Two nights. Two 11-inning games. One win for Round Rock. One win for Nashville.
If there’s anything to draw from the early taste of Triple-A baseball at Dell Diamond, it’s that these teams, so different in roster makeup, look pretty even on the field.
Renato Nunez, 0 for 5 coming into the at bat, singled in Jaff Decker, and Chris Parmelee, who homered in the 10th inning, knocked in an insurance run as the Sounds pulled out an 8-6 win Friday night.
It capped quite a comeback for Nashville, a team stuffed to the gills with Oakland A’s prospects. The young Sounds, who had the best record in the Pacific Coast League last year, trailed the older, grizzled Express 5-0 after one inning.
While the Express’ 2-1 win on Opening Night was the rare pitchers duel in this league, game two more closely resembled a PCL contest, especially for the Sounds, who rapped out 18 hits. The free-swinging Sounds also struck out 19 times.
Decker, a diminutive center fielder, was unstoppable, reaching base all six times he was up. Decker sent the game into extras with an RBI double in the ninth. He also had three singles and two walks.
Parmelee led off the 10th with a homer, but center fielder Jared Hoying, appearing in Round Rock for the fifth straight season, answered with a solo shot to keep the night going.
While the Round Rock bullpen was near perfect in the opener, it blew up late Friday. Keone Kela and Brady Dragmire combined to allow six hits and three runs, and Jimmy Reyes struggled in the 11th.
Middle infielder Franklin Barreto, Oakland’s 21-year-old top prospect, continued his early-season tear, rapping a two-run homer among his three hits.
Round Rock batted around in the first inning. Former Boston Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks made his first splash for the Express, hitting a two-run homer. After a pair of walks, Preston Beck, the hitting hero in the opener, ripped a two-run triple. Luis Marte followed with an RBI single.
Then the Express bats went dead for eight innings.
Nashville got back in it with three runs in the fifth.
Next: Express fans will get their first look at former Mets and Royals starting pitcher Dillon Gee on Saturday night. Gee, a native Texan from Cleburne, has a 48-46 major league record. He’ll be opposed by Nashville’s Cesar Valdez, 12-1 with a 3.12 ERA for Fresno last year.