(MONTGOMERY) - In their first meeting on the field since Game 5 of the last year's Southern League Championship Series, the Huntsville Stars tied a Southern League record with 13 extra-base hits as they shelled the Montgomery Biscuits, 14-6, Wednesday night at Riverwalk Stadium.
The 13 extra base hits is equaled by Charlotte in a game against Asheville in April, 1971 and Memphis in August 1985.
The Stars hit five home runs in the series opener, the most in a game in nearly 10 years, 7 doubles, and a triple in winning their 7th straight game. In pushing their record to 18-8, they now take a 1½-game lead over Carolina in the Northern Division.
The Stars' also set a new club record for the hottest start in their history with 18 wins and a .692 percentage.
The Biscuits dropped a 4th in a row to fall to 9-17.
The Stars took a 2-0 lead in the 2nd inning on Mike Bell's 2-out, 2-run home run, but Montgomery came back to take a 3-2 lead in the bottom half. Gabriel Martinez took a tour around the bases, getting hit by a Steve Hammond pitch leading off, then advancing to third on two ground ball outs, and scoring on a passed ball by Angel Salome. After 2nd baseman Pat Cottrell walked, Ronnie Merrill belted a 2-run home run to left.
Bell tied the game in the 4th on a 2-out hit to score Cole Gillespie, then took control of the game in the 5th with a 4-run rally.
Designated hitter Ryan Crew led off with a double and stayed there as the next two hitters grounded out before Mat Gamel walked and LaPorta launched a 3-2 pitch over the wall in left field for hit league-leading 7th home run to give the Stars a 6-2 lead. Chris Errecart then laced a double on the next pitch, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on Gillespie's third double of the game that knocked McGee out of the contest.
McGee took the loss to fall to 2-2 after allowing 7 runs on 8 hits and a walk in 4 2/3 innings.
The Stars broke the game open with four more in the 7th on LaPorta's RBI double and a 2-run homer by Gillespie, before a fielder's choice with the bases loaded closed out the scoring.
Mat Gamel belted two late-inning home runs to give him five for the year.
He hit a leadoff home run in the 8th and another solo shot in the 9th to dead center field, at least 425 feet away from home plate. Gamel extended his hitting streak to 15 games and 6th straight with 2 or more hits.
Gillespie scored three times, knocked in three and had his first four-hit game of the season.
Steve Hammond, who started the decisive game of last year's championship, gave up just 3 hits in 7 innings to grab his 3rd win of the season and struck out 6 to push his league-leading total to 39 innings.
The series continues Thursday morning with southpaw Derek Miller facing Biscuits' right-hander Wade Davis.