June 23, 2007
Sevierville -- The Tennessee Smokies took the rubber match of the six-game series against the Huntsville Stars on Saturday night with a hard fought 2-1 win in front of 5,191 excited fans. Paul Schappert pitched his best outing of the season, going five solid innings yielding only one run on four hits. The Smokies bullpen shined once again to preserve the victory for Schappert.
Huntsville got on the board early against Schappert (3-2) in the first inning. Steve Moss opened the game with a single for the Stars, and eventually moved to 2nd on a Steve Sollman groundout. Moss came home on an Adam Heether single, but Jorge Cortes gunned down Sollman at third base to end the inning and avoid further damage. With the run scoring in the play, Huntsville had an early 1-0 lead.
The Smokies struck back with a run of their own in the bottom half of the first inning. Tennessee jumped on Stars pitcher Sam Narron (3-6) with two consecutive singles by leadoff hitter Sam Fuld followed by Issmael Salas. Fuld crossed the plate to tie the game after a Jake Fox groundout was followed by a throwing error, and suddenly the game was tied at one.
Tennessee scored their second and last run of the game for both teams in the bottom of the 4th inning. With two out and Cortes on first base, Schappert reached on an error to put runners at 1st and 2nd. Sam Fuld then delivered with a single down the left field line to score Cortes and put the Smokies up 2-1.
The score would remain that way for the rest of the contest, as the Smokies bullpen once again came through with a spectacular outing. After Schappert exited after five strong innings, the combination of Billy Petrick, Jerry Blevins, and Jim Henderson teamed up to throw three scoreless innings. Henderson pitched the ninth inning to pick up his fourth save.
Tennessee will take to the road and travel to North Carolina for a six game series against division rival Carolina Mudcats. The Smokies will return home to Smokies Park for a four game series against the Mississippi Braves on Saturday June 30th through Tuesday July 3rd.