Chad Pinder hit a tie-breaking home run in the sixth inning to lift the Nashville Sounds to a 3-2 win over the Round Rock Express in front of a sellout crowd of 10,390 Saturday night at First Tennessee Park.
It’s the third consecutive sellout for the Sounds (42-27) who extended their American Southern Division lead to five games over the Express (36-31). The three straight capacity crowds match a Sounds record for consecutive sellouts in the PCL era.
Both teams got a pair of runs in the second inning to get the scoring started early. Round Rock’s Drew Robinson belted a booming two-run homer off Henderson Alvarez to get the Express out to a 2-0 lead.
With one out in the home half of the second, Ryon Healy singled and moved to second when Matt Olson drew a walk. After Joey Wendle was retired for the second out, Matt McBride roped a double to the wall in left field that scored Healy and Olson to even the game at 2-2.
Alvarez went through the third with no problems but he was pulled from the game before the start of the fourth inning. After taking his warm-up pitches, Alvarez left the game after a visit from Sounds athletic trainer Brad LaRosa.
Aaron Kurcz was forced into action and promptly delivered three scoreless innings. He allowed just one hit and one walk while racking up four strikeouts.
Pinder’s solo blast came on the first pitch delivered by Round Rock starter Kyle Lohse in the bottom of the sixth. It was his ninth homer of the season and fourth over his last five games.
Nashville reliever Ryan Doolittle pitched a scoreless seventh and got the first two outs in the eighth before handing over to J.B. Wendelken. With two on and two out, Wendelken retired Drew Robinson to end the threat.
Wendelken continued in the ninth and pitched around a one-out error to pick up his fifth save of the season. Kurcz got his third win of the year and Lohse was tagged with the loss.
Games three and four of the five-game set are scheduled for Sunday afternoon as part of a doubleheader. Right-hander Jesse Hahn (1-2, 2.57) is the game one starter for Nashville against left-hander Andrew Faulkner (3-0, 8.78) for Round Rock. In game two, the Sounds send right-hander Angel Castro (0-3, 5.83) to the mound against right-hander Richelson Pena (0-0, 7.71) for the Express. First pitch of game one is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. Game two will start approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one.