Trash Pandas fall In finale to Barons 6-1
By Aaron Cheris
MADISON – The Rocket City Trash Pandas struggled to contain the Birmingham Barons offense, allowing three home runs in the first four innings of a 6-1 loss on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Field in the finale of their three-game series against their North Division foes.
Rocket City got an early web gem in the first. With two outs, Yoelqui Cespedes lifted a fly ball to deep center. Moving back on the ball, Trash Pandas center fielder Bryce Teodosio tracked it down and made a leaping catch in front of the wall in dead center to finish a scoreless top of the first for starter Mason Erla.
The Barons jumped out to an early lead in the top of the second on J.J. Muno’s RBI single to plate Craig Dedelow off Erla. The Trash Pandas got the run right back in the bottom of the frame with Bryce Toedosio’s two-out broken bat single to center, scoring Jeremiah Jackson with the tying run against Birmingham starting pitcher Scott Blewett.
In the third, Birmingham restored the lead on Oscar Colas’ solo home run into the Inline Electric Rock Porch in right field. An inning later, the Barons put the game out of reach when Muno led off the inning with a solo home run to right. Following a walk and a single, Colas connected on his second home run in as many innings, a three-run shot that hit the scoreboard in right field for his third Double-A home run and a 6-1 Birmingham advantage.
Erla (L, 3-2) lasted four innings, giving up the six runs on nine hits including three home runs with one walk and two strikeouts to suffer his second straight loss.
Trash Pandas reliever Nick Jones was busy in a scoreless fifth, moving off the mound toward third base to field a ground ball and fire to first to retire Ian Dawkins. The next hitter, Muno, then hit a line drive right back at Jones, who snared it for the third out of the inning. Jones pitched two clean frames to keep the deficit at 6-1.
Former Barons reliever Luis Ledo was next into the game for Rocket City in the seventh and walked Colas to begin the frame. Cespedes followed with a hard line drive up the middle that hit Ledo in the hip. Ledo caught the liner off his body for the first out, then threw back to first to double off Colas before striking out Craig Dedelow to end the inning.
Jack Dashwood and Aaron Hernandez each pitched a scoreless inning for the Trash Pandas to end the afternoon on the mound.
For the Barons, Blewett (W, 5-4) picked up the victory, allowing the run on three hits with one walk and five strikeouts over five innings. Birmingham relieves Felix Paulino, Trey Jeans, and Theo Denlinger combined to finish the win by holding Rocket City scoreless for the final four innings.
At the plate for Rocket City, Teodosio was 1-for-3 with an RBI, a walk, and a stolen base, his 21st of the season. From the bottom of the lineup, catcher Anthony Mulrine went 2-for-3.
Colas powered the Birmingham offense, going 3-for-5 with two home runs, four RBI, and a walk while Muno added a pair of hits and two RBI in the win.
The Trash Pandas (52-38, 11-10 second half) hit the road to begin a six-game series with the Chattanooga Lookouts (38-52, 4-17 second half) on Tuesday night. First pitch at AT&T Field is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Josh Caray will be on the call for 103.9 FM THE UMP and 730 AM SportsRadio.
Rocket City returns home to Toyota Field on Tuesday, August 2 to start a six-game series with the Tennessee Smokies.