Eovaldi returns, but Smokies top Lookouts 3-2 - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Eovaldi returns, but Smokies top Lookouts 3-2

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Even Nathan Eovaldi's return couldn't turn around Chattanooga's early-season struggles.

The flame-throwing right-hander gave up just one earned run in five strong innings, but Elliot Soto's RBi triple in the top of the ninth proved to be the difference as Tennessee beat the Lookouts 3-2 in the finale of a season-opening five-game series Monday night at AT&T Field.

Eovaldi started six big-league games for the Dodgers a year ago, and is expected to return to the majors at some point this season. For now, he's back in familiar surroundings in the Scenic City where he had a 2.62 ERA in 20 starts a year ago.

He gave up just four hits and two walks while striking out four on Monday, and even scored the Lookouts' first run on Nick Buss' RBI triple in the third.

The Smokies (4-1) loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth, but managed just a Brooks Raley sacrifice fly before Eovaldi got Michael Burgess to ground into a double play to end the threat.

Justin Bour's sixth-inning sac fly off Blake Johnson moved the Smokies in front, but Pedro Baez pulled the Lookouts back to even at 2-2 with an RBI triple in the seventh.

Stephen Ames (0-1) pitched a scoreless eighth for Chattanooga (1-4) before surrendering Soto's game-winning hit in the ninth.

Raley gave up just six hits and struck out four while pitching into the seventh, but didn't factor into the decision. Alberto Cabrera (1-0) picked up the win in relief and Frank Batista worked a scoreless ninth for his third save.

The Lookouts will hit the road tomorrow to open a five-game series in Jacksonville. They will return Sunday to kick off a five-game homestand against the Birmingham Barons.

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