By Brett Pollock / Huntsville Stars | April 7, 2008 7:40 PM
Sam Narron worked six strong innings and Mat Gamel collected three hits and knocked in a pair of runs, as Huntsville raced to a big early lead and went on to down Mississippi 9-5 Monday night at Joe Davis Stadium to complete a sweep of the season-opening five-game series. The Stars have started a season 5-0 for the first time in the 24-year history of the franchise and finished their second straight five-game series sweep of the Braves dating back to last August.
Alcides Escobar tripled in a run and scored on a Gamel ground out to give the Stars a 2-0 lead just three batters into the home half of the first inning. Mike Bell added a run-scoring double and Carlos Corporan singled in a two-out run in the third inning to push the home team's lead to 6-0. Dustin Evans suffered the loss in his first double-A start after allowing six runs, five earned, on eight hits over three frames.
Narron retired 11 hitters in a row after allowing a one-out double in the first before Mark Jurich led off the fifth inning with his second home run to get the visitors on the board. Matt Young led off the sixth inning with a pinch-hit double and scored on a Javier Guzman ground out to cut the lead to 6-2. Narron allowed two runs on four hits and fanned three in avenging a loss to the Braves in his first start of last season in the last game of the season-starting series, when he took the loss after allowing five runs in the first inning. The five Huntsville starters combined to allow only four earned runs over a combined 27 2/3 innings in the series.
Guzman's sacrifice fly trimmed the Stars advantage to 6-4 and when Jordan Schafer doubled with two outs in the eighth, manager Don Money called on Joe Bateman to try to close the door. Kala Ka'aihue greeted him with a single to plate Schafer to cut the lead to one but Bateman struck out Jurich to end the rally. Michael Brantley's two-run, bases loaded single and a two-out, run-producing hit by Gamel off of Michael Nix pushed the home team's lead back to four in the bottom of the inning. Bateman then tossed a shutout ninth inning to record his second save.
The Stars open a five-game series against West Tenn Wednesday night with left-hander Steve Hammond taking the mound against Diamond Jaxx right-hander Doug Fister. Coverage of the game begins at 6:50 pm central time and can be heard locally on SportsRadio 730 WUMP and through the internet at www.huntsvillestars.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.