Amarillo, Texas – The Sod Poodles and Springfield Cardinals started their six-game set with a back and forth affair in downtown Amarillo on Tuesday night. Amarillo erased a five-run deficit in the seventh but dropped game one of the series after the Cardinals plated two late runs in the ninth.
Springfield scored four runs to start the night after a 33-minute rain delay pushed first pitch back to 7:38 pm. Right-hander Bryce Jarvis, the Arizona Diamondbacks No. 7 rated prospect surrendered a leadoff single before a caught stealing provided the first out of the game. A subsequent groundout appeared to have Jarvis and the Sod Poodles cruising through the first inning. Three straight singles, including the first RBI of the night, kept the inning alive. The Cardinals' six-hole hitter, Julio E. Rodriguez made it a four-run lead with his 8th home run of the season to one of the deepest parts of the ballpark in deep left-center field.
The former Cardinals minor-leaguer, Leandro Cedeño kept the Sod Poodles' first at-bats alive with a two-out single. Eduardo Diaz followed him aboard after a Cardinals' error. The mini two-out rally came to an end without a Sod Poodles' run on the board as outfielder Roby Enriquez grounded out in his first at-bat of the night.
After a scoreless second inning, Springfield added a run in the top of the 3rd. Rodriguez pocketed another RBI, this time just a single, but was thrown out at second base trying to stretch his single into a double. His 4th RBI of the night made it a 5-0 game.
In a similar fashion to the bottom of the first inning, Cedeño kept the third inning alive after a leadoff single was nullified on a double play. Cedeño's second single of the night was complimented when Diaz got plunked to put two on base. Enriquez singled to load the bases for Tim Tawa. A walk plated the first Amarillo run of the game but kept the bases juiced for Juan Centeno. The veteran catcher knocked his 13th double of the year to the left-center field gap, scoring all three to cut the deficit to just one run. A play at the plate kept Centeno from tying the game after Nick Dalesandro rocketed a single to center field and Cardinals' No. 1 rated prospect, Jordan Walker. Playing in his first game in center field for Springfield, Walker picked up his second outfield assist of the season on the play.
Jarvis notched strikeouts 1 and 2 of the game to end the top of a scoreless fourth inning. Barrosa was left stranded in scoring position after he doubled with one out in the home half of the fourth.
The Cardinals did some damage after Jarvis picked up another two punchouts in the fifth. Matt Koperniak picked up his third hit of the night, a two-run home run to extend the Cardinals' lead to 7-4. His third hit of the night also put him 3/4 of the way to a cycle just needing a triple. Amarillo was retired in order to bring an end to the fifth inning.
Jarvis' night came to an end as left-hander Kenny Hernandez made his way to the mound to pitch the top of the sixth. Springfield strung together three hits, plating two more runs, taking a 9-4 advantage.
Centeno drew a leadoff walk but was sandwiched between a pair of strikeouts before the second walk of the inning brought an end to Springfield starter Kyle Leahy's night. A pop fly into shallow left field kept the two runners stranded and the deficit at five runs.
It was a 1-2-3 second inning of work for Hernandez out of the bullpen. Walker led off the inning with a single off the outfield wall but Diaz collected the ball and fired it in time to catch another Cardinal player trying to stretch for extra bases.
The first two Amarillo batters after the 7th-inning stretch reached base ahead of Enriquez. The first-year pro made the most of that, tattooing his 5th home run of the season to right-center field. The 442 ft three-run shot cut the Cardinals' lead to just two runs. The very next pitch traveled a much shorter distance as Tawa laid down a perfect bunt that hugged the third-base line. A single and sacrifice bunt where Dalesandro reached base due to a throwing error kept the rally going.
With the bases loaded once again, Drew Stankiewicz stepped up. The switch-hitter belted a two-RBI double into the left-center gap to knot the game at nine a side. A fielder's choice resulted in a bang-bang play at the plate where Dalesandro was called out at home but appeared to swim move the catcher's attempted tag that would have been the Sod Poodles' first lead of the night.
Hernandez remained in the game for the top of the eighth and spun another 1-2-3 inning with a pair of strikeouts. Amarillo managed a two-out baserunner with their sixth walk of the night. A groundout ended the frame and sent the game to the ninth inning.
