Audio: Gulin finishes with a flourish
Audio: Heether's RBI single
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With his team facing elimination, Lindsay Gulin had some extra motivation in the stands on Sunday.
Gulin tossed a three-hitter as the Huntsville Stars blanked the Tennessee Smokies, 6-0, in Game 4 of the Southern League North Division Finals.
"I'm feeling great," the 30-year-old left-hander said. "I just wanted to get ahead of the guys and throw strikes."
With his grandfather in attendance, Gulin struck out seven and walked two en route to his first complete game for an affiliated team since 2003. In two regular-season starts against the Smokies, he was 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA.
"We did a good job of keeping them off-balance," he said. "Lou Palmisano did a great job behind the plate. It was a special game."
Gulin also benefited from solid defense. In the fifth, third baseman Adam Heether threw out speedy Eric Patterson on a sacrifice bunt.
"The guy absolutely flies," said Gulin (1-0). "That's big when you're in a close game."
Heether also drove in three runs, two with a double in the sixth. Alcides Escobar went 3-for-4 and scored three runs and Hernan Iribarren hit three singles and drove in a run for the Stars.
Tennessee starter Donnie Veal (0-1) gave up three runs on four hits, walked five and struck out three over four innings.
Patterson, Chris Robinson and Jemel Spearman had the hits for the Smokies.
The decisive fifth game is Monday night in Huntsville.
Michael Blinn is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.