Dillard Deals As Sounds Close Homestand With 5-1 Win
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Tim Dillard tossed eight magnificent innings on the hill as the Nashville Sounds closed out their penultimate homestand with a 5-1 victory over the Colorado Springs Sky Sox in front of 7,409 fans on Friday evening at Greer Stadium.
With the series finale win, Nashville (66-60) took three of four from the Sky Sox and finished its homestand with a 4-4 mark. The Sounds have temporarily pulled within 5 ½ games of the first-place Iowa Cubs, who they visit for a crucial series beginning on Saturday.
Dillard (4-6) held Colorado Springs to one run on only two hits over his eight innings of work to improve to 3-1 in five starts for the Sounds. The right-hander struck out seven batters and walked none in his 98-pitch outing, allowing his lone run on a Brad Eldred homer.
Six of the Sounds' 11 hits on the evening were doubles as Nashville out-hit Colorado Springs, 11-3.
Mat Gamel continued his torrid hitting with a 2-for-3 night, which included two doubles, before being ejected at the conclusion of the seventh inning for arguing a forceout call while on the basepaths. He is batting an impressive .403 (52-for-129) with 39 RBIs over his last 33 games.
After going hitless through the first three frames, the Sounds broke through to take a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth against Colorado Springs starter Josh Muecke. Carlos Gomez (2-for-4) opened the inning with a single then scored from first on Gamel's double into the right field corner. After advancing to third on a Brendan Katin single, Gamel scored the second run on a Luis Cruz sacrifice fly.
Eldred put the visitors on the board in the fifth with a massive one-out solo homer to left off Dillard, the slugger's team-leading 28th roundtripper of the season.
Nashville got that run right back in the home half of the frame when Dillard helped his own cause by leading off with a double to right then scoring later in the inning on Gamel's second RBI two-bagger of the night, a two-out rip off Muecke that made it a 3-1 contest.
The Sounds' scoring continued in the fifth as Cruz led off with a single and came all the way around to score on Ray Olmedo's double into the left field corner, narrowly beating a swipe tag at the plate by Sky Sox catcher Michael McKenry.
After Olmedo moved to third on a passed ball, the Sounds executed a perfect suicide squeeze to increase the lead to 5-1. With Olmedo breaking on a 1-0 pitch, Martin Maldonado laid down a bunt in front of the mound and Muecke's flip to the plate was late.
Nashville missed a pair of chances to put the game out of reach in the late innings, leaving the bases loaded in both the seventh and eighth frames as the Sky Sox bullpen deftly worked into and out of jams.
Muecke (5-7) drew the loss for the Sky Sox after surrendering five runs on seven hits in his six innings of action.
The Sounds travel to Des Moines, Iowa tomorrow to open a four-game road trip against the division-leading Iowa Cubs. Left-hander Chase Wright (7-7, 5.00) will start Saturday's 7:05 p.m. series opener for Nashville. Iowa will counter with right-hander Jeff Samardzija (10-2, 3.05).
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