Despite not having a runner on base from the second inning to the eighth inning, the Huntsville Stars won their first game in the second half of the Southern League season in style with a 3-1 victory over the Jacksonville Suns in 10 innings at Bragan Field on Friday.
After getting shutout on Thursday night, things started out well on offense for the Stars.
Following a leadoff walk by second basemen Nick Shaw, a single from outfielder Rene Tosoni accompanied by a hit-and-run put runners at the corners with nobody out. The next at-bat, a RBI groundout from first basemen Jason Rogers scored Shaw to put the Stars up 1-0.
With a pitcher duel from Suns starter Jay Jackson and Stars starter Taylor Jungmann, the score stayed like that all the way until the bottom of the seventh inning.
The downfall for Jungmann began when he gave up a leadoff single to first basemen Kyle Jensen. After allowing Jensen to steal second, Jungmann then walked third basemen Ryan Fisher to put runners on first and second with nobody out. During the next at-bat, Jungmann fielded a grounder from left fielder Mark Canha and threw it into right field, allowing Jensen to score to tie up the game.
Fortunately for the Stars, the Brewers second-ranked prospect (per MLB.com) settled down. With runners at second and third and nobody out, Jungmann retired the next three batters he faced to end the Suns threat and close out another strong outing (7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 K, 2 BB).
The lack of offense for both teams would pour over into extra innings, where the Stars bats began to wake up against Suns righty Michael Brady. Following a leadoff walk by outfielder Brock Kjeldgaard, a perfectly executed hit-and-run by third basemen Mike Walker put runners at first and third with nobody out. With the count 1-0, shortstop Hector Gomez then laid down a suicide-squeeze just in front of the pitcher Brady to score Kjeldgaard for the game-winning run.
Later in the inning, a pinch-hit RBI double from Shawn Zarraga put the Stars up 3-1.
On the pitching side, righty Eric Marzec improved to 2-0 on the season after earning the win in two innings of scoreless relief. Reliever Santo Manzanillo notched his first save of the season with a scoreless bottom of the tenth.
The win for the Stars marked just their fifth extra inning game this season, improving their record to 2-3 in those games.
On Saturday, the Stars and Suns will play game four of a five-game series at Bragan Field. Huntsville will send RHP Brooks Hall (0-0, 10.80 ERA) to the bump as Jacksonville will counter with RHP Robert Morey (2-4, 5.28 ERA). First pitch is at 7:05 ET.
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