SALT LAKE CITY — Two home runs, three doubles and eight RBIs later, the Salt Lake Bees emerged victorious in a series-opening 8-6 win over the Nashville Sounds in front of a crowd of 11,514 on Friday night at Smith’s Ballpark.
Taylor Ward and Jose Fernandez both hit home runs, while Matt Thaiss, Kaleb Cowart and Fernandez each hit doubles in a power-packed show of offensive firepower before the fireworks at Smith’s Ballpark shot off.
“It was really fun. Anytime our offense in this ballpark comes alive, it’s fun to watch. We took really good quality at-bats and put us that situation,” Ward said.
Salt Lake struck first out of the gate, improving its record to 33-21 when scoring the opening run(s) of the game. A two-run Fernandez homer (his 12thof the season) got things started for the Bees in the second inning. After a solo homer from Ramon Laureano, a two-RBI Kaleb Cowart double into center field in the fourth inning increased Salt Lake’s lead to 4-1.
Another solo dinger from Nashville, this time from Franklin Barreto, got the Sounds within two, but the Bees would sting back with a four-run bottom of the fifth. Thaiss hit an RBI double, Ward hit a two-run bomb to straightaway center field, then Fernandez cranked an RBI double to finish off the inning, giving the Bees an 8-2 lead. The Sounds got two back in the top of the sixth to make it 8-4
Nashville made the fans sweat in the ninth inning, scoring two runs and loading the bases in the ninth inning off Akeel Morris. After Morris walked a batter to load the bases, Jeremy Rhoades entered with two outs and the bases juiced but struck out Jorge Mateo to end the game.
“He was very clutch with a runner on second base, tying run, it was good to see him come in an shut the door,” Ward said.Comment on this story
YOUNG JR.’S CALL-UP: Bees outfielder Eric Young Jr. has been having one of the best months in the PCL, and the Los Angeles Angels have taken note. In July, Young Jr. batted .339, with four home runs, 14 doubles, three triples and 24 runs batted in, and his OPS is a league-leading 1.191. On Friday, Young Jr. was called up to the Angels, with Los Angeles sending down Jabari Blash. Young Jr. joins an Angels outfield of Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Kole Calhoun. Blash has been excellent with Salt Lake, batting .327 with 23 home runs and 51 RBIs in 59 games for the Bees. With the Angels, however, Blash has struggled, batting just .087 (2-for-23) with one RBI in 14 games.
“E.Y.’s a great player, a great person, and I wish him nothing but the best,” Ward said.
Bees — 8
Sounds — 6
In short: Two home runs, three doubles and eight RBIs later, the Salt Lake Bees emerged victorious in a series-opening 8-6 win over the Nashville Sounds in front of a crowd of on Friday night at Smith’s Ballpark.
Next up: Nashville RHP James Naile (6-9, 4.19 ERA) at Salt Lake LHP Jose Suarez (0-3, 5.11 ERA)