Stars Shutdown By M-Braves Bullpen, Lose 5-1
Four M-Braves relievers combined to give up one run over seven innings following an injury to their starter J.R Graham, defeating the Stars by a score of 5-1 on Monday at Trustmark Park.
Graham exited the ballgame after throwing his warmup pitches in the third inning. The second-ranked prospect in the Braves organization gave up a hit in two innings without giving up a runner while striking out a batter.
With the game scoreless after five innings, it was the Stars that took the initial lead of the game, scoring their only run on the contest off of righty Andrew Russell. Following a leadoff single by right fielder Kentrail Davis, first basemen Jason Rogers crushed a double that one-hopped the centerfield wall. The two-bagger scored Davis from first to give Huntsville a 1-0 lead.
For Rogers, the RBI double marked his tenth run batted in over the last six games.
Unfortunately for the Stars, the M-Braves scored the final five runs of the game over the next two innings.
After Stars starting pitcher Ariel Pena began the night with five scoreless frames, he gave up back-to-back singles to pinch-hitter Phil Gosselin and outfielder Mycal Jones. One batter later, Christian Bethancourt hit a sacrifice fly to score Jones, snapping a 16.2 inning scoreless streak for Pena while chasing him from the game.
Once Pena exited the ballgame, lefty Alan Williams gave up a RBI single to second basemen Tommy La Stella and another sacrifice fly by third basemen Edward Salcedo to make the score 3-1.
Since the RBI single scored Jones, who was the responsibility of Pena, the 23-year-old former Angels prospect fell to 2-3 on the year with the loss. Pena gave up two runs and four hits while striking out five in 5.1 innings of work.
In the seventh inning, the M-Braves tacked on two insurance runs off of Stars righty Santo Manzanillo. Following singles from shortstop Jaime Pedroza and Jones, back-to-back RBI singles from Bethancourt and La Stella put Mississippi up 5-1.
Earning the win for the M-Braves in relief was Russell, improving to 1-0 on the year after giving up a run in three innings of work. Righty Mark Lamm earned his third save of the season after shutting out the Stars over the final three innings of the game, giving up four hits and striking out three in the process.
On offense, the Stars were led by shortstop Ozzie Chavez and catcher Shawn Zarraga with two hits apiece.
In game three of a five-game series, the Stars will send RHP Taylor Jungmann (2-4, 6.51 ERA) to square off against M-Braves LHP Alex Wood (2-1, 0.47 ERA). Wood is entering the game without giving up an earned run in his last five starts, spanning 28.1 IP. First pitch is at 7:00 PM.
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