A series sweep of the Tennessee Smokies was not in the cards Sunday afternoon for the Rocket City Trash Pandas, who lost 6-0 in the series finale at Smokies Stadium. This loss snapped a six-game win streak for the Trash Pandas.
Kieran Lovegrove came in to pitch out of the bullpen for the Trash Pandas in the seventh in a scoreless game. It was a struggle for Lovegrove, issuing three straight walks to load the bases. After putting three guys on with nobody out, the Trash Pandas went back to the bullpen to bring in Boomer Biegalski, and things didn't go much better. Tennessee's Erick Castillo hit a sacrifice fly to put the first run on the board for the Smokies. Reivaj Garcia hit a two-run double that was followed up by an RBI single by Darius Hill to give the Smokies a 4-0 lead at the end of the seventh.
Kyle Tyler started on the mound for the Trash Pandas and pitched well. In his six innings of work he gave up just three hits and one walk with seven strikeouts. He holds a team lead in ERA with 2.08.
Lovegrove received the loss for the Trash Pandas after not getting an out in the seventh. Biegalski finished the inning and gave up four runs with one walk and two strikeouts. Kyle Molnar pitched the eighth inning and gave up two runs on the three hits with one walk and one strikeout.
Javier Assad started on the hill for the Smokies.
Ryan Lawlor and Juan Gomez combined to pitch the final three innings for the Smokies and complete the shutout of 6-0. This was the first time all season the Trash Pandas have been shut out.
Despite the outcome, the Trash Pandas won five of six to secure the series win and 10 of 12 overall. Rocket City will come back home today to Toyota Field to begin a six-game series against the Biloxi Shuckers. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Rocket City 6, Tennessee 3
Solid starting pitching and timely hitting by the Rocket City Trash Pandas led them to a 6-3 victory over the Tennessee Smokies Friday night at Smokies Stadium. This was the Trash Pandas' fifth-straight win, their fourth in a row against the Smokies.
Izzy Wilson, who has been on a tear at the plate, gave the Trash Pandas an early lead in the top of the second, blasting a three-run home run to left to give Rocket City a 3-0 lead, his league leading 10th homer of the season.
Aaron Hernandez, making his Double-A debut on the hill for Rocket City, struck out the side in the bottom of the frame to hold the score at 3-0.
Tennessee added two runs in the bottom of the fourth to make it a one-run game of 3-2 off a two-run double by Nelson Maldonado.
Hernandez pitched five innings. He gave up two earned runs on two hits with three walks and eight strikeouts.
Rocket City’s Mitch Nay crossed home plate in the sixth on a throwing error by Tennessee’s shortstop Christopher Morel to give the Trash Pandas a 4-2 lead.
Jhonathan Diaz pitched three scoreless innings for the Trash Pandas to get to the ninth with a 4-2 advantage.
That advantage increased in the top of the ninth as Ibandel Isabel launched a two-run home run over the left field wall with two outs to give the Trash Pandas a 6-2 lead.
Connor Higgins came in to close for the Trash Pandas. Higgins did give up one run in the inning, but it wasn’t enough, leading the Trash Pandas to a 17-16 overall record.
Rocket City 7, Tennessee 1
The Trash Pandas continued their winning streak Saturday night, defeating the Smokies 7-1 for their sixth-straight win and just one win away from a clean six-game sweep of Tennessee in the series.
While the Trash Pandas continued their winning streak, Tennessee found themselves on the opposite end of that with a nine-game losing streak.
The Smokies got out to an early 1-0 lead in the second off a Hill bloop single with runners at the corners off of Trash Pandas starting pitcher Reid Detmers.
Rocket City didn't have a hit until the fourth inning when Nay tied things up at 1-1 on a opposite field solo home run, his fifth of the season and 11th home run total as a team in the series.
Nay's home run seemed to break things open for the Trash Pandas in the sixth. After a double by Dalton Pompey, David MacKinnon hit an RBI single to take a lead of 2-1. Later in the inning, an errant pickoff attempt by Smokies relief pitcher Bryan Hudson allowed MacKinnon to score from third. With runners on first and second and two-outs in the inning, Torii Hunter Jr. hit a two-run double to give the Trash Pandas a 5-1 lead.
The Trash Pandas added to their lead in the seventh and eighth innings on unearned runs due to fielding errors by the Smokies defense.
Reliever Adrian Almeida got the win for the Trash Pandas. He, along with Ortega and Ryan Clark, combined for five scoreless innings pitched on five hits and three strikeouts out of the bullpen. Detmers pitched four innings and allowed an earned run on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts.