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Stars go for record number of bases05/01/2008 1:29 AM ET
By Steve Conley
As the old saying goes, records were meant to be broken. But the Huntsville Stars had to settle for a tie on Wednesday.
The Stars matched a 37-year-old Southern League record by rapping out 13 extra-base hits en route to their seventh straight win, a 14-6 trouncing of the Montgomery Biscuits at Riverwalk Stadium.
After the first five Stars hitters were retired by Montgomery left-hander Jacob McGee, Cole Gillespie lined a double to left field and Michael Bell followed with his second homer to left field to begin the onslaught in the second. Gillespie went 4-for-5 with three of Huntsville's seven doubles and smacked a two-run homer in the seventh.
The Stars (18-8) scored four more times in the fifth on four extra-base hits. Ryan Crew doubled to center and Mat Gamel drew a two-out walk before Matt LaPorta hit a three-run homer to left, his league-leading seventh of the year. Chris Errecart and Gillespie then ripped back-to-back doubles to left and center respectively to cap the frame.
In the seventh, Gamel tripled to center and scored on LaPorta's double ahead of Gillespie's two-run blast to left. Gamel accounted for the final two extra-base hits with solo home runs in the eighth (to left field) and ninth (to center). The 22-year-old third baseman extended his hitting streak to 15 games, during which he is hitting .453 (29-for-64) with five home runs, 16 RBIs and six straight multi-hit games. The Florida native hit in 36 consecutive games for the Stars a year ago.
Mike Bell hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs for the Stars, who rank first in the Southern League in average (.297), runs (164) and on-base percentage (.373). Their 26 home runs are tied for tops in the league with Chattanooga.
The Charlotte Hornets first set the record for extra-base hits on April 24, 1971, and the mark was equaled by the Charlotte O's on Aug. 20, 1985.
Huntsville starter Steve Hammond (3-1) allowed four runs -- three earned -- on three hits and a walk while striking out six to win his second straight decision.
McGee (2-2) gave up seven runs on eight hits and a walk while fanning six over 4 2/3 frames.
Ronnie Merrill hit a two-run homer for the Biscuits (9-17), who lost their seventh straight home game.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.