For the second straight night, Jake Smolinski gave the Sounds a 1-0 lead. The solo blast came in his first at bat against his former team. The outfielder joined the Sounds after Oakland claimed him off waivers from Texas on June 21.
The Sounds came into the night’s action owners of the league’s lowest home run total, a stat that is hard to believe after what happened in the sixth. In a span of just four pitches, Jason Pridie, Dayan Viciedo and Max Muncy all went deep off of Express starter Alec Asher, extending the Sounds lead to 4-1.
Sounds starter Zach Neal had it going on Saturday night. The right-hander used just 77 pitches, 59 of which were strikes, to get through seven innings. Neal didn’t walk an Express batter and struck out three. His only blemish on the night was a solo homer to Thomas Field in the fifth.
Arnold Leon recorded the first two outs of the eighth, but then surrendered three straight hits, including an RBI single to Jared Hoying, before striking out highly-touted Rangers prospect Joey Gallo to get out of the jam. Ryan Cook came in for the save and looked to have things locked up – till they were not. With two-outs and a runner on, Chris Gimenez hit his 5th homer of the season to send the game into extra-innings.
The Sounds wasted no time reclaiming the lead off of PCL All-Star Jon Edwards. Smolinski delivered the go-ahead RBI, doubling in Muncy, who had doubled the at bat prior. Smolinski then scored on an RBI single by catcher Carson Blair. Blair also would come around to score on a double by Joey Wendle. The steady second baseman had a nice night, going 3-for-6 with two doubles.
Jim Fuller retired the top of the Express order 1-2-3 to record his first save. Cook earned the win, improving to 4-1.
The teams will play the second game of the series Sunday. Cody Martin (0-0, 0.00) is expected to make his Sounds’ debut. The right-hander was acquired for international bonus slot 53 from Atlanta on Thursday. Phil Klein (1-0, 1.50) will get the ball for Round Rock. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.