In a meeting between two of the Pacific Coast League's top pitchers, Jimmy Nelson and the Nashville Sounds were able to edge Mike Foltynewicz and the Oklahoma City RedHawks, 2-1, Sunday afternoon at Greer Stadium.
Nelson (5-1) notched a ninth straight quality start by holding the RedHawks to one run and four hits over seven frames. He struck out five and walked one in his fifth victory of the season.
In the few instances the RedHawks had runners on base against Nelson, he held Oklahoma City 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
Nelson was a bit better than Foltynewicz, who turned in a third consecutive quality start, but was once again a victim of low run support and ended up with a loss. Foltynewicz (3-3) allowed two runs and three hits over six innings with two walks and seven strikeouts.
Both starting pitchers were sharp early on, as the teams combined for just one hit through four innings.
The RedHawks (24-20) had their first opportunity to score in the fifth. With one out, Kiké Hernandez doubled and Carlos Perez followed with a walk. Hernandez and Perez then executed a double steal, putting both in scoring position.
Nelson then struck out Jonathan Meyer and got Erik Castro to pop out to end the threat.
The Sounds (23-20) would break through in the bottom of the inning, scoring twice with two outs. With a runner at first, Taylor Green hit a double down the right field line. Hernandez's relay throw was just a bit off the plate, giving Jeremy Hermida enough room to narrowly evade Carlos Perez's tag.
Kevin Mattison followed with a RBI single to score Green and give Nashville a 2-0 lead.
It would be the only time the Sounds were able to generate offense against Foltynewicz, as he did not allow a run or hit outside of the fifth inning.
The RedHawks cut into the Sounds' lead in the sixth. Adron Chambers led off with a single and stole second base. He advanced to third on a groundout by Robbie Grossman and scored on a groundout by Domingo Santana to make it 2-1.
Santana has now collected a RBI in six straight games.
Still trailing 2-1 in the seventh, Hernandez notched his second hit and eventually stole second base with two outs. On what was ultimately his final pitch of the day, Nelson was able to strand the tying run in scoring position after getting Meyer to ground out to end the inning.
Nelson and relievers Brent Leach and Donovan Hand combined to retire 12 of the final 13 RedHawks to step to the plate, including the last eight straight. Hand recorded the final four outs of the game to earn his fourth win of the season.
The RedHawks and Sounds ended up splitting the four-game series. It's the third time this season the RedHawks won the first two games of a series, only to have to settle for a split.
The RedHawks will head to New Orleans to begin the second part of their 12-game road trip Monday night at 7 p.m.