KODAK, Tenn. - Justin Bour’s two-run home run in the sixth inning led the Tennessee Smokies to a 4-1 victory over the Huntsville Stars Thursday night at Smokies Park. The win, in front of 4,130, improved the Smokies to 9-5 in the second half, 43-40 overall.
After an hour and 17-minute rain delay, Smokies starter Eric Joksich worked in-and-out of trouble to start the game. The Stars (5-11, 34-50) got on the board first in the second when Joey Paciorek hit his first home run of the season to give Huntsville the early 1-0 advantage.
Huntsville starter Drew Gagnon (1-4) kept the Smokies hitless through four innings, until Christian Villanueva led off the fifth inning with a single to left field. Matt Szczur extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a leadoff triple in the Smokies’ sixth. The next batter, Arismendy Alcantara, hit a RBI-single between first and second to tie the game at one. One batter later, Bour brought the crowd to their feet with his seventh home run of the season to give the Smokies the 3-1 lead.
The Smokies added an insurance run in the eighth inning. John Andreoli singled to leadoff the inning and later stole second base. Bour then walked and Villanueva loaded the bases with a single to left field. Andreoli came in to score on a Rubi Silva sacrifice fly.
Jokisch would finish strong striking out a career-high nine batters in his six innings of work, before giving the ball to reliever P.J. Francescon, who worked a perfect two innings, fanning two. Tony Zych (S, 1) came in to close out the game for the Smokies in the ninth inning, striking out two in his inning of work.
Following a walk in the top of the third inning, the Smokies pitchers did not allow a Stars’ batter to reach base.
Villanueva led the Smokies nine-hit offensive attack going 3-for-4 with a double. Szczur added a 2-for-3 performance.
The Smokies and Stars will continue their five-game series on Friday night at 7:15 p.m. at Smokies Park. Smokies RHP Alberto Cabrera (7-3, 3.49) will face off against RHP Ariel Pena (5-6, 3.14). Friday is ALS Night and following the game will feature another great fireworks extravaganza. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit smokiesbaseball.com or call 286-2300.