Smokies Down Stars in Comeback Win

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Huntsville, Al-

Leading at one point by four runs, the Huntsville Stars squandered an early advantage by losing 10-5 to the Tennessee Smokies in game three of a five-game series at Joe Davis Stadium on Thursday night.  

The Stars got off to their early lead in the first inning against Smokies starter Austin Kirk. With the bases loaded and one out, an RBI single from outfielder Brock Kjeldgaard put the Stars on the board. One batters later, a bases-loaded walk drawn by third basemen Joey Paciorek made the score 2-0.

Two innings later, a RBI single from Paciorek and a successful suicide squeeze from shortstop Hector Gomez doubled up the Stars lead and upped it to four runs.

Unfortunately for the Stars, the rest of the game was dominated by the Smokies.

After four scoreless innings from Stars starting pitcher Taylor Jungmann, the Tennessee bats began their offensive surge in the top of the fifth. Following a one-out error from Gomez and walk issued by Jungmann, a three-run homer from Smokies shortstop Javier Baez cut the Stars lead to one.

With Jungmann out of the game after five innings, Smokies outfielder Rubi Silva welcomed Stars reliever Frankie De La Cruz (L, 1-2) to action with a solo homer that tied up the game in the sixth inning.

One inning later, the 4-4 tie was broken up by a solo homer from first basemen Justin Bour of De La Cruz. Later in the frame, a two-out, bases-clearing double from infielder Airesmendy Alcantara put the Smokies up by four and gave the Tennessee pitching staff all the run support they needed.

Five Smokies releivers combined to hold the Stars to just one run over the last six innings of the game. Righty Marcos Mateo improved to 1-0 on the season, earning the victory with 1.2 innings of scoreless baseball.

Tennessee scored their final two runs of the game on a solo homer from Baez in the seventh inning and a bases-loaded walk from outfielder John Andreoli in the eighth inning. For Baez, the two homers on the night give him four roundtrippers over the first three games of the series. The top prospect in the Cubs organization now has five homers in seven games played against the Stars.

Overall, the Smokies scored nine unanswered runs at one point of the game to complete their comeback.

For Huntsville, they scored their only other run of the game on a solo homer from outfielder Rene Tosoni in the bottom of the ninth.

On offense, outfielder Chadwin Stang paced the bats with a 3-for-4 night at the plate. He now hit safely in his last nine games, tying him for the longest hitting streak on the season for the Stars with Tosoni, who reached the mark in early May. Tosoni also had two hits on Thursday.

The Stars will play game four of a five-game series at Joe Davis Stadium against the Tennessee Smokies on Friday. Huntsville will send RHP Ariel Pena (5-7, 3.56 ERA) to the bump while Tennessee will counter with RHP A.J Morris (3-1, 3.61 ERA). First pitch is 6:43 ET.

Courtesy: Stars Media Relations