The Suns beat the Stars 3-1 at Joe Davis Stadium in game one of a three-game series. Jacksonville finished with six hits, all singles. Photo Courtesy: Huntsville Stars
By Steve Kolbe
The Jacksonville Suns avoided being swept in a series for the first time this season, with a 3-1 win over the Huntsville Stars Monday night at Joe Davis Stadium. The season series between the two teams ends with each side winning four of the eight games.
The Stars scored their lone run in the third inning against starter Zach Neal. Josh Prince hit an infield single and took second on a throwing error by third baseman Curt Smith. When Prince attempted to steal third, Neal’s throw went past Smith with Prince scoring on the Suns second error of the inning.
Huntsville starter Hiram Burgos retired the first 12 Suns batters of the game until Curt Smith singled in the fifth inning.
Jake Jefferies led off the sixth inning with a walk, and went to second when Donnie Webb reached on an error. After a ground out by Jose Duarte moved the runners over a base, Paul Gran drove in Jefferies with a sacrifice fly to tie the game 1-1. Gran drove in three runs in the three game series.
The Suns took a 2-1 lead in the eighth when Kyle Jensen led off with a walk, and pinch hitter Shawn Bowman drove him in with a single to right. Bowman had at least one hit in all three games against the Stars.
Jacksonville added an insurance run in the ninth. Jeff Dominguez reached on an error by third baseman T.L. Mittelstaedt, and Jensen drove him in with a RBI single to make the score 3-1. The win improved the Suns record to 10-33 when they allow the first run of the game.
The Suns had the leadoff man in an inning reach base three times in the last three innings, and all three times he came around to score. The Suns scored all three of their runs in the game with two outs. Jacksonville won for just the third time in the last nine road games.
Curt Smith, Kyle Jensen, and Shawn Bowman each had a single in the game. Jensen and Bowman drove in a run and are tied for the team lead with 42 RBI’s. Hunter Morris went 2-for-4 on Monday, and in the series finished with three home runs, two triples, five RBI’s, and scored four runs. Morris leads the Southern League in hits (104), RBI’s (67), doubles (27), and extra-base hits (46). He’s second in the league in batting average (.314) behind Jackson’s Nick Franklin.
In his second straight solid outing, Suns starter Zach Neal allowed five hits and one unearned run over five innings. Jordan Conley (1-1) allowed one hit in his two innings of work for the win. A.J. Ramos again showed why he’s the most dominant closer in the league, breezing through the final two innings for his ninth save of the season. Ramos earned the save in all three of the Suns wins on the road trip.
The Suns begin a three game series against the Montgomery Biscuits on Wednesday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.