Stars Drop 2nd Straight to Smokies

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Kodak, Tn, In game two of a five-game series against the Tennessee Smokies, the Huntsville Stars dropped their second game in a row at Smokies Park by a score of 3-1 on Friday night.

Unfortunately for the Stars, they found themselves facing a deficit that they could not come back from early in the ballgame.

To start the bottom half of the first inning, Smokies outfielder Matt Szczur was hit by an Ariel Pena pitch, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. After a RBI double by Ariesmendy Alcantara scored Szczur to put Tennessee on the board, Alcantara stole his team-leading 21st base on the year by swiping third. During the next at-bat, a sacrifice fly by outfielder John Androli plated Alcantara to make the score 2-0.

The only run Huntsville managed to plate came in the top of the third inning when Shawn Zarraga launched a solo homer over the right-field wall against Smokies starter Alberto Cabrera. It was the second game in a row that the Stars only run of the game came on a solo homer. Zarraga paced the Stars offense with two of their six hits.

Earning the win for the Smokies was Cabrera, who improved to 8-3 on the season after giving up that one run on four hits while striking out seven and walking two. Righty Frank Batista notched his 11th save of the save when he stranded two runners on base during a scoreless ninth inning.

Tennessee tacked on their only other run in the bottom of the third inning on a solo honer by Alcantara. For the Southern League All-Star, it was his third longball hit against the Stars in 11 games played this season.

Despite giving up just three runs on seven hits in seven innings pitched, Pena fell to 5-7 on the year with the loss. The 24-year-old righty also struck out seven batters without walking anyone. In his last four outings overall, Pena has three quality starts, earning losses in each of them.

Aside from Pena, the Stars got an inning of scoreless relief from righty Greg Holle.

On offense, the Stars got a single apiece from shortstop Nick Shaw, outfielder Kentrail Davis, second basemen Shea Vucinich and third basemen Mike Walker.

The Stars will play game two of a five-game series at Smokies Park against the Tennessee Smokies on Saturday. Huntsville will send RHP Taylor Jungmann (8-6, 3.60 ERA) to the bump to try to stop the two-game skid against the Smokies. Tennessee will counter with LHP Austin Kirk (7-3, 3.49 ERA). First pitch is 6:15 ET.

Courtesy: Stars Media Relations