To wrap up the second of two five-game series as part of a ten-game homestand, the Huntsville Stars lost to the Tennessee Smokies by a score of 8-1 on Friday night at Joe Davis Stadium.
Despite outhitting Tennessee by a 10-9 margin, Huntsville trailed big early, and simply could not recover off of Smokies starting pitcher Matt Loosen.
In the top of the first inning, Stars starting pitcher Arcenio Leon allowed five runs during a frame that the Smokies offense batted their entire starting lineup. The inning was highlighted by a two-run double by third basemen Christian Villanueva, RBI singles from first basemenJustin Bour and catcher Jay Fernandez and a sacrifice fly by shortstop Airismendy Alcantara.
Leon fell to 0-2 on the year with the loss, only lasting through the first inning on Friday, giving up those five runs on four hits while striking out two.
That was more than enough run support for the Smokies pitching staff, who held the Stars scoreless for the first six innings of the ballgame. Loosen went the first four innings, giving up just two hits while striking out eight batters in his first appearance of 2013. Righty A.J Morris (W, 1-0) earned the win in relief, giving up a run on three hits in three innings of work.
In the seventh inning, the Stars were able to get to Morris to score their only run of the contest. After Shawn Zarraga led off the frame with a pinch-hit single and second basemen Nick Shaw drew a walk, first basemen Jason Rogers drove Zarraga in with a RBI single later in the inning to put the Stars on the board.
For the Smokies, they tacked on two runs in the seventh inning on Stars righty Eric Marzec and one more unearned run in the eighth inning off of lefty Brian Garman to roll to their fourth straight victory.
In a losing effort, the Stars had four errors on the ballgame, setting a season-high in that category. They also ended their season-opening homestand with a 2-8 record, losing their last four games in the process.
On the bright side, Huntsville had some strong individual performances on Friday. Reliever Alan Williams threw four scoreless innings after replacing Leon to start the second inning, giving up just two hits while striking out five batters.
On offense, the Stars were paced by Shaw, who went 3-for-3 with three singles and walked twice to reach base in all five of his at-bats. Catcher Robinson Diaz and shortstop Hector Gomez also each had two hits.
On Saturday, the Stars will hit the road for five games and head down I-65 to face off against the Birmingham Barons at the new Regions Field. Huntsville will send RHP Jimmy Nelson (2-0, 1.63 ERA) to right the ship against Barons LHP Wes Whisler (0-0, 4.50 ERA). First pitch is at 7:05 PM.
For more information on the Huntsville Stars, visit huntsvillestars.com or call (256) 882-2562.
Courtesy: Huntsville Stars