The Birmingham Barons struck out a season-high 19 batters Saturday en route to a 5-0 shutout win over the Huntsville Stars in front of a sellout crowd of 8,500 at Regions Field.
Jeremy Farrell put the Barons ahead 2-0 in the second with a bases-loaded single scoring Kevan Smith and Joey DeMichele against Huntsville starter Austin Ross (0-1, 3.86). DeMichel would extend the lead to 4-0 in the fifth with another bases-loaded single, chasing Ross from the game after allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits over 4.2 IP.
The run support was more than enough for Barons' starter Chris Bassitt (1-0, 1.06) who allowed just three hits and struck out a season-high 11 over 6.0 scoreless IP. The 11 strikeouts were the most by a single pitcher for the Barons since Jack Egbert struck out 11 against Montgomery on April 24, 2007. It also set a Regions Field individual record passing Erik Johnson's 10-strikeout performance against the Stars on April 22, 2013.
Nelvin Fuentes relieved Bassitt in the seventh and proceeded to strike out four batters in the inning after a wild pitch on a strikeout against Josh Prince allowed him to reach base. Over 2.0 scoreless innings, he struck out six batters while allowing just two hits. In the ninth inning David Cales tallied two additional strikeouts bringing the team total to 19. Over the span of four innings from the fifth inning to the eighth, the Barons recorded 10-consecutive outs via strikeout.
The 19 strikeouts were the most by the Barons since collecting 22 whiffs against Jackson on July 22, 2013 in a 15-inning game. It was also the most strikeouts in a nine-inning game since tallying 20 against Chattanooga on April 28, 1993.
With the win, the Barons snapped their season-worst seven-game losing streak, improving to 52-66 on the year and 23-25 in the second half while Huntsville fell to 69-50 overall and 23-26 in the second half.
The Barons will look to win their series finale against the Stars tomorrow afternoon as RHP Myles Jaye (3-9, 5.85) takes the hill against LHP Brent Suter (9-8, 4.24). First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 PM CDT.