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Davis Daniel struck out six in Saturday's loss. (Cristina Byrne/Rocket City Trash Pandas)

Trash Pandas bats baffled in 8-3 loss on Saturday night

MADISON – In a game that started as a pitcher’s duel, the Rocket City Trash Pandas surrendered seven late runs and were held in check at the plate for most of the night in an 8-3 loss to the Tennessee Smokies in front of a sellout crowd of 7,500 at Toyota Field on Saturday night.

Following a rain delay of an hour and nine minutes, the game began with both starting pitchers in fine form from the first pitch.

The Smokies had an early opportunity in the second as a double and hit-by-pitch put two on with two out. But Rocket City starter Davis Daniel induced a comebacker from Edwin Figuera to end the inning.

Rocket City threatened against Tennessee starter Dakota Chalmers in the bottom half, but Izzy Wilson was caught stealing and Anthony Mulrine grounded out with a runner on first to keep the game scoreless.

The Smokies broke through for the game’s first run in the third on a solo home run to left from Brennen Davis. That would prove to be all the scoring against Daniel as the righty rebounded to get through the fourth and fifth unscathed to keep it a one-run game in his Toyota Field debut.

Over 5.0 strong innings in his best outing since joining the Trash Pandas, Daniel (L, 0-1) allowed just the one run on five hits with one walk and six strikeouts.

However, Chalmers (W, 1-0) was just a little better, keeping the Trash Pandas off the board for 5.0 innings and giving up just one hit and three walks to go along with five strikeouts in a victory.

Trash Pandas reliever Adrian Almeida kept the deficit at one with a clean sixth. An inning later, the Smokies broke the game open with four runs, capped off by a bases-clearing three-run double from Carlos Sepulveda off Almeida to make it a 5-0 game.

Rocket City got a run back in the eighth on a 429-foot solo blast to right-center from Brendon Davis, his third home run in four games with the Trash Pandas.

Tennessee got the run back and more in the ninth inning on a two-run triple from Cam Balego and an RBI single from Tim Susnara against reliever Luke Leftwich to increase the lead to 8-1.

In the bottom of the frame, Izzy Wilson launched his league-leading 17th home run of the season, a 401-foot two-run shot to right to cap the scoring at 8-3.

Rocket City was limited to four hits in the loss, with the two home runs providing all the scoring for the home team. The pair of home runs increases the Trash Pandas’ league-leading total to 108 for the season.

The Trash Pandas (34-35) will look to finish a series victory over the Smokies (29-38) on Sunday 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.

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