(Tennessee Smokies, submitted) The Tennessee Smokies (10-20) fell to the Rocket City Trash Pandas (15-16) in a high scoring, back-and-forth affair, 10-9 Wednesday night at Smokies Stadium. D.J. Artis’ fifth inning grand slam gave the Smokies their first lead, but the Trash Pandas fought back, scoring the game’s final three runs to win.
Rocket City pushed Smokies’ starter LHP Luis Lugo from the game in the second inning, scoring four runs on four hits and three walks.
The Smokies got on the board in the third inning, Artis doubled, moved to third on Darius Hill’s single, and scored on a wild pitch. The Smokies cut Rocket City’s lead to 4-3 in the fourth inning thanks to a Christopher Morel solo home run and an RBI single from Hill.
The Trash Pandas extended their lead to 6-3 in the top of the fifth after a two-run home run from Ibandel Isabel, but the Smokies responded with a six run bottom half.
After two hit batters and a walk, Grayson Byrd brought home a run with an RBI walk. Erick Castillo was then hit by a pitch to bring the Smokies within two runs. After the Trash Pandas pulled their reliever, Artis welcomed RHP Boomer Biegalski by hitting a grand slam to right field on the first pitch he saw to put the Smokies up 9-7.
The Trash Pandas would slowly chip away and regain the lead, scoring a run in the sixth, seventh, and eighth inning to take a lead they would not relinquish.
Hill finished 3-for-5 with an RBI, Tyler Payne was 2-for-5 with a double. Morel’s home run was his fourth of the season. Artis was 2-for-5 with a double and grand slam, his first home run of the year. RHP’s Garrett Kelly and Cayne Ueckert both tossed scoreless outings with one strikeout.
The Smokies and Trash Pandas continue their series at Smokies Stadium on Thursday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7 PM. RHP Peyton Remy (0-1, 0.00) will face off against RHP Cooper Criswell (2-3, 4.00).