Stars win series finale with Braves

In the finale of a five-game series, the Huntsville Stars offense broke out for a season-high 16 hits to lead them to a 7-3 win against the Mississippi Braves on Sunday.

After a scoreless first three innings, those seven Stars runs came in a span of two innings, starting in the fourth. Beginning with a one-out single by third basemen Andy Gonzalez, a two-run homerun by first basemen Hunter Morris and an RBI double by pitcher Josh Stinson gave the Stars a 3-0 lead.

Mississippi wouldn't let that lead last long. After the first two batters struck out and grounded out, catcher Christian Bethancourt hit a single to get on base. He was replaced by pitch runner Matthew Kennelly. Adam Milligan hit a two-run bomb close the gap 3-2. Mycal Jones hit a single and immediately stole second. He scored on a Todd Cunningham double to tie it up at three apiece.

The Stars turned on the offensive attack in the top of the fifth with back-to-back RBI doubles by Morris and left fielder Khris Davis. Then a two-run home run by catcher Anderson De La Rosa in the fifth sealed the deal for Huntsville to put them up 7-3.

In terms of pitching, Stars starting pitcher Josh Stinson earned a no-decision after giving up three runs and seven hits in four innings. After Stinson exited prior to the fifth inning, the Stars arms shutout the Braves bats for the remaining five innings. RHP Roque Mercedes notched his first win of the season with two innings of work. Stars RHP Darren Byrd and RHP Robert Wooten also added scoreless innings in relief.

On offense, both Gonzalez and De La Rosa led the way with three hits apiece. Both Morris and center fielder Josh Prince added two hits. For Morris, the fifth inning double was his league-leading 11th of the season.

As a team, the Stars now have a season-high four-game winning streak. Overall, Huntsville is also three games over .500 (14-11) for the first time this season.

After a rare off day on Monday, the Stars will begin a five-game series with the Chattanooga Lookouts at Joe Davis Stadium starting on Tuesday. Huntsville will send LHP Dan Merklinger (0-2, 9.24 ERA) to the mound to square off against Chattanooga RHP Chris Withrow (0-0, 4.50 ERA). First pitch is at 6:43 PM.