KODAK, Tenn. – Opening up a five-game series in Kodak, Tenn., the Huntsville Stars cruised to a 7-2 victory against the Tennessee Smokies on Wednesday night.
From the get-go, the Stars got a lead that they would not relinquish. With two outs in the top of the first inning, the Huntsville bats started a rally with a single by second baseman Scooter Gennett. After third baseman Andy Gonzalez was hit by a Dallas Beeler pitch to put runners on first and second, first baseman Hunter Morris brought them all home with a booming three-run home run to give the Stars a 3-0 lead. For Morris, his homer was his 22nd on the season, tying him for the league lead with Jackson's Joe Dunigan.
Up 3-2 in the third inning, the Stars offense struck again. With back-to-back-to-back singles to begin the frame by center fielder Josh Prince, shortstop Hainley Statia and Gennett, the Stars loaded the bases with nobody out. After a bases-loaded walk by Gonzalez brought home one run, a RBI groundout by Morris brought home another. A fielding error by Beeler on the Morris grounder allowed Gennett to score to make the score 6-2.
That run support would be plenty for the Stars pitching staff. Starter Johnnie Lowe improved to 2-2 on the season after giving up two runs on five hits in five innings of work. Relievers Brian Garman, Dan Meadows and Evan Anundsen combined to shut out the Smokies for the final four innings.
On offense, Morris led the way, going 2-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs. Aside from Morris, Gonzalez also reached base all four times he was at the plate and also hit a solo homer of his own in the fifth inning. In addition, Both Gennett and Statia each had two hits. For Gennett, the multi-hit game for him was his fourth in a row.
Game two of a five-game series will take place on Thursday as the Stars will send Ariel Pena (0-0, 4.50 ERA) to the mound. First pitch is at 7:15 ET.