Kodak, TN. – The Huntsville Stars might finally be hitting their stride. Pitching performances like those thrown by Drew Goforth and clutch hitting by batters like Chadwin Stang will do that.
The Stars won their second series in a row on Monday, sweeping a doubleheader with the Tennessee Smokies 2-0 and 6-3 respectfully. Huntsville has now won five of their last eight games, as well as three in a row.
In the first game, the Stars struggled at the plate, only getting five hits for the game. Luckily, Goforth (W 2-1) didn’t need much. Goforth cruised thru the Smokies hitters, throwing only eighty three pitches over seven innings. He retired twenty one of the twenty three batters he faced, giving up two hits and a walk to go with four strikeouts. Huntsville’s winning runs came in the fourth inning when Mike Walker doubled, bringing in Kentrail Davis and Brock Kjeldgaard. Walker went three for three on the day including his ninth double of the year. Smokies pitcher Kyle Hendricks (L 8-3) went five innings, giving up two hits and two runs. He walked three and struck out five.
In the second game, the Stars’ bats woke up early, scoring quickly in the top of the first. Three of the first four Huntsville batters got a hit, capped by Jason Rodgers single, bringing in Stang and making the score 1-0 Stars. It was the third time that Huntsville had scored in the first inning this half. The score would hold until the fifth, when Christian Villanueva scored on a sacrifice fly by Chad Noble against Stars reliever Kevin Shackelford. This tied the score at one, going to the sixth.This set the table for the top of the seventh. Huntsville managed to scratch another run as Stang singled to right, scoring Shea Vucinich. The Stars would add an insurance run before heading to the bottom of the seventh ahead 3-1. Huntsville closer Casey Medlin though would not be able to hold the lead and the Smokies would tie the score but could not take the lead, sending the game into extra innings.
In the eighth inning, the Stars seized the lead back in a big way. Huntsville got three hits, two walks and a sac fly as they scored three runs, the last one driven in by Stang as he finished the night four for five with two RBI’s and a run scored. Greg Holle then nailed the sweep down, striking out two of the three batters he faced to earn his seventh save.
Huntsville starter Brooks Hall got the no decision despite leaving with the lead. He pitched four innings, giving up two hits, struck out Javier Baez and walked none. Medlin (W 2-3) earned the win despite allowing two runs on two hits and a walk in an inning of work.
With the sweep, the Stars record improves to 37-51 on the year, 8-12 in the second half of the season. The Smokies record falls to 44-43, 10-8 in the second half.
Huntsville will return home to Joe Davis Stadium on Wednesday after a scheduled off day to open up their final series of the year with their rivals, the Birmingham Barons. Game is set to start at 6:43.
Courtesy: Stars Media Relations