RENO, Nevada - The Nashville Sounds offense cooled off Sunday afternoon but savvy defense, opportunistic base running, and Mother Nature propelled them to a 5-4 victory over the Reno Aces. The win clinched a series victory for the Sounds who won just one series in both June and July.
Nashville was clinging to a 5-4 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth inning when the skies opened up. Greater Nevada Field became so saturated with water that the tarp stuck to the ground and was unable to be pulled all the way over the infield. Following a lengthy delay the umpires deemed the field unplayable and awarded the victory to the Sounds.
Sounds starter Zach Neal rebounded Sunday afternoon in Reno after a tough outing on August 1st. Neal came within one out of a quality start as he yielded three runs on six hits to earn his second victory of the season. He had been tagged with losses in his previous six decisions.
The Aces opened the scoring in the second inning as Jack Reinheimer scored from first on an Evan Marzilli RBI double. The run was sandwiched between a pair of stellar defensive plays from Sounds shortstop Yairo Muñoz that robbed base hits.
Aces starter Eric Jokisch cruised through the Sounds lineup the first time through. He retired the first 11 batters he faced before Renato Nuñez stepped to the plate for a second time. The Sounds slugger clubbed a mammoth home run for his Minor League-leading 30th of the season to knot the game at 1-1.
The Sounds took advantage of Reno mistakes to plate three runs in the fifth. Joey Wendle led things off with a triple into the left field corner. Chris Carter drew a walk and Muñoz then reached on an error by third baseman Kevin Medrano, which allowed Wendle to score. Two batters later, with Kenny Wilson at the dish, Jokisch skipped a pitch in the dirt that got away from catcher John Ryan Murphy. Carter scampered home safely and the throw home from Murphy sailed over the head of a covering Jokisch. Muñoz never stopped running and scored on the play as well.
Nashville tacked on another run in the sixth with a brief two-out rally. Matt McBride doubled and came in to score on a Wendle base hit back up the middle.
Reno's Christian Walker swatted a pair of lead-off home runs to cut the Sounds advantage down to 5-4. His 27th home run of the season came in the sixth inning as Neal left a pitch up in the zone that Walker was able to turn on. He belted his 28th home run to open up the bottom of the eighth inning off Chris Jensen.
Nuñez chipped in on defense as well. The left fielder gunned down the potential tying run in the eighth inning at third base. Oswaldo Arcia attempted to advance to third as Zach Borenstein flied out to left in the bottom of the eighth but a laser from Nuñez extinguished the threat.
The Aces were ready to send the bottom of its lineup to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning before the game went into a rain delay and was ultimately called.
The Sounds head to Tacoma, Washington for a four-game series against the Tacoma Rainiers Monday night at Cheney Stadium. Right-hander Daniel Gossett (3-3, 3.41) starts for Nashville while the Rainiers have yet to announce a starter. First pitch is scheduled for 9:05 p.m. CST.
The 2017 season is the Sounds' 40th in franchise history and their third as the Oakland Athletics' top affiliate. Single-game tickets are available now by calling (615) 690-4487 or by visiting www.nashvillesounds.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.