Home Runs Help Stars Increase Lead to Four with 9-7 Win

(KODAK, Tenn.) - Cole Gillespie, Chris Errercart, Mike Bell, and Alcides Escobar hit home runs as the Huntsville Stars powered David Welch to his 5th victory with a 9-7 win over the Tennessee Smokies at Smokies Park, Monday night.

Welch and teammates Sam Narron and Steve Hammond are the only five-game winners in the Southern League this season.

The Stars improve to 27-11 overall with their 4th straight win on the road. They increase their lead in the Northern Division to four games over the 2nd-place West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx. The Smokies, affiliated with the Chicago Cubs, remain in last place at 15-23 in the Northern Division.

The Smokies led 4-2 after Tyler Colvin's solo home run with two out in the 1st and his 3-run homer in the 3rd, but the Smokies' first lead in the series disappeared in the 4th when the Stars scored 3 runs to give them a 5-4 lead, then 3 more in the 5th to make it 8-4.

Gillespie extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a 2-run HR off starter Mark Holliman to straightaway center field in the 4th. After Errecart lined out, Bell hit his 4th home run of the season on an 0-2 pitch. Three of them have been hit on the road.

Escobar led off the 5th with another home run to straight away center field, his 3rd of the season, to make it 6-4 before Errecart blasted a 2-run homer to dead center to knock Holliman out of the game.

Holliman, who authored a 7-inning no-hitter against the Stars last year, and later beat the Stars in Game One of the Northern Division playoffs, allowed 8 runs on 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings.

The Stars added another run in the 7th on a double-play ball before the Smokies rallied for 3 runs in the botom half of the inning off David Johnson, who had retired the side in order in the 6th.

Joe Bateman and Juan Sandoval closed the door with Sandoval earning his 3rd save.

The Smokies managed 14 hits after being held to just 9 combined in the first two games.

Tuesday night, left-hander Brae Wright takes the mound against Smokies' southpaw James Russell. Of particular note, a Stars win will tie Don Money with Brad Fischer as the winningest manager in Stars history with 230 victories. Fischer managed the Stars in their first three seasons from 1985-1987.

The Stars made one roster move today, releasing pitcher Melqui Torres. To fill the roster spot, the Stars received right-handed pitcher Jason Shiell, who was assigned from Nashville.

Courtesy The Huntsville Stars and www.starsboxscore.com