In a game that featured two ties and four lead changes, the Huntsville Stars ultimately lost to the Jacksonville Suns by a score of 9-7 on Saturday night at Joe Davis Stadium.
For only the second time in the first nine games of the year, the Stars offense got out to the initial lead, scoring three runs in the first inning off Suns starting pitcher Matt Neil. Second basemen Nick Shaw led off the inning with a single, and following another single by right fielderKentrail Davis, both runners scored on a two-run single by first basemen Jason Rogers for the first two runs of the ballgame.
Three batters later, Rogers was plated on a RBI single by center fielder Rene Tosoni to make the score 3-0.
Unfortunately for the Stars, the Suns offense began heat up in the second inning. After right fielder Kyle Jensen was hit by Huntsville starting pitcher Andy Moye to begin the inning, a RBI triple by third basemen Zack Cox and a RBI double by first baseman Mark Canha cut the Stars lead to 3-2.
When RBI single by shortstop Jeff Bianchi (with Stars on MLB rehab) put Huntsville lead back up to two in the bottom half of the inning, the Suns came back in the top half of the third scoring four runs while sending 10 batters to the plate in the process. Highlighting the frame was a bases-loaded RBI walk drawn by shortstop Danny Black and a two-out, three-run double by Jensen to make the score 6-4.
That third inning marked an early exit for Moye, who was part of a seven-inning, one-hitter his last start last Sunday against Chattanooga. The 25-year-old righty was chased from the ballgame after just 2.2 innings, giving up six runs (four earned) and four hits in the process.
However, Moye would go on to earn a no-decision, as the Huntsville offense was able to tie back up the ballgame in the fourth inning. To begin the rally, both Tosoni and catcher Shawn Zarraga reached base off Neil. Then, after both runners advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch, a botched throw by Neil on an attempted sac bunt by Stars reliever Alan Williams allowed Tosoni to score to cut the Jacksonville lead to one. Later in the inning, a sacrifice fly by Shaw brought in Zarraga to tie up the game at six.
The back and forth between the two teams continued into the middle innings, as Jacksonville reclaimed the lead in the sixth inning on a Derek Dietrich RBI single. That was countered by a RBI single from Stars third basemen Mike Walker in the bottom of the seventh to tie back up the ballgame at 7-7.
The score would remain that way until the ninth inning, until Stars lefty Thomas Keeling (L, 0-1) found his way into some trouble. After Jensen walked and Cox singled to begin the inning, a two-run double from left fielder Jake Smolinski plated both of them in Jacksonville the lead for good.
Earning the win for the Suns was lefty Rawdel Lazo, who pitched two innings of scoreless relief to end the game and improve to 1-0 on the season.
The win for the Suns was their third consecutive against the Stars, clinching a series victory at Joe Davis Stadium.
On offense, the Stars out-hit Jacksonville 11-7, and were led by two hits apiece from Shaw, Rogers and Tosoni.
The Stars and Suns will play the finale of a five-game series at Joe Davis Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Huntsville will send RHP Arcenio Leon (0-0, 3.60 ERA) to the bump to square off against Suns RHP Sam Dyson (0-0, 1.80 ERA). First pitch is at 4:03 CT.
After wrapping up their five-game series against the Suns, the Stars will immediately welcome the Tennessee Smokies into town for five more games at The Joe. For more information on the Huntsville Stars, visit huntsvillestars.com or call (256) 882-2562.
Courtesy: Stars Media Relations