Nashville, Tn. --- The Fresno Grizzlies (17-16) scored all five of their runs with two outs in the second en route to a 5-3 win over the Nashville Sounds (8-22) on Tuesday evening at Greer Stadium.
The rally started with nobody out on back-to-back singles by catcher Hector Sanchez and left fielder Cole Gillespie followed by a walk from Carter Jurica to load the bases. Shortstop Juan Ciricao flew out to center field, and pitcher Shane Loux (3-1) struck out to register the first two outs of the inning. Third baseman Juan Perez stepped up with the bases still loaded and worked the count full against Nashville left-handed starter Zach Kroenke (0-5). Perez hit a broken bat bloop single to shallow left field that scored Sanchez and Gillespie to give Fresno a 2-0 lead. Center fielder Gary Brown followed with a two-run double to left field scoring Jurica and Perez. Right fielder Roger Kieschnick contributed after Brown with an RBI double to right field giving the Grizzlies the five-run advantage.
That was enough for Loux who has won his last three starts. He lasted six innings, giving up three hits and one run (earned), walking three, and striking out three.
Fresno led 5-1 going into the bottom of the ninth when things got scary. With one out against Fresno right-hander Ramon Ramirez, Nashville third baseman Stephen Parker singled to right. Catcher Dayton Buller walked, and shortstop Blake Davis singled to right to score Parker and make it 5-2. Ramirez was removed for right-hander Heath Hembree (9). Hembree came on to face the possible tying run, pinch hitter Sean Halton. Halton could only provide a sacrifice fly, which scored fellow Fresno City College product Buller to make it 5-3. Hemree was still left having to face the tying run with two outs in Sounds center fielder Josh Prince, but Hembree got him to ground out to shortstop to end the game.
Kroenke went a season-high five innings. He allowed six hits, five runs (all earned), two walks, and struck out three.
Game two of this scheduled four-game series will be on Wednesday morning at 9:05 PST. Fresno will send left-hander Michael Kickham (0-3) to the hill against Nashville righty R.J. Seidel, who will be making his AAA debut.
Right-handed reliever Steve Edlefsen worked around runners at first and second in the seventh inning with two strikeouts to provide a scoreless frame.
Hembree for the second time this season has saves in back-to-back games. He accomplished the same feat April 26th-27th at Reno.
Kieschnick finished 3-for-3 with two doubles, a single, a walk, and an RBI. It was his fourth game this year of at least three hits. He also has a pair of four-hit games.