HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Despite a five-run comeback, the Huntsville Stars were edged out by a score of 6-5 by the Chattanooga Lookouts on Monday night.
Unfortunately, the highly anticipated Brewers organizational debut of starting pitcher Ariel Pena did not start off as many had hoped. In the first inning, the newly acquired 23-year-old gave up a leadoff triple to shortstop Rafael Ynoa. Ynoa then scored on a groundout by center fielder Nick Buss to give Chattanooga the first run. Later in the inning, back-to-back doubles by right fielder Blake Smith and first baseman J.T Wise scored Smith to make the score 2-0.
In the third inning, it was Wise that got the best of Pena once again. With Buss and Smith on base, the first baseman crushed a three-run home run over the left field wall to give the Lookouts a 5-0 lead.
However, Pena would go on to earn a no-decision after giving up five runs in five innings as the Stars mounted a comeback to get him off the hook. Starting in the third inning, Pena walked and center fielder Josh Prince doubled to put runners at second and third with one out with Jean Segura up. The shortstop delivered a RBI single that combined with a throwing error from Chattanooga scored both runs to make the score 5-2.
One inning later, a solo blast by first baseman Hunter Morris cut the Stars deficit to two. For Morris, the homer was his league-leading 20th of the season and fifth blast in the last seven games.
The score remained tied until the seventh inning where the Stars finished off their comeback. After right fielder Kentrail Davis was hit by a pitch and stole second, a RBI double by left fielder Lee Haydel put the score at 5-4. Once Haydel reached third on a pinch-hit single by T.J Mittelstaedt, a RBI groundout by Segura tied up the ballgame.
The comeback would not be completed though. With reliever Kyle Heckathorn on the mound for Huntsville in the ninth inning, Chattanooga third baseman C.J. Retherford hit a solo home run to left field to give the Lookouts the game-winning run.
To finish off the game, Chattanooga closer Steven Ames shut the door and stranded two Stars runners in the ninth inning for his 12th save of the season. In 1.1 innings of relief, LHP Steven Rodriguez improved to 1-0 on the season.
For the Stars, Heckathorn took the loss to fall to 3-10 on the year. On offense, Haydel led the way at the plate with a 4-for-4 night. The four hits for Haydel was the second time he has done that in a game this season.
Game three of a five-game series will take place on Thursday as the Stars will send RHP Josh Stinson (11-5, 3.14 ERA) to toe the rubber. First pitch is at 6:43 PM.