By Andrew Green
KODAK – The Stars scored eight runs in the eighth inning, while Huntsville starter Brooks Hall fired five scoreless frames as Huntsville topped the Tennessee Smokies 15-1 on Friday evening at Smokies Stadium.
The defeat dropped Tennessee’s overall record to 10-12 this season, while Huntsville improved to 14-8.
For the second consecutive evening, the Stars struck first in the opening frame. 2B Josh Prince reached first with a infield bunt single, before coming across on Ramirez’s longball to left, putting Huntsville up 2-0.
The margin subsequently increased to three in the fourth. C Shawn Zarraga led off with a single to center, took second on a wild pitch and third on a groundout, while SS Nick Shaw drove Zarraga home with a run-scoring base knock to center.
Tennessee eventually got on the board in the sixth with a single tally. Bryant got on to start the inning after being hit by a pitch, and then showed off the wheels by scoring all the way from first on C Rafael Lopez’s run-scoring two-bagger to left, making it 3-1.
The Stars would then pull away with a eight-run eighth frame, with the first nine batters all reaching base. Ramirez singled, while 3B Jason Rogers and Zarraga walked to load the bases for RF Mitch Haniger, who drew a bases loaded free pass for the inning’s first tally. LF Kentrail Davis then brought home two with a double to right, while Shaw added a tally with an RBI single to center.
Following a pair of runs coming across on wild pitches, CF D’Vontrey Richardson capped the scoring with an RBI single to center, making it 10-1. Richardson would then score on a grand slam in the ninth inning by Brock Kjeldgaard, which made it 15-1.
Smokies starter Matt Loosen (6.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO) suffered the loss to fall to 1-2 on the season, while Huntsville hurler Brooks Hall (5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO) earned the win to improve to 2-1 after firing five scoreless frames. Bryant’s extended both his on-base and hit streaks to 21 and eight games respectively.
Tennessee and Huntsville are set to square off in the third game of their series Saturday evening at Smokies Stadium, with first pitch set for 6:15 p.m. Huntsville is expected to give the ball to RHP Drew Gagnon (2-1, 2.66), while the Smokies have not yet announced their starter.
Fans will want to arrive early and stay late, as the first 1,500 through the gates will receive a Javier Baez Bobblehead, courtesy of WBIR, U.S. Cellular and Q100. After the contest, the Q100 Concert Series kicks off with the Jeff Jopling Band performing after the game.
Tickets are still available for Saturday night’s contest, and the remainder of Tennessee’s 2014 home slate, and can be purchased online at www.smokiesbaseball.com, or by calling the Smokies Ticket Office at .