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Albright Strikes Out 10 in Sod Poodles 7-5 Win Over Hooks

Albright Sets Career-High for Strikeouts in a Game
August 2, 2023

Amarillo, Texas (August 1, 2023) – Amarillo extended their lead in the South Division to two games after taking game one of the series against the Corpus Christi Hooks on Tuesday night. Corpus entered the series as the hottest team in the Texas League, winning 11 of their previous 13

Amarillo, Texas (August 1, 2023) – Amarillo extended their lead in the South Division to two games after taking game one of the series against the Corpus Christi Hooks on Tuesday night. Corpus entered the series as the hottest team in the Texas League, winning 11 of their previous 13 games to jump right behind the Sod Poodles in the standings. Sod Poodles starter Luke Albright entered the game with the most strikeouts in the D-backs farm system and added to it with a career night on the bump.

After seeing the Hooks score two in the top of the first, the Sod Poodles were able to capitalize on a couple of Corpus errors to draw within a run during their half of the first frame. Neyfy Castillo tied things up with a solo shot in the top second inning.

Surrendering the two runs in the first, Albright settled into a groove. He struck out the side in the first and added one more in the second. He then struck out the side in order during the bottom of the third to give him seven on the night through his first three innings of work. A pair of Corpus doubles is how the top of the fifth began under Albright's watch. The third hit of the inning, this time a RBI single pushed the Hooks in front by two. The right-hander added two more strikeouts during his final inning of work to give him 10 on the day - a new career-high and the most by an Amarillo pitcher in any game so far this season.

The Sod Poodles responded to another deficit by piecing together a five-hit inning to take the lead. Each of the first three Amarillo batters singled, with Jordan Lawlar's cutting the Hooks' advantage to just one run. The fourth consecutive single loaded the bases for Seth Beer. A RBI hit-by-pitch tied the game before a pair of strikeouts and a two-strike count on Tim Tawa had the Hooks one strike away from getting out of the inning with the game still tied. Instead, Tawa roped a bases-clearing double to the right-center field gap and capped the five-run inning to propel Amarillo ahead by three runs.

Raffi Vizcaino took over pitching duties for Albright and hurled two hitless innings as he worked his way around one walk in the seventh inning to keep the Sod Poodles in front by three.

Fellow right-hander Michel Otanez entered the game in the top of the eighth inning for Amarillo. After earning a strikeout to begin his lone inning of labor, a double and walk put two Hooks aboard. Otanez left both stranded as he helped to retire each of the next two batters to send the game to the bottom of the eighth. After a 1-2-3 bottom frame at the plate, Will Mabrey was sent to the mound to try and protect Amarillo's three-run cushion.

The left-hander induced a ground out on the first pitch he threw in the inning for a quick first out. The second batter he faced cut the Amarillo lead to two runs after a solo home run made it 7-5. Mabrey struck out the next Hooks batter before a pop-out hauled in by Tawa in shallow right field gave Amarillo the game one win.

The series will continue on Wednesday night as RHP Jamison Hill (5-5, 4.55 ERA) will take the mound for Amarillo. The Hooks will send LHP Colton Gordon (4-5, 3.30 ERA) to the bump. First pitch from HODGETOWN is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.


SIR, THIS IS A WENDYS: Caleb Roberts began the night 4-for-4 with a chance for the cycle as he stepped to the plate for his last at-bat of the game. He singled to start the bottom of the first inning and then tripled his next trip to the plate. He added another single in the fifth before a double in the sixth. A strikeout ended the chance for the cycle as he took his last at-bat of the night in the bottom of the eighth. His four-hit night still set a new career-high for a single game in his 220-game professional career. It is just the fourth three-hit game this year by an Amarillo player and the first since Seth Beer went 4-for-4 on June 8th on the road in Midland. Roberts' seventh triple of the year currently leads the league and he is now one away from tying the franchise record for most triples in a single season which is held by a pair of current big-leaguers in Corbin Carroll and Alek Thomas.

10/10, NO NOTES: Roberts wasn't the only one to set a new career-high for Amarillo on Tuesday night. Amarillo starter Luke Albright struck out 10 in his five innings of work to set a new single-game best. The D-backs' minor league leader in strikeouts on the year now also sits atop the Texas League leaderboard with 117 punchouts on the year. His 10 strikeouts set a new bar for the most in a game by any Amarillo pitcher this year, after having previously had eight be the most any Sod Poodles pitcher had totaled through the first 96 games of the season. Albright's 10 strikeouts were the most by a Sod Poodle since Brandon Pfaadt struck out 11 on July 24, 2022, on the road against Midland. It is just the 15th time in Sod Poodles' history a pitcher has racked up a double-digit strikeout performance. Albright improved to 7-4 on the season after earning the win and also ranks top 10 in the Texas League this year in wins (T-3rd), IP (3rd, 94.0), BAA (.259, 9th), and WPCT (.636, 2nd). His 20 starts are the most by a Texas League pitcher this year.

HERE'S MY NUMBER, SO CALL HIM NEYFY: Neyfy Castillo launched his 11th home run of the year with a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning. Over his last 18 games since the start of July, Castillo is hitting .318 (21-for-66) with six home runs, three doubles, 16 RBI, and has scored 13 times. His OPS over the last 18 games is now at 1.011, which is good for the sixth-highest in the Texas League among qualified players. His six home runs are tied for the second-most since July along with fellow teammates Ivan Melendez, Caleb Roberts, and A.J. Vukovich. Over the stretch, he has raised his season AVG by .30, after entering July hitting .218.

NO TROUBLE WITH A DOUBLE: Tim Tawa put Amarillo in front and provided the game-winning RBIs with his bases-clearing double in the bottom of the fifth. It was Tawa's 12th double of the year and gave him RBIs 53-55 on the year, second-most on the club this year. His three-RBI night was the 12th multi-RBI game this year, tied for the second-most on the team along with Caleb Roberts. A.J. Vukovich currently leads all Amarillo players with 15 multi-RBI games as he leads the team in the category with his 69 RBI on the season. Now sitting at 55 RBI on the year, Tawa has set a new single-season career-high, surpassing the 53 he had a season ago between High-A Hillsboro and Amarillo. His 12 doubles are also just three away from tying his single-season best of 15 which he also set during the 2022 season.

WILL IT SAVE: Will Mabrey collected his second Double-A save and his fourth overall this year. Mabrey pitched the final inning on Tuesday night and allowed a run off a solo home run. Through his first 33 pro games, Mabrey holds a 3.12 ERA over 49.0 innings in relief. Of his 33 games, the left-hander out of the University of Tennessee has only allowed more than one run in a game four times and has posted 20 scoreless appearances.