.