Trash Pandas increase North Division lead to three games
By Aaron Cheris
MADISON – Behind another dominant pitching performance and a four-home run night from the offense, the Rocket City Trash Pandas began their six-game series against the Montgomery Biscuits with a 8-2 victory on Tuesday night at Toyota Field.
The win, coupled with Tennessee’s loss to Pensacola, puts the Trash Pandas three games ahead of the Smokies in the North Division standings with 11 games remaining in the first half. Rocket City also improves their franchise-best record to 12 games over .500 at 35-23 and their Southern League-leading home record to 21-10.
Making his second Double-A start, Trash Pandas lefty Adam Seminaris began the night with a scoreless top of the first, and the offense wasted little time in getting him the lead. The second batter for Rocket City, Livan Soto, connected on an opposite field homer to left, his second Double-A home run, to give the Trash Pandas the early 1-0 advantage. Seminaris held the lead with a scoreless second featuring an inning-ending double play before the Trash Pandas added on.
Jeremiah Jackson doubled the Rocket City lead with a solo home run to left to lead off the bottom of the second, and Braxton Martinez made it a 3-0 game with a 419-foot shot to left off Biscuits starter John Doxakis (L, 0-1) that completely left Toyota Field.
Montgomery got a run back in the third on a sacrifice fly from Greg Jones, but that would be all Seminaris allowed for the rest of the night. He got a pair of strikeouts in the fourth and picked off Grant Wotherspoon at second base for the final out of the inning.
Jackson continued his torrid pace with a towering 431-foot opposite-field two-run home run to right-center in the bottom of the third for his second home run of the night and third of the season.
An inning later, Jackson came to the plate with the bases loaded and fouled off four straight pitches before finally drawing a walk to score a run on the ninth pitch of the at-bat against Montgomery reliever Sean Hunley. Orlando Martinez followed with a two-run single to right, plating Aaron Whitefield and Zach Humphreys for an 8-1 lead.
Seminaris (W, 1-1) ended his night by retiring the final six batters he faced between the fifth and sixth. Over six innings, the southpaw allowed one run on two hits with two walks and five strikeouts to earn his first Double-A victory.
Jack Dashwood was first out of the bullpen and pitched two scoreless innings, striking out two. Sean McLaughlin allowed a solo home run to Curtis Mead in the ninth. However, it did little to affect the outcome as the Trash Pandas finished off their fourth consecutive win.
Jackson led the way for Rocket City at the plate with his first multi-home run game at the Double-A level and a season-high four RBI while going 2-for-3 with the bases-loaded walk. Soto, Orlando Martinez, and Preston Palmeiro each added two hits as all nine Trash Pandas starters reached with either a walk or a hit.
The Trash Pandas (35-23) continue series against the Biscuits (23-28) on Wednesday night. First pitch at Toyota Field is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Josh Caray will be on the call for 103.9 FM THE UMP and 730 AM SportsRadio. The game will also be televised locally on WAAY-31.6, This TV.
At Wednesday’s game, 1,000 kids ages 17 and under will receive a limited-edition bobblehead of Neil, the loveable loser in the Trash Pandas’ Astronaut Race, presented by Wayne’s Pest Control. Wednesday is also an IDEXX Labs Dog Day, where fans can bring their furry friends to Toyota Field and sit with them on the Budweiser Berm. A $1 donation per dog is requested, benefitting Friends of Rescue, Inc.