published Saturday, April 6th, 2013

Stars edge shaky Lookouts

Chattanooga Lookouts right fielder Yasiel Puig safely steals second ahead of a throw to Huntsville shortstop Ozzie Chavez during their season opener Friday at AT&T Field.
Chattanooga Lookouts right fielder Yasiel Puig safely steals second ahead of a throw to Huntsville shortstop Ozzie Chavez during their season opener Friday at AT&T Field.
Photo by Doug Strickland.

They play 140 of these things, so there should be cleaner contests down the road.

The Chattanooga Lookouts dropped their season opener Friday night at AT&T Field, losing 7-5 to the Huntsville Stars in a game that contained seven errors. Chattanooga committed five, which led to four unearned runs for the Stars.

"It was a little surprising, because we actually played very sound, solid defense in spring training," Lookouts manager Jody Reed said. "It leads me to think that maybe there was a little tightness and nerves. I get it, because I've been there. At the beginning of the year, you're trying to do everything right. A lot of times when you're trying too hard, things happen."

Lookouts first baseman Chris Jacobs, playing in his first Double-A game, had three fielding errors.

"I don't know if it was nerves," Jacobs said. "This was my first time here, so it was a new field with new reads. It just didn't go my way tonight, and I've got to come back tomorrow. I know I have the talent to play here."

A crowd of 5,845 attended Friday's game, which became the opener after Thursday's contest was rained out.

Touted Lookouts right fielder Yasiel Puig didn't disappoint in his Double-A debut, going 2-for-3 and stealing a base. Puig struck out in the first inning, singled to left in the third, singled to center in the fifth and drew a walk in the eighth.

In 59 plate appearances during spring-training games in big-league camp, Puig never walked.

"Was I right about the excitement?" Reed said. "He's exciting to watch, and you never know what's going to happen out there. You watch him on those bases, and you wonder what's going to happen. That's what you're going to get.

"You're going to get some mistakes, and you're going to get some flashes of greatness, but that's why he's here."

In the early going, it appeared as if Huntsville would gift-wrap a win for the Lookouts.

Rafael Ynoa doubled down the left-field line in Chattanooga's first at-bat of the season, and he scored when Stars third baseman Mike Walker failed to field Blake Smith's two-out grounder. Smith took second on the throw home and scored when Huntsville shortstop Ozzie Chavez allowed a C.J. Retherford grounder to roll through his legs.

Smith's two-run double to left-center in the third inning scored Ynoa and Puig to give the Lookouts a 4-0 lead.

Lookouts starting pitcher Zach Lee worked three scoreless innings before having his fourth and final inning begin with a Retherford throwing error from third and the first error by Jacobs. Brock Kjeldgaard capitalized with a triple to right to pull Huntsville within 4-2.

The Stars knotted the game at 4 in the fifth inning when Kentrail Davis reached on a Jacobs fielding error and scored on Rene Tosoni's single to center. They took a 6-4 lead in the sixth on the strength of singles by Adam Weisenbuger, pinch-hitter Shawn Zarraga and Nick Shaw that opened the inning.

"I thought Zach threw the ball well," Reed said. "Some miscues out there really added on to his pitch count."

Chris Reed is scheduled to start tonight's 7:15 game for the Lookouts, with Taylor Jungmann scheduled for the Stars.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

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 ...

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