Aviles Jr., Isabel homer in second straight win
MADISON – The Rocket City Trash Pandas used a strong night from the bullpen and a pair of timely home runs to earn a 6-5 victory over the Montgomery Biscuits in the fourth game of their series on Friday night in front of a crowd of 6,606 on Space Night at Toyota Field.
The Trash Pandas broke through in the bottom of the second as Izzy Wilson led off with a walk and Ibandel Isabel reached on an error to put runners on second and third. Ray-Patrick Didder drove them both in with a soft single to center to open the scoring.
Later in the inning, the Trash Pandas hottest hitter doubled their lead. With one on and two outs, Luis Aviles Jr. rocketed the 1-2 pitch from reliever Dalton Moats 427 feet over the left field fence for a two-run homer and a 4-0 Rocket City advantage.
The Biscuits cut their deficit to one run with a two-run homer from Jim Haley in the third and an RBI ground out from Cal Stevenson in the fourth against Trash Pandas starter Kyle Tyler.
Rocket City got the runs back as Ray-Patrick Didder led off the fourth with a walk, stole second base, and eventually came home to score on a wild pitch. Isabel added another run in the fifth with a towering solo home run that went 412 feet to straight away center field. His 11th home run of the season left the bat at 108 miles per hour and nearly went into orbit, reaching a peak height of 128 feet off the ground before landing over the center field fence.
Montgomery again cut into the Rocket City lead in the sixth as Ruben Cardenas singled home Jonathan Aranda. After inducing a fly out from Stevenson, Tyler departed and Keith Rogalla was first out of the Rocket City bullpen. His first pitch was lined to right for an RBI double by Ford Proctor to make it a one-run game. But Rogalla struck out Moises Gomez to end the inning.
Over 5.2 innings, Tyler (W, 5-2) gave up five runs, four earned, on five hits while striking out seven and walking none. He would earn the win behind the scoreless night from the bullpen.
Rogalla and Connor Higgins combined on a scoreless top of the seventh to maintain the one-run lead for the Trash Pandas. Higgins then issued a pair of walks in the eighth but kept the Biscuits off the board. In the ninth, Oliver Ortega (S, 4) set the Biscuits down on just five pitches to finish the win and earn the save.
For Aviles, the home run is his sixth over the first four games of the series to go along with 10 RBI over that span. In his first four games at Toyota Field, Aviles is hitting .500 (8-16) with six home runs and 10 RBI.
The Trash Pandas (28-29) and Biscuits (27-29) continue their series on Saturday night. First pitch at Toyota Field is set for 6:35 p.m. Josh Caray will be on the call for 103.9 FM THE UMP and 730 AM SportsRadio. The game will also be televised locally on WAAY-31.6, This TV.