Trash Pandas start second half with 18-4 loss

Calabrese hits ninth home run in defeat at Birmingham
The Rocket City Trash Pandas lose 18-2 to the Birmingham Barons 18-4 in the Southern League...
The Rocket City Trash Pandas lose 18-2 to the Birmingham Barons 18-4 in the Southern League June 28, 2023(Rocket City Trash Pandas)
Published: Jun. 28, 2023 at 10:32 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Rocket City Trash Pandas ran into a red-hot Birmingham Barons offense on Wednesday night, falling 18-4 to their North Division foes in the first game of a six-game series at Regions Field.

The home team used the long ball to get the scoring started early. Facing Rocket City starter Ky Bush in the bottom of the second, Luis Mieses got the Barons on the board first with a two-run homer to right-center, his third homer of the season.

Two innings later, back-to-back singles from Mieses and Adam Hackenberg put two on with one out. Taylor Snyder then connected on a three-run homer to left, extending the lead to 5-0. A walk and a hit by pitch would then bring an early end to Bush’s night. Houston Harding entered and got the second out. However, the third wouldn’t come until the game got away from Rocket City.

Harding walked Bryan Ramos to load the bases. Xavier Fernandez then doubled to deep center, scoring all three runners to make it 8-0. Yoelqui Cespedes and Mieses then hit RBI doubles, bringing the score to 10-0 after four innings. Bush (L, 0-1) was saddled with the loss after allowing seven runs on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 3.1 innings.

Rocket City looked to get back into the game in the fifth. Sonny DiChiara got it started with a single to right. Jose Gomez doubled to put runners on second and third. Bryce Teodosio got the Trash Pandas on the board with an RBI single to center. Barons starter Tommy Sommer then walked Kyren Paris, Edgar Quero, and Orlando Martinez, with the final two free passes being RBI walks to get two more runs and cut the deficit to 10-3. Birmingham turned to Andrew Perez (W, 1-2) out of the bullpen and the lefty retired the next two hitters he faced to end the inning and prevent further damage.

Birmingham restored the 10-run lead in the bottom of the fifth with three runs against Harding and Alan Carter. The advantage grew to 12 runs at 15-3 with a pair more, including Mieses’ second home run of the night, against Carter in the sixth.

David Calabrese got one back for the Trash Pandas leading off the seventh with a solo homer to right, his ninth of the season. Mieses continued his torrid pace with his third home run of the game, a solo shot against Nathan Burns in the bottom of the inning.

Mieses added another RBI single against Brandon Dufault in the eighth. Backup catcher Tyler Payne was called on to pitch and got the final out in the bottom of the frame, his fifth career pitching appearance.

Offensively for the Trash Pandas, DiChiara tied a career-high with three hits, recording three singles and a run scored in the stadium where he began his college career with Samford. Gomez went 2-for-3 with a double while Calabrese’s homer was the Trash Pandas’ only other extra-base hit.

Mieses was the leader for the Barons, going 6-for-6 with three home runs, falling a triple short of the cycle. He became the first opponent to hit three home runs against Rocket City in franchise history.

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