RockHounds Take Opener Over Amarillo

(Danne' Braden)

By Bob Hards / Midland RockHounds | July 8, 2019 10:48 PM

RockHounds 5, Amarillo Sod Poodles 4

Monday, July 8, 2019

Security Bank Ballpark


Simply put, Monday's series opener between the RockHounds and Amarillo was a terrific Texas League baseball game.


The 'Hounds never trailed ... the Sod Poodles refused to go away ... and the game ended with the tying run at third and (thanks in part to perfect positioning) on a line drive off the bat of the league's top hitter.


The game's first run was an omen of how close the game would be ... in fact, by a fingertip! Dairon Blanco singled to right (on an 0-2 pitch) and stole second, moving to third when catcher Kyle Overstreet's throw sailed wide. Blanco then scored against a drawn-in infield on a bouncer to second, narrowly avoiding Overstreet's tag, literally brushing his hand on the plate on a perfect head-first slide.


The 'Hounds extended the lead to 2-0 on back-to-back second-inning doubles from Nate Mondou and Edwin Diaz, with Diaz getting the first of his three RBI for the night (see below).


Peter Van Gansen tripled and scored on a ground ball in the top of third to put the Sod Poodles on the board and the 'Hounds answered in the home half of the inning with a leadoff double from Chase Calabuig and a two-out RBI single from Brallan Perez.


Amarillo scored twice quickly against Grant Holmes when the right-hander entered the game in the fourth. A walk to Hudson Potts was followed by Taylor Kohlwey's RBI double to left center and Kohlwey later scored on Brad Zunica's ground out. The Sod Poodles might have done more damage had it not been for Blanco's brilliant catch (at full tilt in right-center) off the bat of Overstreet and a tremendous play by Blanco on the ball ripped to the right side by Zunica. Holmes then settled in and went three more scoreless innings.


Tyler Ramirez singled to lead off the sixth but was still at first with two out. Diaz then broke the tie with what would be the game-winning swing, a towering home run high onto the grass berm in left field.


Amarillo got within a run in the eighth, loading the bases against reliever Jesus Zambrano. Zack Erwin (see below) gave up an RBI single to pinch-hitter Buddy Reed before the 'Hounds escaped the inning with an outstanding 6-4-3 (Kevin Merrell to Perez to Calabuig) double play.


Van Gansen gave the Sod Poodles one last chance with a one-out double in the ninth. He was at third with two away when Ivan Castillo, the league's leading hitter (.346 and 3-for-4 in the game at that point) ripped a line drive to left. Ramirez, who was positioned perfectly, made the catch to slam the door.


Texas League South

Frisco continues to feast on Corpus Christi pitching. The RoughRiders defeated the Hooks, 14-1, Monday night at Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco. The Riders and Hooks played last week in the Metroplex as well, and Frisco won the last two games of that series by scores of 13-11 and 11-10 (a total of 38 runs in three games).


The RockHounds (11-7) now lead Corpus Christi and Amarillo (both 8-10) by three and Frisco (6-11) by 4½ games just past the "quarter pole" of the second half race.   



The RockHounds, while dropping 4-of-their-last-5 entering the homestand, won for the eighth time in their last 12 games.


Edwin Diaz went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run and two RBI. He is now the Texas League leader with 21 doubles .... is tied for second with 34 extra-base-hits ... and is tied for 11th in the league with 43 RBI. He has a five-game hit streak (6-16, .375) and several trends, including a very strong stretch dating back June 8. In 26 games since that day, he is hitting .297 (27-for-91) with 16 runs, seven doubles, one triple, six (of his nine for season) home runs and 27 RBI. Through the first 80 games of the season, Edwin is two doubles and seven RBI shy of his career highs (23 and 50, respectively)


Nate Mondou is starting to look like Nate Mondou again! The RockHounds infielder had a double and a run scored and has now hit in four straight games. Nate is 5-for-13 (.385) with a double, a run, two RBI, two walks and a hit by pitch (on-base in 8-of-16 trips).


In the month of April, and in his first five appearances at the Double-A level, Zack Erwin posted an earned run average of 7.00. Since the beginning of May ... in 21 appearances ... the left-hander has allowed three earned runs in 28⅔ innings for a 0.94 ERA (2.39 for the season). Monday night's save was his fourth of the season ... and of his career ... in as many opportunities. Zack, who is in his first season as a full-time, had only one save opportunity before this season (a blown save in Stockton in 2016).


Next Game

Tuesday, July 9     vs. Amarillo Sod Poodles

Security Bank Ballpark            6:30 p.m. (Gates open 6:00)

Two-for One Tuesday

- Second of a three-game series and of a seven-game homestand

- Radio: NewsTalk 550 with Bob Hards ... airtime 6:15 p.m.


Probable Starters

AMA:                 Kyle Lloyd (RH, 3-5, 3.88)

RH:   Matt Milburn (RH, 5-5, 5.30)

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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