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After scoring just two runs in their previous two games, the Huntsville Stars broke out to seven runs in the first four inning on Saturday en route to a 8-2 victory against the Tennessee Smokies at Smokies Park.
For the Stars, the offensive barrage starting early in the first inning when they hit four straight singles and the first five batters reached base to begin the game against Smokies starting pitcher Austin Kirk. Highlighting the surge was a RBI single from first basemen Jason Rogers, a bases-loaded walk drawn by outfielder Brock Kjeldgaard and a sacrifice fly by catcher Adam Weisenburger that put the Stars up by 3-0.
Following a solo homer by Smokies shortstop Javier Baez in the bottom of the first inning, Huntsville was able to get that run back in the top of the second on a RBI double from outfielder Kentrail Davis that put the Stars back up by three.
In the third inning, Huntsville was able to chase Kirk out of the game with an RBI single from Mike Walker that made the score 5-1 with nobody out and runners on first and third. Smokies reliever Yepier Castillo came into the ballgame and only gave up one run, a RBI fielders-choice off the bat of outfielder Chadwin Stang to put the Stars up by five. That run was tabbed to Kirk, who fell to 1-3 on the year after giving up six runs on seven innings in two innings.
After the Stars tacked on another run in the fourth on a RBI single from Weisenburger, Tennessee got one back on a solo homer from third basemen Christian Villanueva off of Stars starting pitcher Taylor Jungmann.
The two solo homers were the only runs the Smokies were able to score off of Jungmann and the rest of the Stars pitching staff as the 23-year-old improved to 9-6 on the season with the victory. Jungmann gave up just two runs on seven hits in 6.2 innings pitched while striking out a season-high seven batters. His nine wins leads the entire Southern League and he is now 8-2 in his last 11 starts dating back to the first week in May.
Aside from Jungmann, relievers Frankie De La Cruz and Eric Marzec blanked the Smokies bats over the last 2.1 innings of the game.
The Stars scored their other insurance run in the 9th inning on a sacrfice fly by second basemen Shea Vucinich.
On offense, the Stars churned out twelve hits, with Davis leading the way with a 3-for-6 night at the plate. Weisenburger and shortstop Hector Gomez each chipped in with two hits apiece.
The victory for the Stars snaps a four-game losing streak against the Smokies and a two-game losing skid overall.
On Sunday, the Stars will play game four of a five-game series at Smokies Park against the Smokies. Huntsville will send RHP David Goforth (1-1, 8.31 ERA) to the bump while Tennessee will counter with all-star RHP Kyle Hendricks (8-2, 2.06 ERA). First pitch is 5:00 ET.