By Steve Kolbe
After winning the first game of the season, the Jacksonville Suns have dropped two straight after a 3-1 loss to Huntsville on Saturday night.
The Stars struck early when Suns starting pitcher Matt Montgomery walked Kentrail Davis on four pitches to begin the game. After stealing second base and then moving to third base on a ground out, Davis scored the first run of the night when Scooter Gennett grounded to short and the Stars led 1-0.
Davis reached base again in the third inning, stole second, and scored on Gennett’s single to left to make it 2-0 Huntsville. The Suns scored their only run of the night in the third inning. Donnie Webb bunted for a base hit, and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Kyle Jensen to cut the Stars lead in half at 2-1.
That would be as close as the Suns would get. Huntsville added a run in the sixth inning on an RBI double by pinch hitter Lee Haydel to make the score 3-1. It marks the second straight game that a Stars pinch hitter has driven in a run.
The Suns were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, while the Stars were 5-for-13. Through three games Jacksonville is 5-for-26 with runners in scoring position.
Jake Smolinski had a big night at the plate, going 3-for-4 with three doubles. He fell just short of tying the Southern League record for most doubles in a game by a single player. The record is four, last accomplished by Jacksonville’s Jimmy Rohan during the 2006 season.
Huntsville catcher Jason Jaramillo collected three hits. Angel Gonzalez and Jeff Bianchi combined for four of the Stars 12 total hits.
Second baseman Paul Gran had a pair of singles and finished 2-for-4. Jaime Ortiz, Shawn Bowman, and Donnie Webb each had a hit in the game. Gennett drove in two of the three Huntsville runs, Lee Haydel drove in the other. Kyle Jensen had the only run driven in for the Suns.
Jacksonville starter Matt Montgomery suffers the loss. He pitched five and two thirds innings, allowing eight hits and three runs. Kyle Kaminska and Josh Schmidt combined to pitch three and a third shutout innings. Huntsville starting pitcher Evan Anundsen went three innings and allowed five hits and a run. Bradley Blanks, Jesus Sanchez, and Robert Wooten each pitched two innings for the Stars. Blanks picks up his first win, while Wooten earns the save.
Right-hander Kyle Heckathorn takes the mound for Huntsville in game four of the series on Sunday afternoon. The Suns will give the ball to lefty Graham Taylor.