In a quick turnaround after a 7-2 win on Saturday night, the Huntsville Stars fell to the Tennessee Smokies by a score of 5-2 on Sunday afternoon at Smokies Park to even their series at two games apiece.
Starting in the second inning, the Smokies took grasp of the lead, one that they would not relinquish. After Stars starting pitcher Andy Moye retired the first five batters he faced on the game, a pop-up by Smokies third basemen Christian Villanueva fell in between five Huntsville infielders blinded by the sun, giving the 21-year-old an infield double. The next at-bat, first basemen Tim Torres hit a two-run homer to make the score 2-0.
Villanueva then came through again with a RBI groundout in the fourth inning to put the Smokies up by three.
For the Stars, they were only able put together a string of runs and mount their version of a comeback in the sixth inning. Following five scoreless innings from Tennessee starter Eric Jokisch (W, 4-3), back-to-back hits from first basemen Jason Rogers and Brock Kjeldgaard put runners at the corners with nobody out. After a sacrifice fly from Rene Tosoni put the Stars on the board, catcher Shawn Zarraga delivered a RBI double to score Kjeldgaard and cut the Smokies lead to 3-2.
Unfortunately for the Stars, that's the closest they would get to clinching the series victory on Sunday. The Smokies scored two runs in the seventh off of Stars reliever Greg Holle and three Tennessee relievers combined to shutout the Stars through the final 3.1 innings of the game to cruise to the victory.
With the loss, Moye fell to 2-6 on the season after giving up three runs in six innings while striking out six in the process. The quality start for Moye was the 8th straight for the Stars starting rotation.
On offense, the Stars were paced by Rogers, who went 2-for-3 with his team leading 14th double of the year. Moye also helped out his own cause with two hits, as the former college third basemen now has all three hits for the Stars pitching staff this season.
The Stars and Smokies will play the rubbermatch of their five-game series at Smokies Park on Sunday. Huntsville will send RHP Arcenio Leon (2-5, 4.76 ERA) to the bump to square off against Tennessee RHP Matt Loosen (1-1, 7.99 ERA). First pitch is at 7:15 ET.