Hainley Statia’s two-run double to left-center field in the top of the 14th inning propelled Huntsville to a 3-1 victory Thursday night at AT&T Field over the Chattanooga Lookouts, who had no answer following the 14th-inning stretch.
Thursday’s game lasted 4 hours and 53 minutes, and it contained a 32-minute delay before the top of the eighth inning when Huntsville manager Mike Guerrero thought Lookouts manager Carlos Subero had called for a double switch. Subero insisted he had not, and the result was the umpires holding multiple conversations with both managers and even going into the locker room to check the rule book.
Guerrero said the game was continuing under protest.
“There was never a double switch signaled,” crew chief Anthony Johnson said. “He was under the impression that he wasn’t given the right signal as far as the umpire coming to him and telling him exactly what was going on. It’s a common courtesy and he thought we should tell him that, but as far as everything on the lineup, it was correct.”
What led to the confusion was Hector Gimemez pinch-hitting in the eighth spot for shortstop Ivan Ochoa in the bottom of the seventh and Jaime Pedroza pinch-hitting for pitcher Nate Eovaldi. Pedroza stayed in the game to play second base and relief pitcher Scott Rice entered the game and was slotted to bat in the eight hole.
“Technically that is not a double switch,” said Dusty Dellinger, the evaluator of all 45 Double-A umpires. “A pitcher came into the game, and the only spot he could go to was the eighth. There was never any flip-flopping, so what Chattanooga did is legit.”
Huntsville took a 1-0 lead in the top of the 12th inning when Lee Haydel’s two-out single up the middle scored Erik Komatsu. The Lookouts answered when Scott Van Slyke’s two-out single to left scored Elian Herrera.
The chaos from the delay overshadowed a phenomenal night on the mound by Eovaldi and Huntsville counterpart Wily Peralta. The two starters combined to allow just two hits through five innings — doubles in the first and third inning by Lookouts leadoff hitter Alfredo Silverio.
Eovaldi, who turned 21 in February, worked seven scoreless innings and had a no-hitter through six. In his two second-half starts at AT&T Field, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound right-hander from Alvin, Texas, has thrown 14 scoreless innings with five hits allowed and 10 strikeouts.
His no-hit bid ended in the top of the seventh when Matt Cline opened by singling up the middle on an 0-2 pitch. The Stars put runners on second and third with one out, but Eovaldi intentionally walked Erik Komatsu before getting Brock Kjeldgaard to ground into a double play.
“My defense was making all the plays behind me, and I was able to locate my pitches,” Eovaldi said.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...