Bees' bats break out against Sounds
In the sixth inning, when the rain finally broke, the fans took shelter under coats and umbrellas. Many receded into the back rows, safely beneath the cover of the upper tier.
But most of the crowd stayed at Spring Mobile Ballpark on Friday night, treated to a blowout win for the hometown Bees. The rain was a temporary hindrance, but Salt Lake showered runs on the Nashville Sounds in a 12-6 victory.
In 42 games this year, the Bees have scored in double digits only one other time. On the heels of a disappointing defeat Thursday, manager Keith Johnson was relieved to see his team be more assertive in its at-bats.
"We got ourselves in some hitting counts and didn't consistently swing at balls, which is something we've been doing," he said. "We made him throw strikes, and then when we got deep into counts, we either got good at-bats or took the walks and let the guys behind us drive us in."
The Bees pounded out runs as quickly as they could get them in the first three innings, gorging on Nashville starter Tyler Thornburg. He gave up six hits and five walks, and nine times the Bees circled the bags with him on the bump, gaining 10 runs before the third inning had ended.
It came in part because the Bees were so effective with runners in scoring position, going 7 for 13. Andrew Romine and Efren Navarro each had a team-high 3 RBIs, but outfielder Trent Oeltjen had the highlight of the night with a towering right-side homer, his fifth of the year.
"We battled, and I'd seen a lot of pitches," Oeltjen said of his first-inning dinger. "The more you see, the better timing you get. I squared it up, and it felt nice. â¦ But it's awesome, because, one through nine, everyone contributed, and that's one of the things to get a team going."
It would've been a runaway game if not for a shaky start from A.J. Schugel. The Sounds seemed to have his number, slamming the young right-hander for 11 hits in his five innings of work.
But after Schugel spotted Nashville six runs in his appearance, the bullpen came in and zipped it up. The Bees didn't allow another score with Rob Delaney, Mitch Stetter and Chad Cordero on the mound. Two runs in the bottom of the seventh all but assured a win.
In all, eight Bees had at least one hit, and six batted in at least one run.
"I've seen some crazy games in the PCL," Romine said. "Nobody relaxed, and we all were getting after it even with a lead. All those guys who came in from the bullpen were getting after it."
The Sounds didn't relax either, but it didn't do them much good. Nashville pitching coach Fred Dabney had Nashville's most stirring moment of the late innings when he covered up home plate with dirt after being ejected for arguing over the strike zone.
O Salt Lake scores double-digit runs for the second time this season.
•Â Andrew Romine and Efren Navarro each have three runs batted in.
• A.J. Schugel gets his first win despite giving up six earned runs.