RockHounds (Matamoscas) 2, Amarillo Sod Poodles 1
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Security Bank Ballpark
Wednesday night was a Copa celebration night for the RockHounds / Matamoscas de Midessa. It was also Fedora Hat Night ... and the team put together a "hat trick" of outstanding pitching, excellent defense, and clutch hitting in a 2-1 win over the Amarillo Sod Poodles at Security Bank Ballpark.
The victory, in one of the season's best games to date (perhaps the best), gave the RockHounds a 2-games-to-1 win in a series that saw three games decided by a total of four runs.
The RockHounds broke a 1-1 tie in the last of the eighth and did it against flame-thrower (forgive the cliché, but it fits!) Andres Muñoz. The Padres prospect (see below), who hit triple-digits time after time, retired the first two batters he faced before Dairon Blanco tripled to left-center (and only a very few players in the Texas League could have taken three bases on the play). Chase Calabuig singled up the middle to bring Blanco home with what would be the game-winning run and with an at-bat that deserves its own "chapter" (see below).
Amarillo took the lead in the third when Brad Zunica drew a leadoff walk and scored on the first of Buddy Reed's four hits (he went 4-for-4 and was a home run shy of the Cycle), a double to deep left-center. The Sod Poodles still had runners at first and third with one out but the 'Hounds' defense came up big. Mikey White made a tremendous play on Edward Oliveras' grounder to third. Making the play near the line and behind the bag, White made an excellent, off-balance throw home to get Reed, who was trying to score from third. Shortstop Edwin Diaz then ended the inning, ranging well to his right into the hole to retire Owen Miller with an outstanding play and throw.
Amarillo starter Lake Bachar recorded a quality start, allowing just one (unearned) run in an otherwise stellar outing. He walked Calabuig to open the fourth, then threw the ball away trying to check him back to the bag at first. The errant throw (the game's only error) allowed Calabuig to take two bases, putting him at third with no outs and he scored when Tyler Ramirez ripped a sacrifice fly to right, tying the game.
The RockHounds got an outstanding performance from a trio of relievers, with Trey Cochran-Gill, Seth Martinez and Jesus Zambrano each going three innings. It was the second "pitching by committee" win for the club (and for the trio) in the last six games (see below).
Texas League South
Frisco completed a three-game sweep of Corpus Christi with a 5-4 (walk-off) win Wednesday night at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
The RockHounds (12-8) now lead Amarillo (9-11) by three games ... Frisco (8-11) by 3½ games ... and Corpus Christi (8-12) by four.
Stat of the Day
Dairon Blanco's two-out triple in the eighth, which turned into the game-winning run, was his 11th of the season. Dairon now shares the Texas League lead with 11 triples and the co-leader is his RockHounds teammate Luis Barrera (currently on the Injured List).
Consider these "three-bagger" notes:
The franchise single-season record (47 seasons) is 15 triples, set by Ricky Baker (Cubs, 1983) and Kevin Flora (Angels, 1991).
That means both players are four shy of the all-time franchise mark ... with FIFTY games to play.
Dairon and Luis, combined, have 22 triples.
That's more than five other Texas League teams.
The RockHounds have FORTY-ONE triples ... the next highest totals are Northwest Arkansas (27) and Corpus Christi (24).
No other team has more than 17.
Nominee for the "Best At-Bat of the Year"
With Dairon Blanco at third base and two out in the eighth inning, Chase Calabuig was behind in the count, 0-2, and facing Andres Muñoz, whose velocity was repeatedly hitting 100-102 miles-per-hour. Chase fouled off three two-strike pitches, worked the count to 2-2, and ripped a single up the middle for what would become the game-winning RBI.
One Heckuva "Committee Meeting"
In two games of "pitching by committee," the RockHounds bullpen is 2-0, with an ERA of 1.00.
On Wednesday, Trey Cochran-Gill, Seth Martinez and Jesus Zambrano (win) each pitched three innings in the 2-1 win over Amarillo. On July 5, that same trio, along with Zack Erwin (who recorded the save) combined for a 3-1 win over the Hooks at Corpus Christi.
The spot in the rotation came with the promotion of James Naile to (AAA) Las Vegas.
Andres Muñoz, who opened the season with Amarillo, has been pitching (and pitching well) for Triple-A El Paso since mid-May. With the Pacific Coast League on its all-star break, the Padres reassigned the 20-year-old prospect to the Sod Poodles (temporarily, in all likelihood) to maintain a steady workload. He is rated San Diego's # 18 prospect and considered a likely future Major League closer.
Thursday, July 11 vs. Corpus Christi Hooks
Security Bank Ballpark 7:00 p.m. (Gates open 6:00)
- First of a four-game series and fourth of a seven-game homestand
- Radio: NewsTalk 550 with Bob Hards ... airtime 6:15 p.m.
CC: Carson LaRue (RH, 1-4, 6.14)
RH: Kyle Friedrichs (RH, 3-4, 3.86)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.