Nashville, TN – After a one-hour, 28-minute rain delay to begin the season, the Nashville Sounds came up short against the Iowa Cubs in a 5-4 Opening Day loss in front of 7,475 fans at First Tennessee Park.
Ian Happ’s big day at the plate was enough for Iowa. The Cubs center fielder delivered a go-ahead three-run double in the fifth inning and finished 2-for-5 with three RBI and a stolen base. Despite a late charge by Nashville in the ninth, the Cubs never relinquished the lead.
Nolan Fontana and Carlos Tocci paired to give the Sounds an early 1-0 lead in the second inning. Fontana doubled and Tocci knocked him in with a single through the right side.
Sounds starter Taylor Hearn was cruising along when he ran into trouble in the top of the fifth. Zack Short, Taylor Davis and Dixon Machado had three consecutive singles to load the bases with nobody out. Hearn struck out Trent Giambrone for out number one, but Happ struck with the bases-clearing double to give Iowa a 4-1 lead.
The bottom half of Nashville’s lineup was back at it again in the sixth when Danny Santana started the frame with a double down the right field line. After moving to third on a groundout, Santana scored on Fontana’s sacrifice fly to make it a 4-2 game.
After collecting six hits in the first three innings, Nashville’s offense went cold until the final frame.
Willie Calhoun’s bases loaded walk with one out pulled the Sounds within a pair of runs at 5-3. Dillon Maples bounced back to strike out Matt Davidson for the second out of the inning before being relieved by Dakota Mekkes.
The second Cubs reliever of the inning walked Patrick Wisdom to make it a one-run game. The rally fell short when Mekkes finished the game by getting Danny Santana to groundout to first.
Hearn was charged with the loss despite pitching well. He allowed four runs in five innings while racking up nine strikeouts.
Nashville Sounds Post-Game Notes
With tonight’s loss, the Sounds dropped to 19-23 all-time in Opening Day games. They are now 25-17 in home openers.
Left-hander Taylor Hearn struck out nine batters, one shy of matching a career high. His final line was: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 9 K. He threw 55 of 75 pitches for strikes.
The Sounds had five players make their Triple-A debuts, including Hearn, Eli White, Jose Trevino, Brett Martin and Miguel Del Pozo.
Nashville had two players with multi-hit games. Patrick Wisdom went 2-for-4 and Danny Santana went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
The 2019 season is the 42nd in Nashville Sounds franchise history and first as the Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Single-game tickets are available now by calling 615.690.4487 or by visiting www.nashvillesounds.com