In a pitcher’s duel between two of the top pitching prospects in Minor League Baseball, the Rocket City Trash Pandas got a solid start before their lead slipped away in a 4-2 loss to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos on Friday night in front of a sellout crowd of 5,038 at
In a pitcher’s duel between two of the top pitching prospects in Minor League Baseball, the Rocket City Trash Pandas got a solid start before their lead slipped away in a 4-2 loss to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos on Friday night in front of a sellout crowd of 5,038 at Blue Wahoos Stadium.
The game lived up to its billing. Taking the mound for Pensacola was Miami Marlins number four prospect Eury Perez while Rocket City sent Los Angeles Angels number one prospect Sam Bachman to the bump.
Both starters dominated from the outset. After Perez retired the Trash Pandas in order in the first, Bachman did the same, needing only six pitches to get a ground out, a lineout, and a strikeout. Perez and Bachman did more of the same in the second, with neither team reaching base for the first two frames.
In the third, the Blue Wahoos got the game’s first baserunner with a two-out walks from Thomas Jones, who quickly stole second to get into scoring position. Bachman got through the jam by inducing a pop up from Victor Victor Mesa to end the inning.
Rocket City threatened in the fourth when Jose Gomez reached on an error and Trey Cabbage singled to put runners on the corners with one out. While Cabbage took second for his 10th stolen base of the year, Orlando Martinez struck out and Preston Palmeiro grounded out to strand the runners and keep the game scoreless.
Bachman returned to the mound in the fourth and set the Blue Wahoos down on just four pitches, ending his start after four scoreless, hitless innings. In his second Double-A start, Bachman walked just one while striking out two, throwing 33 pitches, 23 for strikes, as the teams still searched for the first run of the night.
Luke Murphy was first out of the Rocket City bullpen and quickly set the Pensacola hitters down in order in the fifth.
The Trash Pandas finally broke through in the sixth. Bryce Teodosio led off with a walk, stole second, and came home to score on Jose Gomez’s double to deep center. Martinez made it a 2-0 game for Rocket City with a ground ball single to left, scoring Gomez, who had just stolen third.
Perez ended his start after 5.1 solid innings for the Blue Wahoos, allowing two runs on two hits with one walk and nine strikeouts in a no-decision.
Pensacola broke up the no-hit bid and tied the game in the bottom of the sixth off Murphy on RBI singles from Troy Johnston and Jerar Encarnacion. Thomas Jones broke the tie in the bottom of the seventh with a two-run home run to left off Eric Torres. That swing would prove to be decisive, as Pensacola relievers Josh Simpson and Eli Villalobos (S, 3) kept the Trash Pandas off the board to finish the victory.
No Trash Pandas recorded a multi-hit game in the loss while Gomez’s RBI double was the only extra-base hit in the team’s fourth consecutive loss. Out of the Trash Pandas bullpen, Murphy and Torres (L, 0-1) each gave up two runs. Cristopher Molina kept the deficit at two with a clean bottom of the eighth.
The loss, coupled with Tennessee’s win over Montgomery, moves the Trash Pandas to second place in the Southern League’s North Division for the first time since April 23.
The Trash Pandas (18-13) and Blue Wahoos (16-15) meet in the fifth game of their series on Saturday night. First pitch at Blue Wahoos stadium is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Josh Caray will be on the call for 103.9 FM THE UMP and 730 AM SportsRadio.