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Trash Pandas snap skid with 7-2 victory

Braden Olthoff stellar for seven innings in win over Barons

MADISON – In their first game after the All-Star break, the Rocket City Trash Pandas got a dominant performance on the mound and clutch hitting at the plate to defeat the Birmingham Barons 7-2 in front of an electric crowd of 7,004 at Toyota Field on Friday night.

The win snaps the Trash Pandas’ season-long seven game losing streak and improves their Southern League-leading home record to 31-12.

Trash Pandas starter Braden Olthoff got off to a strong start on the mound, retiring the first eight hitters he faced before a two-out double in the third from Alex Destino in the top of the third gave the Barons a man in scoring position. Olthoff worked around it by getting a lineout from D.J. Burt, completing a third scoreless inning.

The Trash Pandas broke through in the bottom of the third. Two walks and an error loaded the bases with one out. Two hitters later, Preston Palmeiro laced a single to center, plating Braxton Martinez and Bryce Teodosio to open the scoring against Barons starter Jason Bilous (L, 4-7).

Birmingham got a run back in the top of the fourth when Jose Rodriguez began the frame with a double and later scored on Raudy Read’s ground out to short. An inning later, the Barons threatened to tie the game as Craig Dedelow doubled and advanced to third on a ground out. With a chance to get even, Alex Destino grounded out, getting Olthoff through the jam with the lead intact.

Rocket City added on over the next two innings to put the game out of reach. Teodosio led off the inning with a towering 431-foot solo shot down the left field line for his team-leading 11th home run of the season. Back-to-back doubles from Zach Humphreys and Palmeiro plated another to make it 4-1 after five.

In the sixth, Ryan Aguilar and Jordyn Adams began the frame with singles. Teodosio then laced a double to the gap in left center, plating both runners for a 6-1 Rocket City advantage. Humphreys brought Teodosio home for a 7-1 Trash Pandas lead after six with a sharp single to center.

Olthoff ended his night in similarly sharp fashion, getting a double play ground out from Yoelqui Cespedes to erase a leadoff single in a scoreless top of the seventh. Over seven brilliant innings, Olthoff (W, 3-4) allowed just one run on four hits with one walk and one strikeout to earn his third Double-A win.

Aaron Hernandez was first out of the Rocket City bullpen and gave up a run in the eighth. Eric Torres finished with a scoreless top of the ninth.

At the plate, Teodosio and Palmeiro each led the way with a pair of hits and three RBI, while Teodosio scored three of Rocket City’s seven runs. Humphreys and Aguilar each chipped in with two hits in the victory.

The Trash Pandas (51-37, 10-9 second half) and Barons (41-47, 10-9 second half) continue their series on Saturday night. First pitch at Toyota Field is scheduled 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 on WAAY 31.6, This TV.

Following Saturday’s game, a dazzling fireworks display will light up the Rocket City sky, courtesy of Tyler Mann Injury Law. Saturday’s game will also feature the Tyler Mann Shoe Drive supporting HEALS, Inc. Fans are encouraged to donate a new pair of athletic shoes for kids ages K-12, and everyone that donates will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win a $250 gift card to Academy Sports + Outdoors.

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