Sunday’s exhibition between the Nashville Sounds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) and the Texas Rangers set a new First Tennessee Park attendance record, drawing 11,824 fans.
Over the offseason, the Sounds–who were previously the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s–signed a new four-season player development contract (PDC) with the Rangers. It was announced in December that the Rangers would visit Nashville on March 24 for an exhibition game, providing a notable pre-season event before the first season of the new PDC.
As judged by the reported attendance, fans turned out in a big way for a game that resulted in a 4-3 victory for the Sounds. Outfielder Preston Beck provided the difference when he gave the Sounds a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning when he belted a two-run homer into The Band Box off Texas reliever Shawn Kelley. On the mound, Sounds starter Taylor Hearn, worked through five innings after a 44-minute rain delay prior to first pitch. Hearn’s lone hiccup came in the first when Texas plated a run on Hunter Pence’s sacrifice fly. The southpaw went five innings and allowed one unearned run on two hits. He walked two and struck out seven.
The game was the first time a major league squad has visited Nashville for an exhibition since June 3, 1999. In that game, the Sounds faced the Pittsburgh Pirates at Greer Stadium–the franchise’s previous home before First Tennessee Park opened in 2015. The Rangers begin their regular season on Thursday with Opening Day against the visiting Chicago Cubs, while the Sounds start the 2019 campaign at home on April 4 against the Iowa Cubs.
Image courtesy Nashville Sounds.