Right-hander Blake Rogers took over pitching duties for Amarillo. After getting the first two batters out, a solo home run broke the tie. A Jordan Walker single sent Koperniak to the plate. The Cardinals' right-fielder completed his cycle with a RBI triple - his first three-bagger of the season - and sent Amarillo to the bottom of the ninth chasing a pair of runs.
A two-out walk brought Cedeño to the plate as the potential tying run. A strikeout ended the hope of some late-inning magic in front of the hometown crowd.
The Sod Poodles and Cardinals will continue their series with game two on Wednesday night. RHP Slade Cecconi (5-4, 4.27 ERA) takes on LHP Domingo Robles (2-5, 6.09 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM from HODGETOWN.
Not A Teen Anymore: OF Roby Enriquez's hitting streak reached 20 games with his single in the third inning. The Puerto Rico native added to his streak with a three-run homer in the bottom of the 7th. The multi-hit performance was his 17th of the year and his sixth in his last seven games. During his hot stretch, Enriquez is hitting .413 (33-for-80) with six doubles, two home runs, a triple, and 16 RBI after Tuesday night. His streak is the longest active streak in the minor leagues and tied for the 4th-longest hitting streak this year. Former Soddie outfielder Dominic Fletcher holds the longest streak at 30 games this year, including a 22-game hitting streak while wearing a Sod Poodles uniform. It is the longest streak in franchise history.
Bryce Night For A Game: RHP Bryce Jarvis went 5.0 IP, the third straight outing where he went at least five. It is the first time this season the Diamondbacks' No. 7 rated prospect has gone at least 5.0 IP in three straight. Jarvis fanned four Cardinals batters while allowing seven runs on 10 hits. The 10 hits tied his career-high for hits allowed in a start.
Centy Did Plenty: Sod Poodles catcher Juan Centeno went 2-for-3 with a three-run double, scored a run, drew two walks, and also threw out another runner trying to swipe a bag. His 17th caught stealing are third-most in the Texas League, trailing San Antonio's Chandler Seagle (28), and Arkansas' Matt Scheffler (18). Centeno was tied for the team lead in RBI in the series opener along with Roby Enriquez. It was Centeno's 12th multi-RBI night and his fourth 3-RBI game in his 60th game played.
Friends & Foes: Facing his former team and organization, Leandro Cedeño turned in a 2-for-4 night with a pair of singles, two runs scored, and a walk. In five games now played against the team Cedeño ended the 2021 season with, he is hitting .304 (7-for-23) with a pair of home runs. On the year, Cedeño is now hitting .288 with a career-high 22 home runs and 70 RBI.
Assists In The Outfield: OF Eduardo Diaz added two more outfield assists on Tuesday night, throwing out Julio Rodriguez and Jordan Walker trying to stretch singles into doubles. They were outfield assists No. 9 and 10 on the year for Diaz who now has five from left field and five from right field. The 25-year-old has now tied his single-season high for outfield assists. He had 10 during the 2021 season between High-A Hillsboro and Amarillo to go along with the 10 he had during the 2019 season between then A-ball Kane County and then High-A Visalia.
It's A Cycle: Cardinals RF Matt Koperniak hit for the third-ever cycle in Springfield Cardinals history and the first since 2011. The Sod Poodles are still waiting on the first cycle in team history. While many have come up a leg shy, OF and current Arizona Diamondback Jake McCarthy was probably the closest, coming a single-shy of the feat on June 9 at HODGETOWN against Corpus Christi. McCarthy started the game 3-for-3 with a double, triple, and home run after the third inning. He went 0-for-3 in his next three at-bats.
Five In A Frame: The Sod Poodles' 5-run 7th inning marked the 11th time the Soddies have plated five in a single inning and the first since a five-run 7th against San Antonio back on July 13. Amarillo has now had 19 innings where they have scored 5+ runs including a franchise-high 11-run inning back on June 11 vs. Frisco.
Hip, Hip: Jorge Barrosa was one of four Amarillo starters to tally two hits on Tuesday, joining Enriquez, Cedeño, and Centeno. Barrosa now has a hit in 22 of his last 29 games played dating back to the start of July. The D-backs' No. 23 rated prospect has seen his AVG rise from .231 to .275 during the span and includes a career-high five-hit game on July 22 at Midland. Barrosa now has 28 multi-hit games this season, the second most on the team behind Cedeño's 32.