By Andrew Green
KODAK – Huntsville outfielder D’Vontrey Richardson smacked a leadoff homer, along with a triple and scored two runs, while four Huntsville hurlers held the Smokies to a lone run as the Stars toppled Tennessee 3-1 on Thursday evening at Smokies Stadium.
The defeat drops Tennessee back to below the .500 mark at 10-11, while the victory moves Huntsville to 12-8. The win also gives the Stars a 1-0 lead in the series.
Huntsville wasted no time getting on the board, with Richardson’s leadoff blast in the opening frame. The homer was the first of the year for the 25-year-old, and gave the Stars the early 1-0 advantage.
Richardson would then play a key role in helping the road team double their lead to 2-0. The outfielder smashed a one-out triple to deep right-center before coming across on 1B Nick Ramirez’s run-scoring two-bagger to left.
The single tallied theme continued in the subsequent frame, as Huntsville increased the margin to three. RF Mitch Haniger began the sixth with a single, prior to circling all the way around from first to the plate on C Adam Weisenburger’s double to left.
Tennessee would end the Stars’ shutout thoughts in the seventh after getting the first three batters on base. 2B Stephen Bruno began the frame with a single to left and moved to second on a walk, before coming home on C Rafael Lopez’s RBI double to left. Much was left to be desired in that inning however, as the Smokies later loaded the bases but were unable to bring in another tally.
Richardson (2-4, 2 R, 1 3B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB) was the lone Huntsville batter to record a multi-hit effort, while Bruno (2-5, 1 R), 1 3B) was the only Smokies hitter to accomplish that feat. 3B Kris Bryant reached base twice, including a double to extend his on-base streak and hit streak to 20 and seven games respectively. Bryant’s 20-game on-base streak is the longest active stretch in the Southern League.
Stars starting pitcher Tyler Cravy (5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO) earned the win with five scoreless frames of work and yielding just two hits, while Smokies right-hander Ivan Pineyro (5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO) suffered the loss to fall to 0-2. Relievers Casey Medlen (1.0 IP, 1 SO), David Goforth (2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO) and Arcenio Leon (1.0 IP, 1 SO) kept Tennessee quiet despite the blemish in the seventh, with Leon notching his second save of the season.
Tennessee and Huntsville are set to square off in the second game of their series Friday evening at Smokies Stadium, with first pitch set for 7:15 p.m. The Smokies are scheduled to give the nod to right-hander Matt Loosen (1-1, 5.27), while the Stars are expected to turn to right-hander Brooks Hall (1-1, 3.43).
Friday evening is sure to be a blast a Smokies Stadium, with Fireworks Friday, presented by Pepsi, Coors Light, the Knoxville News Sentinel, WVLT and WIVK. Each Friday night Tennessee Smokies home contest is brought to you by Remote Area Medical.
Tickets are still available for Friday 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 .