RockHounds 9, Amarillo Sod Poodles 8
Monday, May 13, 2019
HODGETOWN Amarillo, TX
Our word for the day is … "improbable."
The RockHounds defeated the Sod Poodles, 9-8, Monday night at HODGETOWN in Amarillo, Texas, scoring the game's final four runs, including three in the top of the ninth.
In a game with a box score totaling 17 runs on 28 hits (16 of them from the Sod Poodles), the difference was a pair of errors, one big swing and a good measure of hustle.
Trailing, 8-5, entering the eighth, the RockHounds scratched together a run largely on hustle. Kevin Merrell narrowly beat out a soft bouncer to second base for a two-out infield single and Greg Deichmann scored from second on the play.
Luis Barrera drove Kazuhisa Makita's 1-1 pitch over the right field wall for a solo (leadoff) home run in the ninth, closing the deficit to one run.
From there, the Sod Poodles' night completely unraveled. Centerfielder Edward Oliveras misplayed Mikey White's fly ball and Makita hit Chase Calabuig … with an 0-2 pitch … to put two men on and still no outs. Luke Persico dropped down a sacrifice bunt which Makita fielded, but his throw sailed wide, allowing both White and Calabuig to score.
Kyle Finnegan closed the ninth with a 1-2-3, striking out Chris Baker to end the game with Buddy Reed, one of two Amarillo hitters who were perfect for the night (see below), on deck.
Amarillo's Taylor Kohlway tied the game in the home half of the first with a two-run home run. It came on his seventh at-bat since joining the Sod Poodles from (Advanced-A) Lake Elsinore.
Catcher Robert Mullen pulled the 'Hounds to within 6-5 with a 400-plus-foot home run to center in the fourth. The homer came on Robert's second at-bat of the game … and his third of the season.
With all that offense … the RockHounds bullpen was, in hindsight, exceptional. A rough night for starter Joel Seddon (who joined the club from Stockton Monday) saw the Sod Poodles score six runs on eight hits in the first two innings. Angel Duno slowed Amarillo down, allowing two runs on five hits over 2⅔ innings, and the back of the 'pen was tremendous. Trey McNutt went 2⅓ scoreless innings with Trey Cochran-Gill (win) and Kyle Finnegan (save) pitching scoreless frames in the eighth and ninth, respectively. The last three relievers, in a game in which Amarillo scored eight runs on 16 hits … totaled 4⅓ shutout innings, allowing three hits and one walk with four strikeouts.
Frisco, 4-2, at Corpus Christi, so the South Division tightened a bit to start the new week. The RoughRiders (21-16) now lead the RockHounds (19-17) by a game-and-a-half with the Hooks (18-18) closing to within two-and-a-half (Amarillo stays six back).
This week's games mark the start of the "second half of the first half" pennant race. It's from our Department of Redundancy Department," but it's always remarkable how quickly the 70-game halves fly by. From here through June 17, we're counting DOWN the number of games remaining. With that in mind … the RockHounds still haven't played division rival Corpus Christi, nor have Amarillo and Frisco met so far.
Two players were responsible for half of Amarillo's 16 hits. Owen Miller went 4-for-4 (double, RBI and a walk, reaching in all five trips to the plate) and Buddy Reed went 4-for-4 with a double, a solo home run, two RBI and a stolen base. Reed now has seven home runs this season … all at HODGETOWN. He hit six in the club's first homestand then went virtually a month before his solo shot Monday (his previous HR came on April 14).
Mikey White has hit in four straight games, going 8-for-17 with two doubles and three RBI (all in the Frisco series) and has reached base safely in 12 straight games (13-44, .295).
HOW TO WIN A FREE AIRLINE TICKET TO LAS VEGAS
First, in this case, you need to be an outstanding pitcher at the Double-A level … apologies if you have visions of a complimentary trip to Vegas (chips not included).
Parker Dunshee , a top 20 prospect for the Oakland A's (see right) was outstanding after being promoted to the RockHounds from (Advanced-A) Stockton midway through last season. One would think a 7-4 record and a remarkable 2.01 ERA would push you to the next level the following season, but the roster of the Las Vegas Aviators (Triple-A / Pacific Coast League) was jammed, meaning Parker returned the 'Hounds to open the 2019 season.
After going "under the radar" in his first two appearances, the former Wake Forest star has been spectacular. In his last four starts, Parker was 2-0, with a 0.99 ERA, including 15 consecutive scoreless innings (and earning Texas League Pitcher of the Week honors in the process). He ranks first in the TL in WHIP (.0.97), second in ERA (1.89) and average (.195) and was among the top 10 in strikeouts (34).
Parker's outstanding work with the 'Hounds has resulted in a well-deserved promotion to Vegas (the Aviators became Oakland's AAA affiliate this season). So, enjoy that free ticket, Parker, you earned it!
Tuesday, May 14 vs. Amarillo Sod Poodles
HODGETOWN Amarillo, Texas
First pitch 7:05 p.m.
- Second of a three-game series and road trip
- Radio: NewsTalk 550 with Bob Hards ... airtime 7:00 p.m.
AMA: Kyle Lloyd (RH, 0-0, 4.35)
RH: James Naile (RH, 3-3, 6.16)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.