The second half of the Southern League's schedule hasn't been kind to the Huntsville Stars after a dominating opening half, but whatever was ailing the Milwaukee Brewers' Class AA farm team the last three weeks wasn't evident Friday night at AT&T Field.
The Stars worked some strong two-out magic to even the best-of-five series with the Chattanooga Lookouts with an 11-3 win, scoring in each of the first six innings. Huntsville's first eight runs were scored with two outs, including six in three innings off Lookouts starting pitcher Matt Shelton, who fell to 2-2.
The Stars (10-12 in the second half and 56-36 overall) hit three home runs, with Nick Ramirez starting the scoring with his 16th of the season in the first inning. D'Vontray Richardson hit a two-run homer in the third and Hainley Statia a solo shot in the sixth, part of a 13-hit attack in which seven Huntsville batters got a hit and drove in a run.
The Lookouts (9-13, 35-57) showed some fight in the second inning. With his team trailing 3-0 with two on and two out, Angel Sanchez singled to drive in one and J.C. Boscan came home on an errant throw from Huntsville catcher Robinson Diaz. However, Stars starter Jacob Barnes (2-3) struck out Shelton to end the inning.
Richardson followed with his two-run homer in the third and Yadiel Rivera, who had three hits, made it 6-2 with an RBI single. Statia added a two-run double in the inning and the rout was on.
The Lookouts managed only four hits against four Huntsville pitchers.
Barnes earned the win with five innings of three-hit pitching, allowing one earned run. Jim Henderson, the Tennessee Wesleyan graduate who was the Brewers' closer last year, continued his injury rehabilitation with two strong innings of one-hit relief. He came out after walking Darnell Sweeney to lead off the eighth inning.
Chattanooga relief pitcher Juan Ramon Noriega had to be carried off the field after throwing a pitch in the sixth inning with what appeared to be a back injury. No official word on Noriega's status had been given as of the end of the game.
Chris Reed (4-6) is scheduled to start on the mound for the Lookouts in tonight's 7:15 game three, with Huntsville going with Jed Bradley (1-4).
Contact Lindsey Young at email@example.com or at 423-757-6296.