(HUNTSVILLE) - Trying to lay claim on 1st place in the Northern division of the Southern League, the Huntsville Stars and West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx have traded knockdowns, but no knockout. Sunday was WT's turn as Justin Thomas struck out 10 en route to a complete game 2-0 shutout over the Stars at Joe Davis Stadium.
The left-hander, who was 3-3 in May with a 6.27 ERA, blanked the Stars, hitting .304 -- 31 points higher than the 2nd place Diamond Jaxx in the league -- for the first time this season.
Thomas and Brae Wright were locked in a scoreless duel until the 6th inning when Michael Wilson launched a one-out solo home run over the scoreboard in left-centerfield.
West Tennessee made it 2-0 after forcing Wright from the game. Mike Saunders singled into right-center past a diving Michael Bell, scoring Luis Valbuena. Valbuena had reached with a one-out single and was pushed to third on a hit-and-run by Brett Johnson.
The Stars were held to five hits and managed to get just one runner to third after Freddy Parejo tripled in the 3rd inning, but he was stranded after Michael Brantley grounded to first against a drawn-in infield and Alcides Escobar grounded out to short.
Escobar singled in the 6th and advanced on a ground ball, but was thrown out trying to steal third on a close play. Thomas then retired the next 11 hitters to end the game. Thomas has given up just two runs, one earned, on 10 hits over 14 2/3 innings in two appearances against the Stars this season.
Huntsville starter Brae Wright allowed just 2 hits over 5 scoreless innings before Wilson's blast, and is now 3-1 with a 2.31 ERA over his last four starts.
One team or the other will be on top of the division after tonight as right-hander Donovan Hand gets the nod for the Stars against Diamond Jaxx right-hander Denny Stark (1-2, 4.97)