Nashville, TN – Zach Neal fired seven strong innings to lead the Nashville Sounds to a 3-1 win over the Memphis Redbirds Friday night in front of 9,066 fans at First Tennessee Park.
Neal’s fantastic outing was the first time a Sounds starter went seven innings since Corey Walter tossed seven against New Orleans on June 20th.
The lone run the right-hander allowed came in the first inning. Memphis first baseman Alex Mejia doubled to the right-center gap with two outs in the frame to put a runner in scoring position. Stephen Piscotty followed by hitting a high fly ball towards the left field wall.
Nashville left fielder Kenny Wilson jumped at the wall and brought the ball back in play. It was originally ruled a two-run home run, but was overturned to a run-scoring double after the umpires gathered.
It remained 1-0 until the third when the Sounds got to Memphis starter Jack Flaherty. Matt McBride rifled a double down the left field line and Kenny Wilson bounced a base hit up the middle to score McBride and make it 1-1.
Jaff Decker followed with a base hit to left field to put runners at the corners for Yairo Muñoz. The center fielder hit a chopper to third that was gloved by Patrick Wisdom. His throw to the plate was late and the Sounds grabbed a 2-1 lead.
The minimal support was enough for Neal who scattered six hits over his seven innings of work. He faced the minimum in the fourth through sixth innings on the way to his third win of the season.
Chris Bassitt took over for Neal in the eighth and got some help from his middle infielders. After retiring Gabriel Lino on a fly out to start the inning, Bassitt issued a walk to Nick Martini. Rangel Ravelo followed and hit a ground ball that looked as if it were going to find center field.
Instead, Sounds second baseman Melvin Mercedes made a diving stop to his right and flipped the ball to Franklin Barreto who stepped on second and fired to first for a spectacular inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Muñoz provided the Sounds with an insurance run in the home half of the eighth. He blasted a solo homer down the right field line to give Nashville a 3-1 lead. It was his seventh with the Sounds and 13th overall in 2017.
Lou Trivino handled the ninth with ease as he recorded a 1-2-3 inning to notch the first Triple-A save of his career.
Muñoz and Wilson each had multi-hit games for Nashville.
Game two of the four-game series is scheduled for Saturday night at First Tennessee Park. Right-hander Daniel Gossett (3-3, 3.78) starts for the Sounds against right-hander Luke Weaver (9-2, 2.64) for the Redbirds. First pitch is set for 7:05pm.
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