(ZEBULON, S.C.) - Mat Gamel went 5-for-5, leading the Stars on a 17-hit attack as the Huntsville Stars wrapped up a six-game series with a 6-5 win over the Carolina Mudcats, Sunday afternoon at Five County Stadium.
Gamel is the 14th Huntsville Star in history to have a 5-hit game (Alcides Escobar and Mel Stocker did it last year. Jose Canseco did it twice in 1985).
Troy Cate, making his debut for the Stars after the Brewers acquired him Friday from the independent Golden League, found himself behind 1-0 after he gave up a one-out single to Manuel Mayorson. Mayorson advanced to third base on a single by Chris Coghlan, then scored when Gamel tried to double up Gaby Sanchez after making a leaping catch on his liner to third. Gamel's low one-hop throw to first base scored Mayorson with the game's first run.
Cate, however, set up the Stars' first run with a bunt single that loaded the bases for Freddy Parejo, whose ground out scored Chris Errecart to tie the game.
Cate (1-0) lasted five innings, giving up 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits, striking out 6.
The Stars took a 3-1 lead in the 3rd after Gamel's leadoff single. Gamel advanced to third on Matt LaPorta's single, with LaPorta taking second on the throw back into the infield. Gamel then scored on a bang-bang play at first on Cole Gillespie's grounder. LaPorta scored from second on Chris Errecart's single.
Errecart had four hits, including two doubles. Matt LaPorta singled, doubled and drove in 2 runs to snap out of a 5-game 4-for-18 skid.
Cate, Steve Bray, and Jason Shiell were able to hold the Mudcats back except for right fielder Bryan Petersen, making his Double-A debut. Petersen doubled to right in the 2nd, singled in two runs to make it a 4-3 game in the 4th, singled with two out off Steve Bray in the 6th, and singled in two more runs in the 8th to make it a 6-5 game.
Fortunately, Juan Sandoval didn't have to face him. Sandoval, who ends June with a sparkling 0.60 ERA in 11 appearances, picked up his 8th save, his 3rd of the month, by retiring the side against some of the toughest hitters against the Stars this season -- Maybin (.293 vs. Stars pitching), Mayorson (.395), and Coghlan (.351) -- in order.
The Stars have two more series with Carolina -- another one at Five County Stadium later in July and one at the Joe, August 23-27. Their split with Carolina gives the Stars a 4-7 record against them this year.
The Stars open a four-game series against the Tennessee Smokies, Monday night with southpaw David Welch (8-1) looking for his first win since June 7. The Smokies will counter with left-hander James Russell (3-2).