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Amarillo Bounces Back to Split Doubleheader

(John E. Moore III)
June 8, 2024

Amarillo, Texas (June 7, 2024) – After having their Thursday night game postponed, the Amarillo Sod Poodles and Tulsa Drillers took the field on Friday for a doubleheader at HODGETOWN. The two teams split the two games on Friday night to keep the overall series even heading into the final

Amarillo, Texas (June 7, 2024) – After having their Thursday night game postponed, the Amarillo Sod Poodles and Tulsa Drillers took the field on Friday for a doubleheader at HODGETOWN. The two teams split the two games on Friday night to keep the overall series even heading into the final two games of the weekend.


Seeing the Drillers strike first blood with two runs in the first on a pair of hits, Amarillo answered right back in the home half. Each of the first three batters the Sod Poodles sent to the plate all recorded singles. Tim Tawa drove in the first run to cut the Tulsa lead in half and sent Caleb Roberts to the dish with two runners on. The lefty bat swatted his fourth home run of the season to turn the one-run deficit into a two-run advantage.

Tulsa responded with a seven-run top of the second on just three hits. Three walks and a hit by pitch put the bulk of the runners on base. A bases-clearing double put the final three of the seven runs on the board in the frame for the Drillers. A scoreless top of the third was followed by another six Tulsa runs in the fourth. After back-to-back free passes a double play appeared to have Amarillo on their way out of the inning. Instead, a two-run home run, two doubles, and a pair of singles pushed the Drillers lead to 15-4. Tulsa added runs in the sixth and seventh innings to extend their lead to 17-4.

The four straight hits to start the game for Amarillo were the only hits the team would get. Walks from Jesus Valdez and Kristian Robinson would be the only other runners the Sod Poodles got on base after the Roberts homer.


COOL, CALM, AND CALEB: Caleb Roberts launched his fourth home run of the year. His three-run shot in the bottom of the first left the yard in the deepest part of the ballpark in the right-center field. It was his 21st home run as a Sod Poodle to place him in a tie with Ivan Melendez for the seventh-most in Sod Poodles team history. It was also the 89th, 90th, and 91st RBI of his Amarillo tenure, putting him 6th all-time ahead of Dominic Fletcher. Only three players have surpassed 100 career RBI as a Sod Poodle (A.J. Vukovich, 132, Tim Tawa, 124, and Deyvison De Los Santos, 104).

RESERVATION FOR FOUR: With his single in the bottom of the first inning, Matt Beaty extended his current hitting streak to four games. His at-bat was the only one he'd have for the game after exiting the game in the top of the third. His base hit raised his AVG with the Sod Poodles to .219 through his first 10 games played.


Making the first professional start of his career, Dillon Larsen worked around a one-out walk by picking up two strikeouts in the opening inning of game two. His battery mate Caleb Roberts threw out Damon Keith trying to put himself into scoring position, bringing an end to the top of the first. A second one-out walk in the top of the second came around to score on Alex Freeland's RBI double. Two more walks in the inning were negated as Larsen struck out the side to give him five through his only two innings he was asked to cover in the spot start.

Amarillo's first hit of game two came off the bat of A.J. Vukovich who singled in the bottom of the second but a double play made it six batters faced for Tulsa's Kendall Williams on the mound.

Taylor Rashi took over pitching duties for the Sod Poodles in the third and saw his first batter faced reach with a line drive single dumped into right field. The right-hander left the inning with two runners stranded on base by getting the next three batters to pop out, fly out, and strike out. Kristian Robinson's second walk of the twin-bill led off the bottom of the third. Jesus Valdez singled two batters later to put runners on the corners.

Jancarlos Cintron knotted the game up at 1-1 by collecting a RBI on a fielder's choice and started Kevin Graham's at-bat in scoring position after an errant throw on the play. After loading the bases the bases, Amarillo was unable to move in front as a ground ball ended the scoring opportunity.

Rashi added his third strikeout in two innings of work to send the bats right back to the plate. Vukovich started the inning with his second hit of the night and J.J. D'Orazio had similar success in his at-bat. Jesus Valdez kept the inning alive as his second base hit of the night once again loaded the bases with two away in the inning. Cintron came up big once again, roping a two-out, two-RBI ground rule double to give Amarillo the lead in game two. Graham added insurance, pushing the lead to four runs as his two-RBI single scored Valdez and Cintron.

Left-hander Will Mabrey took the place of Rashi to begin the top of the fifth. A groundout, double, and then comebacker off his throwing hand ended his relief appearance after just three batters faced. Gerardo Gutierrez struck his first batter and then pitched his way out of the inning with a ground ball to preserve the four-run cushion.

Vukovich notched his first three-bagger of the season and later scored as D'Orazio plated him with a sac fly to extend Amarillo's lead to five runs at 6-1 after the fifth inning.

Gutierrez and Kyle Amendt covered the final 2.2 IP on the bump for the Sod Poodles. Gutierrez struck out two without allowing a hit or walk in 1.2 IP. Amendt stranded the bases-loaded after allowing two singles and a walk in the top of the seventh. A strikeout of Alex Freeland punctuated the win and gave the Sod Poodles the split for the night.


J-THREE CINTRON: Jancarlos Cintron finished game two of the doubleheader with three of the six RBI for Amarillo. It was his second three-RBI game since joining the Sod Poodles this season. In 145 career games with Amarillo, it marked just his seventh game with 3+ RBI. For his Double-A career with Amarillo, Cintron is now hitting .258 with 29 doubles, 12 HR, a triple, 75 RBI, and 34 walks.

LAR5EN: Making the first professional start of his 77-game career since being signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2022, Dillon Larsen set his Double-A high with five strikeouts over his two innings of work. He entered the game having made 27 career Double-A relief appearances. His five-strikeout game was one away from matching his career-high which he has done twice - the last coming on July 22, 2023, when he was with High-A Hillsboro. It was the third time in his career that he had recorded five strikeouts over just two innings of work.

OH BABY, A TRIPLE: D-backs' no. 15-rated prospect A.J. Vukovich hit his first triple of the season and first since August 17, 2023, at home against the Arkansas Travelers. In 375 career minor-league games, his three-bagger on Friday night was just the 11th as a pro. Six of those 11 have now come as a member of the Sod Poodles, placing his fifth in team history, behind only Caleb Roberts (1st, 12) Corbin Carroll (T-2nd, 8), Alek Thomas (T-2nd, 8), and Dominic Fletcher (4th, 7). Vukovich ended the second game of the doubleheader going 3-for-3 with the triple and two runs scored.