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JACKSON, Tenn. – Giving up a season-high 11 walks, the Huntsville Stars fell to the Jackson Generals by a score of 6-5 in the rubber match of a five-game series at Pringles Park on Monday afternoon.
Breaking a streak of four consecutive games that the Stars scored the first run, the Generals knocked around Huntsville starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson in the first inning. Following a leadoff walk by third baseman Leury Bonilla, second baseman Stefan Romero knocked a RBI double to put Jackson up 1-0. Left fielder Kalian Sams walked to set it up for right fielder Chih-Hsien Chiang to hit a two-run double and give the Generals a 3-0 lead.
The lead would stay that way until the third inning when the Stars offense returned the favor and knocked around Generals RHP Tijuan Walker. The Mariners prospect walked shortstop Juan Sanchez, gave up a single to left fielder Lee Haydel, and walked center fielder Josh Prince to load the bases with nobody out. Then, a two-run double by second baseman Scooter Gennett scored Sanchez and Haydel to cut the Jackson lead to one. With Prince and Gennett on base, first baseman Hunter Morris crushed a three-run home run over the right field wall during the following at-bat to give the Stars a 5-3 lead.
Unfortunately for Huntsville, they would not score a run the rest of the ballgame. In the bottom half of the third, three more walks by Nelson lead to a sacrifice fly by Chiang to cut the Huntsville lead to one. Then, with Nelson already out of the game in the fifth inning, Stars reliever Dan Merklinger gave up a solo home run to first baseman Eric Campbell to tie up the game. Later in the inning, Merklinger walked Bonilla with the bases loaded to score catcher Ralph Henriquez, giving Jackson the lead for good.
With four innings of scoreless relief, Jackson pitcher Taylor Stanton earned the victory to improve to 2-2 on the season. Generals closer Carter Capps recorded the last four outs of the game for his 11th save of the season.
For the Stars, Merklinger fell to 1-7 on the season with the loss in 1.2 innings of relief. Nelson got a no-decision in his second Double-A start, giving up four runs on two hits in 3.1 innings while walking seven batters. As a team, the 11 walks were the most issued by the Stars pitching staff in a single game all season.
The Stars return home to begin a five-game series at Joe Davis Stadium against the Mobile BayBears on Tuesday. First pitch is at 6:43 PM.