What looked to be a low-scoring affair on paper turned out to be just that on Saturday night. Nashville Sounds (31-26) starter Jimmy Nelson out-dueled Iowa Cubs (28-25) starter Chris Rusin as the Sounds took a 2-1 decision at Greer Stadium.
Nelson (6-1), top prospect in the Milwaukee Brewers organization according to Baseball America, struck out a career-high 11 Iowa batters over 7.2 innings. Nelson scattered three hits and walked two while lowering his ERA to 1.64, second best in the Pacific Coast League.
Nashville took a 1-0 lead in the second when Sounds first baseman Hunter Morris led off the inning by blasting the first pitch from Rusin over the right field wall for his eighth home run of the season.
Iowa tied the game at 1-1 in the seventh inning. Brett Jackson tripled to center field and scored one batter later on a sacrifice fly by Jonathan Mota.
Nashville quickly regained the lead in the bottom of the seventh. Hector Gomez led off with a singled to left and advanced to third after an errant throw on a pickoff attempt by Rusin. Sean Halton followed with a double to give the Sounds a 2-1 lead.
From there, Nelson and Donovan Hand held down Iowa’s offense with Hand pitching the final 1.1 innings and picking up his 11th save of the season.
Rusin (3-7) was the tough-luck loser, pitching seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits and one walk while striking out five.
Jackson reached base three times for Iowa, going 2-for-3 with a triple and was hit by a pitch. Jackson is batting .333 (10-for-30) with four doubles and a triple over his last ten games.
Game two of the series is Sunday afternoon at Greer Stadium.