KODAK, Tenn. – RBI singles by Jae-Hoon Ha and Mike Brenly provided all the offense the Tennessee Smokies needed as they defeated the Huntsville Stars, 2-0, on Saturday night in front of 6,221 at Smokies Park. With the win, the Smokies even the series and improve to 22-27, 57-62 on the year. Huntsville fell to 24-25, 59-60.
Three Tennessee pitchers combined to blank the Stars. Starter Dae-Eun Rhee (8-6) fired six innings, allowing six hits and striking out three. Tony Zych followed with two solid innings, where he struck out three and Brian Schlitter entered in the ninth and set down the Huntsville batters in order to secure his fourth save of the season.
Huntsville starter Evan Anundsen matched Rhee on the mound going five scoreless innings allowing two hits and striking out four. The Smokies got on the board in the sixth inning off reliever Dan Meadows (1-3). Elliot Soto led off the inning with a pinch-hit single; then Nick Struck entered the game to run for Soto. Following a Matt Szczur walk, Ha singled scoring Struck from second to give the Smokies a 1-0 advantage.
Tennessee’s offense plated their second run of the game in the seventh inning. Matt Cerda started the inning with a doubles and would come around to score two batters later on Brenly’s single to left to extend the Smokies lead, 2-0.
Szczur led the Smokies six-hit attack going 2-for-3 with a walk on the night.
The Smokies and Stars play the series finale of their five-game series on Sunday evening at 5:00 p.m. at Smokies Park. RHP Yoanner Negrin (0-0, 0.00) will be making his Double-A debut while the Stars will start RHP Jimmy Nelson (1-2, 4.44). Following Sunday’s game will be the Smokies’ annual Christian Concert, featuring the band Fireflight.