To begin the second half of their season, the Huntsville Stars dropped the series opener against the Jacksonville Suns by a score of 9-4 at Bragan Field on Wednesday night.
Unfortunately for the Stars, they began trailing for most of the night early in the first. After starting pitcher Drew Gagnon began the bottom of the first by giving up back-to-back singles to outfielder Jake Marisnick and shortstop Danny Black, a balk from Gagnon gave the Suns a 1-0 lead. Later in the inning, a RBI single from catcher J.T Realmuto scored Black to put Jacksonville up 2-0.
However, the lead for Jacksonville would not last for long. Following a leadoff walk in the top of the second inning by outfielder Kentrail Davis, fellow outfielder Brock Kjeldgaard launched a two-run homer off over the left-field wall to tie up the game. For Kjeldgaard, the homer was his 13th of the season and the 100th of his professional career.
For Jacksonville, that was the closest they would let the Stars get.
During the bottom half of the second inning, a two-run homer from outfielder Kyle Jensen and a RBI single from Black put the Suns up by three. For Jensen, the homer was his league-leading 16th of the season and eighth homer in his last 14 games.
One inning later, a sacrifice fly from outfielder Danny Pertusati put Jacksonville up 6-2.
The score stayed that way until the sixth inning, where the Stars were able to provide one last offensive surge. With starting pitcher Adam Conley (W, 7-2) still in the game, the Marlins 10th ranked prospect gave up a leadoff double to Davis and walked Kjeldgaard to begin the inning. After a groundout advanced both runners into scoring position, shortstop Hector Gomez plated both runners with a two-out, two-run single to cut the Stars deficit to two.
However, that momentum would vanish quickly. With reliever Arcenio Leon in the ballgame for the Stars in the seventh inning, Pertusati crushed a three-run homer off the Suns scoreboard in left-center field to make the score 9-4.
The loss for the Stars marked Gagnon's first defeat in Double-A, as he fell to 1-1 on the season with the Stars after giving up six runs in five innings while striking out seven batters.
On offense, Gomez and Kjeldgaard paced the Stars with two hits apiece.
The Stars and Suns will play game two of a five-game series at Bragan Field on Thursday. Huntsville will send RHP Ariel Pena (5-5, 3.00 ERA) to the bump as Jacksonville will counter with a starting pitcher that has yet to be determined. First pitch is at 7:05 ET.