Sports stats

 Rocket City Trash Pandas

Trash Pandas Defeated 3-1 in Season Finale

September 17, 2023 - Southern League (SL)
Rocket City Trash Pandas News Release

KODAK, Tennessee - The Rocket City Trash Pandas ended the 2023 season with a 3-1 loss to the Tennessee Smokies in a pitcher's duel on Sunday afternoon at Smokies Stadium.

The Trash Pandas conclude the third season in franchise history third in the Southern League North Division standings with a 58-80 record after dropping five of six in Tennessee this week.

The matchup of North Division rivals began scoreless, with both starters inducing early contact and getting outs with limited traffic on the basepaths.

Tennessee was able to break through in the bottom of the third against Trash Pandas righty Cole Percival. With runners on the corners and one out, a sacrifice fly from Andy Weber drove in the first run of the afternoon. A balk and a stolen base then moved Jordan Nwogu to third base. Matt Shaw was able to drive in Nwogu with a sacrifice fly to center, giving the Smokies a 2-0 lead.

Two innings later, the Trash Pandas were able to scratch a run across off Smokies starter Chris Kachmar. Gustavo Campero reached with a one-out walk. David Calabrese was hit by a pitch to put two on with two outs. Adrian Placencia followed with a single to shallow center, bringing Campero home from second to get the Trash Pandas on the board. Kachmar ended the inning by inducing a ground out from Tucker Flint to hold the lead.

Tennessee looked to add on in the bottom of the fifth, putting runners on the corners with one out. Percival escaped further damage by inducing a double play ground out from BJ Murray, ending his start with the deficit at one. Over five innings, Percival (L, 1-5) allowed two runs on three hits with no walks and two strikeouts. However, he would suffer the loss as the Rocket City offense was stymied by the Smokies.

Kachmar (W, 3-2) pitched five innings for the Smokies, allowing one run on two hits with three walks and six strikeouts to pick up the victory.

Brailyn Marquez was first out of the Tennessee bullpen and was stellar for three scoreless innings, retiring nine of 10 hitters he faced to hold the one-run lead.

Houston Harding entered for Rocket City in the sixth and was able to keep the one-run deficit until the eighth. Leading off the bottom of the frame, Shaw connected on a solo homer to right-center, his third of the season to give the Smokies a key insurance run and a 3-1 lead. Harding pitched three relief innings, allowing the one run on one hit with one walk and three strikeouts.

Smokies reliever Eduarniel Nunez (S, 1) struck out the side in order in the ninth to finish the win and earn the save.

Placencia had both of Rocket City's hits and the lone RBI in the loss, going 2-for-4. In his second Double-A game, Werner Blakely went 0-for-2 with two walks while Campero went 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored.

The fourth season of Trash Pandas baseball begins back in Tennessee against the Smokies on Friday, April 5, 2024 at Smokies Stadium. The home opener at Toyota Field is scheduled for Tuesday, April 9, 2024 against the Birmingham Barons.

• Discuss this story on the Southern League message board...

Southern League Stories from September 17, 2023

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

Other Recent Rocket City Trash Pandas Stories

Sports Statistics from the Stats Crew
OurSports Central