A night after losing on a walkoff single in the ninth inning, the Huntsville Stars were shutout by the Montgomery Biscuits by a score of 2-0 on Saturday night at Riverwalk Stadium.
While the Stars got another strong outing from starting pitcher Ariel Pena (6 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 5 K, 4 BB), he put himself in position to be tabbed for the loss early in the first inning. After a leadoff double from outfielder Kevin Kiermaier and a bunt single by shortstop Shawn O'Malley put runners at the corners with nobody out, a wild pitch from Pena later in the inning allowed Kiermaier to score to put Montgomery up 1-0.
With the Biscuits lead still at 1-0 in the seventh inning, a similar situation happened that led to the second and final run of the game for Milwaukee. After Pena got himself into a jam with two, one-out walks, he was taken out of the game in favor of lefty Dan Meadows. Following a walk from Meadows, another wild pitch allowed Kyeong Kong to score from third to put the Biscuits up by two.
Unfortunately for the Stars, that was all the run support Biscuits starting pitcher Jacob Thompson needed. The 23-year-old righty pitched a season-high seven innings without giving up a run on just three hits to improve to 6-5 on the season. The win for Thompson was salvaged after lefty C.J Riefenhauser came into the game and shut down the Stars through the final two innings to notch his team-leading 8th save of the season.
With the loss, Pena fell to 5-4 on the season. The shutout marked the fifth time this season that the Stars offense has been shutout. In 2012, the Stars were shutout nine times total.
On offense, the Stars only managed four hits, including a double and a triple from outfielder Kentrail Davis. Outfielders Brock Kjeldgaard and Rene Tosoni had the only other hits for Huntsville.
Now eight games under .500 with eight games remaining in the first half of the Southern League season, the Stars will not have a winning record for their fourth consecutive half dating back to 2011.
On Sunday, the Stars will play game three of a five-game series at Riverwalk Stadium against the Montgomery Biscuits. Huntsville will send RHP Taylor Jungmann (6-5, 4.22 ERA) to the bump as Montgomery will counter with RHP Merrill Kelly (5-5, 3.62 ERA). First pitch is at 6:05 CT.