Jackson, Tenn. – On Tuesday May 28, the Huntsville Stars opened up a series with the Jackson Generals at The Ballpark at Jackson, looking to gain ground in the Northern Division. Despite starter Jimmy Nelson’s ten strikeout performance and a ninth inning rally, the Stars fell to the Generals by a score of 5-4.
Huntsville trailed almost the whole night until third baseman Mike Walker lifted a homerun to leftfield with one out in the ninth off Generals closer Tyler Burgoon to tie the score at four. Unfortunately, the Generals managed to load the bases against reliever Greg Holle (L, 2-2, 4.38 ERA) and Generals right fielder James Jones succeeded in singling up the middle to score shortstop Gabriel Noriega to win the game in walk off fashion.
The scoring started early in the game when the Generals pushed a run across in the bottom of the first inning as center fielder Denny Almonte got on base and, after moving over to second on a steal and third on a hit by Jones, came around to score on a fielder’s choice to put the Generals on top 1-0.
The Stars answered back quickly, getting a second inning leadoff triple from center fielder Rene Tosoni. Tosoni was brought home when Walker grounded out, tying the score at one going into the bottom of the second. Huntsville would fall behind again though in the bottom half of the second. Jackson second baseman Jack Marder came around to score the second Jackson run after leading off the inning with a hit by pitch. He came home thanks in part to an error by Stars right fielder Kentrail Davis after a single by Noriega, which also put Noriega on second. Noriega was then brought home two batters later when Almonte singled, ballooning the Generals lead to 3-1.
The scoring stopped until the fourth inning when the Stars benefited from a Jackson mistake. Walker, after getting on with a walk, managed to score from first after designated hitter Robinson Diaz hit a deep drive to left that was misplayed by Generals left fielder Leon Landry. The error resulted in a run and Diaz standing at second, cutting the lead to 3-2. The Generals didn’t take long to answer back. After getting on with a single and advancing to second on a groundout, catcher Michael Dowd scored after pinch hitter Leury Bonilla looped a hit over the infield, bringing the score to 4-2 Generals.
The scoring slowed down again until Huntsville got their offense going again in the top of the seventh. Diaz led off the inning with a double and was brought home on a double by catcher Adam Weisenburger, leaving the Stars with a man on second with no outs. Unfortunately for Huntsville, Weisenburger got picked off of second and the score stood at 4-3 going into the seventh inning stretch.
Nelson threw eight innings, giving up four runs, two of them earned, on nine hits while striking out ten and walking none. His record stays at 5-3 and his ERA sits at 2.89. The ten strikeouts in the game is Nelson’s season high.
Burgoon picked up the win despite blowing a save opportunity in the ninth. He improves to 3-1 on the year. Generals starter Erasmo Ramirez went five innings, giving up two runs, one earned, on three hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
On offense, the Stars were led by right fielder Kentrail Davis, who had two doubles in his first two at bats. Diaz contributed two hits and Walker scored twice in addition to his homerun. The Generals got a balanced attack with five hitters getting two hits, led by Noriega who went 2-4 with two runs scored and Almonte who went 2-4 with a run scored and an RBI as well as two stolen bases.
With the loss, the Stars fall to 22-29 on the season and sit ten games back of the division leading Birmingham Barons. Jackson improves to 23-26, eight games behind Birmingham.
The Stars will continue their series with the Generals on Wednesday. Huntsville will send RHP Ariel Pena (4-3, 2.77 ERA) to the bump to square off against Jackson LHP Anthony Fernandez (2-0, 6.66 ERA). First pitch is at 7:05 CT.
Courtesy Huntsville Stars Media Relations