Jacksonville Sports Day

SUNS: Jacksonville Tops Lookouts 7-3

The Jacksonville Suns (20-21, 50-61) defeated the Chattanooga Lookouts (20-21, 56-55) by a 7-3 score in the first game of the five-game series at AT&T Field on Friday night.

Suns starter and former Twins farmhand Chris Mazza (4-3) earned the win, turning in five innings where he allowed three runs on eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Lookouts starter Aaron Slegers (8-6) took the loss, allowing four unearned runs on six hits with no walks and four strikeouts.

The Lookouts started the scoring with a solo homer by Niko Goodrum in the bottom of the second. The Suns responded in the top of the third when a throwing error by shortstop Engelb Vielma off a groundball hit by Austin Dean scored two runs to give Jacksonville a 2-1 edge.

The Suns added a pair of runs in the top of the fifth. J.T. Riddle extended his hitting streak to 24 consecutive games with a base hit when he brought home Kenny Wilson on an RBI single to make it a 3-1 game. Riddle’s hitting streak is the longest in the Southern League this season, and the longest in Suns history in the Marlins era (2009-present). Brian Anderson followed with an RBI single to make the score 4-1.

The Lookouts scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth to cut Jacksonville’s lead to 4-3 on RBI singles from Zach Granite and Ryan Walker. In the top of the sixth inning, Lookouts reliever Brandon Peterson walked the first three batters of the inning to load the bases. The next batter Cam Maron came through with a two-run single to grow the Suns lead to 6-3. Peterson then struck out the next three batters to end the inning, and after Riddle’s strikeout to end the inning, Suns manager David Berg was ejected by home plate umpire Lew Williams.

The Suns added their last run on a solo homer by Garrett Weber in the eighth inning to put the lead at 7-3, which would be the final. Suns relievers Tyler Bremer and Tyler Higgins combined to work the final four innings in scoreless fashion to preserve the win.

The clubs will continue the series with the second game of the five-game set at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday night. The Suns will start left-hander Matt Tomshaw (2-2, 4.14 ERA) against Lookouts right-hander Kohl Stewart (5-5, 3.19 ERA).

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