Huntsville, AL-The Huntsville Stars used a four run seventh inning Thursday night to erase a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Tennessee Smokies 4-3 at Joe Davis Stadium.
Nick Shaw’s sacrifice fly in the seventh proved to be the difference in the Stars sixth straight victory.
Tennessee got on the board first in the fifth inning against Stars reliever Eric Marzec. With one out, and runners on the corners Rafael Lopez singled home John Andreoli giving the Smokies a 1-0 lead.
They added to their lead later in the inning when Rubi Silva grounded a ball off first baseman Nick Ramirez which trickled out into right field scoring Wes Darvill.
Kris Bryant homered for the Smokies in the seventh off Marzec. It was Bryant’s third homer of the series and sixteenth of the season.
The Stars entered their seventh trailing 3-0. Joe Gardner, who started for Tennessee had only allowed one hit coming into the inning.
After Gardner retired Ramirez on a groundout to second, the Smokies went to the bullpen and brought in Lendy Castillo.
Castillo walked Jason Rogers. Mitch Haniger then singled into left field. Kentrail Davis followed with a single into centerfield loading up the bases.
With the bases loaded and one out, Castillo walked Adam Weisenburger, scoring Rogers to get the Stars on the board.
With the Stars trailing 3-1, the next batter Greg Hopkins grounded a ball towards Darvill at second base. As Darvill shifted towards his right, he booted the ball which went into center. Haniger and Davis scored tying the game at 3-3.
Two batters later, Shaw hit a sacrifice fly scoring Weisenburger to give the Stars a 4-3 lead.
Castillo(0-1) who faced five batters in the seventh took the loss for the Smokies.
The Smokies(26-27) put one final threat together in the ninth against Stars closer David Goforth. With the leadoff runner on and the slugger Bryant at the plate, Goforth got a groundball off Bryant’s bat to first base. Ramirez the first baseman, nearly started a double play. However, Bryant was able to reach on a fielder’s choice as he beat out the relay throw to first.
Goforth would eventually get the double play that he was looking for from the next batter. Lopez hit into a game ending 4-6-3 double play ball. Goforth earned his twelfth save of the season.
Tim Dillard(1-0) collected the win out of the Stars bullpen after retiring the final batter in the seventh.
Haniger went 2-3 for the Stars who improved to 37-17. The Stars now lead second place Tennessee by 10.5 games with sixteen games left in the first half of the season.
The Stars lead the Smokies 4-0 in their five game series. Friday night the Stars can sweep Tennessee with a win. Huntsville will send RHP Andy Moye(0-0, 1.59) to the hill. Tennessee will have RHP Julio Rodriguez (1-0, 1.69) on the mound. Friday’s game can be heard with Steve Jarnicki starting at 6:15 PM CDT on 92.9 FM, 1450 AM and wtkiradio.com
Courtesy: Stars Media Relations