JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Suns scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to overcome a game-long, two-run deficit and beat the Chattanooga Lookouts by a final of 3-2 at Bragan Field at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.
Down 2-0 entering the frame, the Suns rallied against a pair of Lookouts relievers. Zack Cox singled off Kyle Cofield (0-1) to begin the inning and scored when Mark Canha blasted a Cofield offering into the right field bleachers to tie the game.
"Mark's had some big hits for us lately," manager Andy Barkett said following the game. "None bigger than the one he had tonight."
Canha's home run, his second of the season, was just the beginning for Jacksonville. Danny Black singled, late defensive replacement Jake Smolinski drew a walk and Christian Yelich recorded his first hit as a Sun to load the bases. With nobody out and Lookouts reliever Greg Infante on the mound, Marcell Ozuna drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to right.
The late rally ruined a strong outing from Chattanooga left-hander Chris Reed, who shut out the Suns on four hits in his seven innings of work.
"He was mixing his pitches well, throwing strikes," Barkett said. "He did a good job of keeping us off balance."
His counterpart, Jacksonville southpaw Brian Flynn, overcame a two-run first inning to blank the Lookouts over his final five innings. Chattanooga built its 2-0 lead against Flynn with a flurry of hits in the opening frame, the biggest being J.T. Wise's two-out, two-run single.
Flynn, however, would retire the last 11 batters he faced and surrendered just three hits after giving up four in the first inning.
"Brian Flynn's a winner, and he gave us a chance to win the game," Barkett said. "They got on him early for a couple runs, but he settled in and pitched a really nice game."
The Suns managed just four hits through their first seven innings at the plate, but got Flynn off the hook when the bats came alive in the eighth. Edgar Olmos (3-0), with a scoreless eighth inning, earned his team-leading third win for the Suns, while Michael Brady retired Joc Pederson on a long fly to center to end the game in the ninth and earn his fifth save in as many chances.
Jacksonville and Chattanooga will resume their five-game set on Monday afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 12:05 p.m. Matt Neil (0-1, 5.91 ERA) will take the hill for the Suns, opposed by Chattanooga right-hander Andres Santiago (1-1, 1.00 ERA) in game three of the series.