Trash Pandas walk off win in 9th

Walk-off error caps thrilling Rocket City win over Chattanooga
Trash Pandas players celebrate 3-2 win July 5, 2023 at Toyota Field
Trash Pandas players celebrate 3-2 win July 5, 2023 at Toyota Field(Trash Pandas)
Published: Jul. 5, 2023 at 10:47 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Rocket City Trash Pandas fought back to tie the game late and then won it with their last swing, walking off with a 3-2 victory over the Chattanooga Lookouts on Wednesday night at Toyota Field.

With the score tied at two in the bottom of the ninth, the Trash Pandas offense went to work against Lookouts reliever Vin Timpanelli (L, 0-1). Mariano Ricciardi got the inning started with a walk and was replaced by pinch runner Jose Gomez. With one out, a single from Kyren Paris put the runners on first and second. A double steal moved them to second and third. Timpanelli got the second out before a walk to Orlando Martinez loaded the bases. On Timpanelli’s 1-0 pitch, Jeremiah Jackson hit a ground ball to third that was misplayed by Lookouts third baseman Nick Northcut for an error, allowing Gomez to score the winning run and give the Trash Pandas the thrilling win.

The game didn’t begin as well for Rocket City as for the second straight night, the second batter of the game, Francisco Urbaez, connected on a first-inning homer, a solo shot to left, to give the Lookouts the edge against Trash Pandas starter Brett Kerry.

Rocket City would get even in the third off Chattanooga starter Lyon Richardson. Ricciardi kept the inning alive with a two-out single to left in his first at-bat at Toyota Field. David Calabrese followed with a double deep to the gap in right-center, allowing Ricciardi to come all the way around and score the tying run. That would be the only blemish on Richardson’s record. Over three innings, he allowed one run on three hits with no walks and three strikeouts.

Kerry continued until the fifth. Then, Jacob Hurtubise led off the inning with a single. Two hitters later, Alex McGarry’s double to right plated Hurtubise to put the Lookouts back in front 2-1. The fifth would be Kerry’s final inning. Over five innings, Kerry allowed two runs on three hits with four walks and four strikeouts.

Rocket City nearly tied the game in the bottom half. Ricciardi led off with a double and Calabrese singled to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Paris then hit a ground ball to short. But Ricciardi was thrown out at the plate in a rundown while trying to score. Edgar Quero grounded into an inning-ending double play, keeping Chattanooga in front 2-1.

In his first game with the Trash Pandas since June 4, 2021, righty Jake Lee pitched two scoreless frames out of the bullpen to keep the deficit at one. The Trash Pandas then scratched across the tying run in the bottom of the seventh. Three walks from Lookouts reliever Jake Gozzo loaded the bases. Quero cashed in with a sacrifice fly to left, plating Bryce Teodosio with the tying run to give the Trash Pandas a run without a hit in the seventh.

Nick Jones and Kelvin Caceres combined for a clean eighth for Rocket City. In the ninth, Caceres issued two walks and a wild pitch moved the go-ahead run to third with two outs. The Rocket City righty rebounded to end the inning with a strikeout of Quincy McAfee. The walk-off run would give Caceres (W, 2-0) his second Double-A victory.

Ricciardi provided a spark from the bottom of the Trash Pandas’ lineup, going 2-for-2 with two walks and a run scored while Calabrese went 3-for-5 from the leadoff spot. The pair combined for five of the seven Rocket City hits.

The Trash Pandas (35-41, 4-3 second half) and Lookouts (42-34, 4-4 second half) continue the series on Thursday night. First pitch at Toyota Field is set for 6:35 p.m.

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