The Oklahoma City RedHawks had another stellar night on the pitching mound and used a couple of home runs to open a 12-game road trip with a 4-2 win over the Nashville Sounds Thursday night at Greer Stadium.
The RedHawks (23-18) have won three straight games for the first time since a five-game winning streak in early April and improved to 6-0 in road series openers this season.
Three pitchers combined to hold the Sounds (21-19) to just two runs and two hits, as the RedHawks have now allowed just five hits over their past two games combined. Nick Tropeano (2-3) turned in another strong outing, allowing two runs and one hit over six innings. He struck seven and walked two, giving the RedHawks their eighth quality start in the last 10 games.
Rhiner Cruz retired all six batters he faced over the seventh and eighth innings, and Kevin Chapman closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
Both teams were slow to get their offenses going. Through the first four innings, each team only put a runner in scoring position once.
Erik Castro opened the scoring the fifth inning when he connected on his first home run of the season. Castro sent a fly ball to right field that ended up just a few feet past the outstretched glove of Sean Halton at the wall to make it 1-0.
The RedHawks added to the lead in the sixth. With runners at first and second and two outs, Max Stassi drilled a double to left-center field to score both runners and extend the lead to 3-0.
The Sounds were able to answer with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Kevin Mattison led off the inning and struck out, but he reached base after the third strike was a wild pitch.
Two batters later, Eugenio Velez sent a home run to right field, giving the Sounds their first hit of the night. Velez's fifth home run of the year cut Oklahoma City's lead to 3-2. It was also the first home run allowed by the RedHawks in seven games.
In the top of the eighth, Domingo Santana hit a solo homer to push the lead to two runs. Santana has now homered in three straight games, bringing his season total up to six.
With the RedHawks still leading 4-2 in the ninth, the Sounds had none on with two outs before Halton walked and Caleb Gindl singled to put the tying runs on base. Chapman then got Hector Gomez to fly out on the first pitch, ending the game as Chapman recorded his second save.
Nashville starter Ariel Pena picked up the loss, allowing three runs and five hits over 5.2 innings. Pena (2-3) struck out seven and walked four.
The RedHawks continue their series in Nashville Friday night at 7:05 p.m.