Huntsville, AL – A bobbled ball by shortstop Angel Gonzalez in the third that would have ended the inning, allowed the Tennessee Smokies (34-19) to extend their lead by an extra three runs over the Huntsville Stars (27-24). The two batters following the error each produced at the plate. Rebel Ridling hit an RBI single, followed by a three-run home run by Steve Clevenger, making the lead 5-0.
During the first five innings, the Stars couldn't get it done on offense. As a team they didn't hit the ball out of the infield until the third. During the first five frames, the Stars had just two hits and a total of four base runners, none beyond first base.
Starter Dan Merklinger (3-3) went six innings, giving up six runs on seven hits. Only one run was earned in the loss. He didn't allow a walk and struck out two batters.
In the sixth, the Stars had a small rally with a pair of doubles and a single that crossed two runs. The offense again struck in the seventh for a run on a throwing error by third baseman Nate Samson. Despite the loss, Logan Schafer and Zelous Wheeler continued to produce at the plate. Schafer went 2-for-3 with a walk, while Wheeler went 1-for-4 with an RBI double.
Chris Rusin (2-1) picked up the win for the Smokies, his second of the season, giving up two earned runs on five hits allowing one walk and striking out one in six innings.
With the loss, the Stars trail 2-1 in the series against the Smokies with game three slated for a 6:43 CT start on Thursday night with RHP Michael Bowman (2-2, 4.07 ERA) taking the hill for the Stars against local product RHP Trey McNutt (1-2, 2.34 ERA). Tomorrow is also Bud Light Thirst-aid Thursday with $2 20-ounce drafts until the seventh inning. Immediately after the game fans can head on over to Sammy T's Music Hall downtown Huntsville with ID wristbands from the game to receive free admission into the club for the Stars' official after party. For more information, visit www.huntsvillestars.com or call (256) 882-2562.