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With five combined pitchers and 11 walks, the Huntsville Stars no-hit the Chattanooga Lookouts by a final score of 3-1 in the rubber match of a five-game series at Joe Davis Stadium.
Stars starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson started off the no-hitter in dominating fashion. The 23-year-old righty pitched four innings while striking out four batters in his second start since coming off a month-long disabled list stint. Nelson also walked four batters.
Following Nelson's exit, reliever Dan Merklinger pitched 0.2 innings. The lefty gave up the Stars' only run after issuing a walk to first baseman J.T Wise to score catcher Matt Wallach after he walked the bases loaded. He also walked four batters and struck out one. Merklinger was relieved by RHP R.J Seidel, who went on to retire third baseman C.J Retherford to strand the bases loaded and end the Lookouts threat in the fifth.
Seidel came back out in the sixth for another inning of relief. The 24-year-old issued a walk to Brahiam Maldonado who advanced to scoring position on a wild pitch. Seidel issued a walk to Wallach before getting Anthony Jackson to line out and Jake Lemmerman to ground out to end the inning.
RHP Darren Byrd entered the game in the seventh, sitting down the first two batters he faced. He walked Wise, the Lookouts last base runner of the game. Byrd pitched two frames, fanning one. Closer Brandon Kintzler came in in the ninth inning. The former big leaguer tossed a 1-2-3 final frame, getting center fielder Nick Buss to groundout to cap off the no-hitter.
For the Stars, the no-hitter was their first since June 2nd, 2008, where David Welch tossed a seven-inning gem. It was their first nine-inning no-no since Tanyon Sturtze did it on June 13th, 1993. Both of those previous no-hitters were also against the Lookouts. The five pitchers used for the Stars were the most ever in a Southern League no-hitter. This is the second no-hitter in the Southern League this season. The Pensacola Blue Wahoos had a combined no-hitter back on June 16 against the Mobile BayBears.
The 11 walks issued ties the season high for the pitching staff, set back on June 25 at Jackson.
Offensively, Huntsville was kept pretty quiet, getting just five hits off the Lookouts' pitching staff. Their only scoring of the night came in the third inning. Outfielder Lee Haydel hit a single to left-center to get on base. Shortstop Jean Segura drew a walk to put two men on. With two outs, Brock Kjeldgaard stepped to the plate and crushed a three-run home run over the right field fence.
The combination of Haydel and Segura hitting in the one and two spots worked last night. Both players reached base three times, each time putting a runner in scoring position. Unfortunately, they only came around to score the one time. Haydel paced the bunch with three hits. Third baseman Hainley Statia hit a single to account for the fifth Stars hit.
The win for Huntsville marked their third consecutive series victory. They are now four games back of the first place Lookouts in the Southern League North with 30 games to play.
The Stars begin a five-game series with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos starting on Friday. First pitch is at 6:43 at Joe Davis Stadium followed by post-game fireworks.