Trash Pandas pitching powers 3-1 Independence Day win
Trash Pandas defeat Chattanooga in front of sold out Toyota Field
By Aaron Cheris
MADISON – The Rocket City Trash Pandas got a dominant pitching performance on the mound and just enough offense to defeat the Chattanooga Lookouts 3-1 in front of a sold out Independence Day crowd of 7,500 at Toyota Field on Monday night.
Chattanooga opened the scoring in the top of the second when Nick Quintana walked and T.J. Hopkins singled to put two on with one out against Rocket City starter Braden Olthoff. Ivan Johnson delivered the first run of the game with a two-out single to right.
The Trash Pandas nearly got even in the bottom of the third when Jordyn Adams lifted a high fly ball that carried deep down the left field line. As the ball was heading over the fence, Chattanooga left fielder T.J. Hopkins leapt at the wall and made an incredible catch with his glove extended over the wall to rob Adams of a home run and keep the Trash Pandas off the board.
Olthoff maintained the one-run deficit in the fourth by getting a one, two, three inning with two strikeouts and a fly ball to center. Rocket City’s offense finally broke through in the bottom of the inning. Livan Soto led it off with a single to left. With Soto stealing second, Preston Palmeiro laced a double into the right field corner, allowing Soto to come all the home from first with the tying run. Braxton Martinez followed with a single up the middle, scoring Palmeiro to give the Trash Pandas a 2-1 lead after four.
Pitching with the lead, Olthoff got three ground outs in the fifth and two more in the sixth to end his outing.
Over six strong innings, Olthoff (W, 2-3) held the Lookouts to one run on four hits with one walk and three strikeouts in his second straight quality start. He would earn the win, his second with Rocket City and first as a starter for the Trash Pandas.
Luke Murphy was first out of the bullpen and quickly set the Lookouts down in order in the seventh. Luis Ledo was next in the eighth and worked around a two-out walk for a scoreless inning of his own.
Jeremiah Jackson gave the Trash Pandas a much-needed insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, belting a long solo home run to left for his eighth home run of the season, sending the crowd to its feet, and giving the home team a 3-1 lead going to the ninth.
There, Trash Pandas closer Eric Torres (S, 10) was dominant, striking out all three batters he faced on just 13 pitches to earn his second save in as many nights. The save is his Southern League-leading 10th of the season, which also ranks him first in the Trash Pandas franchise leaderboard.
At the plate, Jackson, Kevin Maitan, and Torii Hunter Jr. all recorded two hits in the win while Adams added a single, giving him a hit in all five of his games for the Trash Pandas after joining the team last week.
The Trash Pandas (46-30 overall, 5-2 second half) continue their series with Chattanooga (36-40 overall, 2-5 second half) on Wednesday night following Tuesday’s off day. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. at Toyota Field. 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.
Wednesday is an IDEXX Labs Dog Day, where can bring their furry friends to Toyota Field and sit with them on the Budweiser Berm. A $1 donation per dog is requested, benefitting Rocket City Rescue. At the Bullpen Bar, fans can now purchase a pup cup for $5, a great treat of whipped cream for dogs to enjoy throughout the game.
Wednesday is also STEM Night, where the Trash Pandas will celebrate science, technology, engineering, and math at Wednesday’s game, presented by Accenture Federal. NASA and Teledyne Brown on hand to provide fans with information and activities.