Trash Pandas slam past Smokies 12-8: 13-inning victory extends winning streak to five

Down 8-7 in the 13th, the Trash Pandas rallied off Smokies catcher turned pitcher Erick Castillo.

Posted: May 16, 2021 10:10 PM
Updated: May 17, 2021 12:57 AM

The following is a release from the Rocket City Trash Pandas: 

MADISON, Alabama – In a wild, back-and-forth affair that came down to the final at-bat, the Rocket City Trash Pandas earned the first walk-off win in franchise history, 12-8 in 13 innings over the Tennessee Smokies on Sunday night at Toyota Field to extend their winning streak to five games.

Down 8-7 in the 13th, the Trash Pandas rallied off Smokies catcher turned pitcher Erick Castillo. Michael Stefanic singled to score Ray-Patrick Didder with the tying run. Two hitters later, David MacKinnon unloaded for a walk-off grand slam to left, his second home run of the season to give Rocket City the victory.

The rally capped a 5-1 homestand for the Trash Pandas in their first series at Toyota Field.

Making his Double-A debut on the mound, Trash Pandas starter Boomer Biegalski fell behind quickly as Vance Vizcaino launched a two-run homer to left just three hitters into the game to put Tennessee ahead.

The Trash Pandas responded in the bottom of the second. With the bases loaded and one out, Ibandel Isabel broke through with the first grand slam and Rocket City history, a towering 405-foot drive to left for his first home run of the season to propel the Trash Pandas in front 4-2.

Biegalski departed after giving up the two runs on three hits over 3.0 innings. Adrian Almeida entered in the fourth and gave up a solo homer to Connor Myers to make it a one-run game. The Smokies got even in the fifth off Tyler Payne’s solo shot off Kieran Lovegrove.

Lovegrove rebounded to pitch a clean sixth and Connor Higgins did the same an inning later to keep the game tied 4-4 at the seventh inning stretch.

In the bottom of the frame, Gavin Cecchini restored the Rocket City with a two-run single left to plate Stefanic and Orlando Martinez. Tennessee got the runs right back in the eighth on a two-run single from Darius Hill to level the score 6-6. It would remain that way until extra innings.

Hill and Isabel each drove in a run for their team in the 10th, and the pitching stalemate commenced from there.

In the 11th, Rocket City reliever Nathan Bates caught Vizcaino trying to steal home for the final out of the frame as the game remained tied. Tennessee took the lead in the 13th on a sacrifice fly from Levi Jordan, and that set the stage for the Trash Pandas comeback in the bottom of the frame.

Isabel went 2-for-5 with five RBI in the win while MacKinnon was 2-for-4 with the game-winning grand slam. On the mound, Bates gave up one unearned run over 3.0 innings to get the win.

The Trash Pandas (5-5) hit the road to begin a six-game series with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos on Tuesday night. First pitch from Blue Wahoos Stadium is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Josh Caray will be on the call for 103.9 FM THE UMP and 730 AM SportsRadio.

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