Trash Pandas fall 6-5 Sunday

Ninth inning rally fuels Pensacola Blue Whahoos
Rocket City faces Birmingham for a six game road trip starting Tuesday
Rocket City faces Birmingham for a six game road trip starting Tuesday(WAFF)
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 9:24 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Despite leading for more than eight innings, the Rocket City Trash Pandas were beaten 6-5 by the Pensacola Blue Wahoos behind a furious ninth-inning rally in the finale of their six-game series on Sunday at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

Leading 5-2 going to the bottom of the ninth, Rocket City reliever Luis Ledo (L, 2-2) struggled. Griffin Conine led off with a double and scored on Cobie Fletcher-Vance’s single. Bubba Hollins walked, and a wild pitch moved the tying runs to second and third base. Santiago Chavez singled in Fletcher-Vance and another wild pitch allowed the tying run to score with one out. Victor Victor Mesa followed with the decisive swing, a walk-off RBI single to right to cap the four-run rally and give the Blue Wahoos a sweep of the six-game series.

The game began much better than it ended for the Trash Pandas. Livan Soto and Orlando Martinez each walked to start the contest. Braxton Martinez followed by breaking his bat and looping a single to shallow left, allowing Soto to come home from second and open the scoring. Three hitters later, Ryan Aguilar connected on an opposite field three-run homer to left-center for his second home run of the season, putting the Trash Pandas ahead 4-0 after their first turn at the plate.

Pitching with the lead from the start, Rocket City starter Coleman Crow was on top of his game. In the first, a leadoff single was quickly erased by a double play ground out from Ray-Patrick Didder. In the third, a single and a hit-by-pitch put two on with two outs for the Blue Wahoos. Crow got through it by striking out Didder to end the frame.

Pensacola broke through in the fourth on an RBI single from Fletcher-Vance to make it a 4-1 game. But following Crow’s strikeout of Hollins, the rain in Pensacola intensified and the tarp was brought onto the field, leading to a lengthy rain delay of nearly three hours.

The delay brought an end to Crow’s start. In his sixth Double-A start, Crow gave up one run on four hits with six strikeouts over four innings

Once play resumed, Rocket City added to the lead in the fifth when Soto reached with a two-out single and Martinez drove a double to deep center, allowing Soto to come all the way home with the fifth run of the game for the visitors.

In relief for the Trash Pandas, Sean McLaughlin was sharp over two innings, allowing run on two hits with four strikeouts. Kolton Ingram was next out of the bullpen and retired the Blue Wahoos in order in the seventh. Ledo entered in the eighth and quickly set the Blue Wahoos down one, two, three to maintain the 5-2 lead. Pensacola flipped the script in the ninth, scoring four runs off Ledo to hand Rocket City the loss.

Aguilar led the way at the plate for the Trash Pandas, going 2-for-4 with the three-run homer. Soto added a pair of runs for Rocket City in the defeat.

The Trash Pandas (18-15) continue their 12-game road trip with a six-game series against the Birmingham Barons (13-20) starting on Tuesday night.

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