After losing in extra innings on Saturday night, the Huntsville Stars fell to the Chattanooga Lookouts by a score of 7-3 on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Park.
The loss highlighted a rough return home for Stars starting pitcher Kyle Heckathorn. In the first inning, the Ootewah, Tennessee native gave up a three-run home run to Chattanooga right fielder Blake Smith. Then in the second, Heckathorn gave up an RBI single to first baseman J.T Wise and a two-run double to third baseman Travis Denker. A sacrifice fly by Smith abruptly finished his shortest outing at the Double-A level at just two innings. He was tagged with all seven Chattanooga runs on seven hits. He walked two and didn't strike out any of the 15 batters he faced.
After an hour rain delay, pitcher Dan Merklinger came in for Heckathorn and threw three scoreless innings, striking out five batters. The Lookouts didn't plate another run and managed just two hits off the Stars bullpen. The Stars offense finally came alive in the eighth inning. After Lee Haydel grounded out to start the inning, center fielder Josh Prince and pinch-hitter Tommy Manzella both drew walks. Southern League doubles leader Hunter Morris hit his 18th double to score Prince. Catcher Jason Jaramillo followed that up with a RBI single to plate Manzella. Right fielder Kentrail Davis grounded out to allow Morris to cross home, cutting the Lookouts lead to just four. Matt Cline flew out to end the inning and the Stars comeback.
The newest member of the Stars, relief pitcher Brandon Kintzler came in to close out the game in the bottom of the eighth. He pitched a perfect inning, forcing two ground outs and a pop out.
For Chattanooga, starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi improved to 2-2 on the season after holding the Stars scoreless with three hits through five innings. He walked four and struck out two.
For the Stars, the loss secured their second consecutive series loss in a row. Huntsville has also now lost five out of their last six games.