The Stars slammed four home runs, including two from first baseman Hunter Morris and one each from left fielder Khris Davis and right fielder Kentrail Davis, as Huntsville powered past the Pensacola Blue Wahoos 6-2 on Wednesday night at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.
The victory was the fourth in a row for the Stars, who improve their record in the second half to 15-17. The defeated dropped the Fish to a 18-14 mark since the league's All-Star Break. The team wore Reds jerseys for the contest in honor of the club's affiliation with the Cincinnati Reds, while fans in attendance also wore red.
Pensacola got the scoring started in the opening frame to take the early 1-0 lead. SS Billy Hamilton drew a free pass and subsequently swiping second for his 113th steal of the year before moving to third on an error and home on an RBI single by RF Bryson Smith. The theft means the speedster is now 32 steals away from Vince Coleman's all-time mark of 145, which he set in 1983 with Single-A Macon.
Huntsville would then launch their first homer of the contest in the next inning, when Morris led off the second with a solo shot to right. The left-handed slugger then mashed his second longball of the evening in his next at bat in the fourth to up his season total to 18. Kentrail Davis followed Morris with a solo blast of his own to combine for back-to-back jacks. A third Stars tally would come across in the fourth thanks to a Blue Wahoos error to make it 4-1.
The fourth and final Stars shot would come in the fifth, when Khris Davis deposited the first pitch of the at bat to left for his sixth roundtripper of the year, extending the advantage to five. Pensacola pinch hitter Josh Fellhauer cut the deficit to three in the fifth, scoring 3B David Vidal from third, but Huntsville answered right back in the sixth with a run-scoring single by SS Tommy Manzella to complete the scoring.
Morris (2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB) was the lone Huntsville hitter to collect two or more hits in the contest, while Smith (2-4, 1 RBI) also recorded a multi-hit effort for the Blue Wahoos. 1B Beau Mills drew a free pass in the sixth to extend his team-record on-base streak to 28, accounting for every game he has played for Pensacola this year.
Stars starter Johnnie Lowe (5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO) earned the win after yielding just two earned runs on four hits in his five innings of work, while the relief trio of Dan Meadows (2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 SO), Darren Byrd (1.0 IP, 1 SO) and Brandon Kintzler (1.0 IP, 1 H) combined for the final four shutout frames. Pensacola RHP Kyle Lotzkar (4.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO) suffered the loss to fall to 4-5, as Josh Ravin (1.0 IP, 1 BB, 3 SO), Justin Freeman (1.0 IP, 2 SO) and Chris Manno (1.0 IP, 2 SO) totaled seven strikeouts in the last three innings.
The two teams are scheduled to meet again on Thursday evening, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. at the bayfront stadium. RHP Daniel Corcino is slated to toe the rubber for the Blue Wahoos, while Huntsville is expected to counter with RHP Josh Stinson.
It's another Thirsty Thursday at the ballpark, meaning fans can take advantage of drink specials with $1 canned sodas and $2 12 oz. draft beers. Blue Wahoos Happy Hour will also take place for the first hour after gates open at 5:30 p.m., with $2 small drinks and $5 burger baskets.
Families count will also be holding a sock drive to benefit homeless veterans, with collection of new basic undergarments in all sizes taking place at the main gate before the game. Fans not able to attend can catch the contest on television locally on WFGX My 35, as well as on MiLB.TV, 1450 AM ESPN Pensacola and online at BlueWahoos.com.