Trash Pandas homer, hang on for 5-4 win in Biloxi
BILOXI, Mississippi – New catcher Logan O’Hoppe starred with a pair of home runs, and the Rocket City Trash Pandas bullpen protected a one-run lead to defeat the Biloxi Shuckers 5-4 in the opener of a six-game series at MGM Park on Tuesday night.
Starters Coleman Crow and Nick Bennett each were sharp for two scoreless innings before the runs came on both sides in the third.
Bryce Teodosio began the frame with a single to left off Bennett, who then retired the next two hitters. In his first road game with the Trash Pandas, O’Hoppe crushed a two-run homer 404 feet over the wall in left to open the scoring.
Biloxi responded in the bottom of the inning against Crow. With two outs and two on, Andruw Monasterio got Biloxi on the board with a ground ball RBI single to center. The next hitter, Garrett Whitley, put the Shuckers ahead with a three-run homer to left, his first Double-A homer of the season to make it 4-2 for the home team after three.
Rocket City got one back in the fourth when Torii Hunter Jr. began the frame with a solo homer off the batter’s eye in dead center field for his seventh homer of the season, cutting the deficit to one run at 4-3.
Leading off the fifth, O’Hoppe tied the game with his second home run of the night, a solo shot to left center for his third with the Trash Pandas and 18th overall on the season. Preston Palmeiro singled and Sonny DiChiara was hit by a pitch to keep the rally going. Jeremiah Jackson followed with a line drive single to center, plating Palmeiro from second with the go-ahead run.
Pitching with the lead in the fifth, Crow struck out the side. In the sixth, he allowed a single and got two outs before being pulled from the game. Nick Jones entered with the tying run on second and two outs and promptly induced a ground out from Thomas Dillard to end the inning and maintain the lead.
Jones got through the seventh by getting a strikeout, a ground out, and a line out to left to strand a runner at second with the Trash Pandas leading 5-4. Kolton Ingram was next into the game in the eighth and had to field his position, catching two line drive comebackers to the mound in a row to start the inning. The Shuckers threatened with two outs on a walk and a single. Ingram kept them on the bases by getting Dillard to fly out to center, ending the inning.
In the ninth, closer Eric Torres (S, 14) retired the Shuckers one, two, three to finish the victory and extend his Southern League lead with 14 saves.
Crow (W, 8-2) earned the win by striking out eight and allowing four runs on four hits over 5.2 innings. The win is his eighth of the season, tying him for the Southern League lead. Ingram’s scoreless seventh was good for his 10th hold, giving him the league lead ahead of teammate Luke Murphy.
At the plate, O’Hoppe’s two home runs and three RBI led the way while Palmeiro also recorded a pair of hits and a run scored. Despite going 0-for-2 with a walk and a hit by pitch, DiChiara extended his on-base streak to eight games to begin his professional career.
For Biloxi, Bennett (L, 6-9) and three relievers combined to record 18 strikeouts in the loss.
The Trash Pandas (59-44, 18-16 second half) and Shuckers (51-50, 17-17 second half) continue their series on Wednesday night. First pitch at MGM Park is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Josh Caray will be on the call for 103.9 FM THE UMP and 730 AM SportsRadio.