CHATTANOOGA, Ten. - For only the second time in their 14-year history, the Montgomery Biscuits will play a do-or-die Game 5 for a Southern League Championship. Montgomery's 2-0 victory over the Chattanooga Lookouts in Game 4 on Saturday night at AT&T Field ensured that the North Division Series will go the distance behind a remarkable combined pitching effort by Biscuit arms.
Nathan Eovaldi, a Rays rehabber coming back from Tommy John surgery, started for the Biscuits and faced the minimum in his first and only inning, fanning a pair before handing the ball over to another Rays' rehabber, lefty reliever Xavier Cedeno. After Cedeno worked a scoreless second, the southpaw yielded for Logan Darnell (1-0), the Biscuits originally scheduled Game 4 starter.
Darnell went 4.2 innings of scoreless ball, surrendering just two hits and four walks, to go along with three strikeouts, but ran into some trouble in the sixth when he walked the bases loaded with one out. T.J. White, who hit a home run in each of the first three games of the series, then stepped up and struck out swinging for the second out. Darnell then got Max Murphy to groundout on a force play at third to end the threat and the inning.
The Biscuits struggled to get anything going against Twins rehabber Adalberto Mejia through five shutout innings, and it was the same in the sixth against reliever D.J. Baxendale (0-1). But in the seventh, after Justin Williams struck out to begin the inning, Grant Kay laced a single into right off Baxendale before a double-error on a ball hit by Dalton Kelly to first baseman Jonathan Rodriguez put Kelly at second and Kay at third. Chattanooga made four errors in the game.
Nick Ciuffo came up next and swung at the first pitch, hitting a rocket of a groundball to the second baseman Ryan Walker. Kay was running on contact, and the throw to the plate was tardy as the Biscuits grabbed a 1-0 lead on the RBI-fielder's choice. An inning later, after a Joe McCarthy double, Walker's second error of the night scored the Biscuits left fielder as Montgomery doubled their lead at 2-0.
Kyle Bird worked a scoreless inning of relief between the sixth and seventh, before Kyle Winkler got the final out in the eighth. Ian Gibaut struck out two in the bottom of the ninth and got Nick Gordon to bounce out to second to end the game and force a decisive Game 5 on Sunday night.
The Biscuits have now kept the Lookouts scoreless for 14.2 innings, dating back to the fourth inning of their Game 3 loss at home when White hit a two-run home run off Genesis Cabrera. The Biscuits will send Benton Moss (4-5) to the mound against Dietrich Enns (NR) in Game 5 for a chance to win the Southern League Championship for the first time since 2007. First pitch is at 5:15 CT at AT&T Field on Sunday night.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.