A day after having their opening game rained out, the Huntsville Stars rallied from a 4-0 deficit on Friday night to beat the Chattanooga Lookouts by a score of 7-5 at AT&T Field.
After two Stars errors in the first inning led to two Chattanooga runs and a two-run double by Lookouts left fielder Blake Smith in the third inning, Stars starting pitching Jimmy Nelson settled into a tremendous first start. A consensus top-10 prospect in the Brewers organization, Nelson went five innings and gave up those four runs (two earned) while fanning eight without walking a batter. The 23-year-old righty also retired eight of the last nine batters he faced to put the exclamation point on his first win of the season.
Trailing by four, the Stars started mounting their comeback in the fourth inning, where they scored the first three of seven unanswered runs. To begin the rally, first basemen Jason Rogers and center fielder Rene Tosoni each reached base via an error by the Chattanooga defense. Both runners were then brought home on a two-run triple by left fielder Brock Kjeldgaard off of Lookouts starter Zach Lee that cut the Chattanooga lead in half. Later in the inning, Kjeldgaard scored on a RBI single by Mike Walker to made the score 4-3.
Following an RBI single by Tosoni in the fifth inning that tied the game up at four apiece, the Stars took the lead for good against Lookouts reliever Ryan Acosta in the sixth inning. To begin the frame, catcher Adam Weisenburger, pinch-hitter Shawn Zarraga and second basemen Nick Shaw led off with back-to-back-to-back singles. AfterWeisenburger scored on a run-scoring groundout by shortstop Ozzie Chavez, right fielder Kentrail Davis drove home Zarraga with a RBI single to make the score 6-4.
In the seventh inning, Huntsville scored the last of their seven unanswered runs on a RBI single by Weisenburger.
Fortunately for the stars, the three-run lead that the Huntsville offense built was plenty for their bullpen. After Nelson exited the ballgame after the fifth, reliever Greg Holle threw two scoreless frames. Holle also struck out the side in seventh and didn't give up a hit in his first ever double-a outing. Righty Casey Medlen notched his first save, retiring the only batter he faced when relieved lefty Alan Williams and got Lookouts pinch-hitter Omar Luna to ground out to end the game.
In regards to offense, the Stars were paced by three hits from Kjeldgaard, in which the 27-year-old outfielder was just a home run away from the cycle. Both Rogers and Tosoni each had two hits as well and Davis reached base four out of the five times he was at-bat.
Game two of a five-game series between the two teams will begin at 7:15 ET on Saturday night. A pair of highly-touted prospects will battle it out on the mound as the Stars will send RHP Taylor Jungmann (11-6, 3.53 ERA with Brevard County in 2012) to square off against Lookouts LHP Chris Reed (0-4, 4.84 ERA with Chattanooga in 2012).
Following the Series against Chattanooga, the Stars will open up their home slate against the Jacksonville Suns on April 10th for a five-game series immediately followed by a five games against the Tennessee Smokies! For more information on the Huntsville Stars, visit huntsvillestars.com or call (256) 882-2562.
Courtesy: Huntsville Stars