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Alexander's RBI Single Walks Off Arkansas

(John Moore)
September 11, 2022

Amarillo, Texas - The Sod Poodles walked away with a victory on a blustery Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd for SkyFest. The final night game of the 2022 regular season at HODGETOWN ended with fireworks on and off the field as Amarillo collected their second walk-off win

Amarillo, Texas - The Sod Poodles walked away with a victory on a blustery Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd for SkyFest. The final night game of the 2022 regular season at HODGETOWN ended with fireworks on and off the field as Amarillo collected their second walk-off win of the series.

Arkansas, like they have in four of the five games to start the series found themselves in front after their opening at-bats. After a leadoff strikeout from Amarillo starter Blake Walston, a solo home run to right field kicked off the night's scoring. Walston's second strikeout was followed by back-to-back two-out doubles and another run. The second home run of the top of the first pushed the Amarillo deficit to four runs before they took their first at-bats of the game.

The Sod Poodles were retired in order after the first at-bats as the D-backs' No. 5 rated prospect went back to work on the mound. The southpaw picked up his third strikeout and worked around a one-out single to send the offense back to work.

A walk and Blaze Alexander single put two on base ahead of A.J. Vukovich. The Arizona Diamondbacks No. 12 rated prospect collected his first Double-A RBIs with a three-run opposite field home run to the right field berm to cut the Arkansas lead to just one run.

Cade Marlowe's second home run of the game and second in as many at-bats pushed the Travs lead back to two runs in the top of the third inning.

Roby Enriquez started a two-out Amarillo rally in the bottom of the third inning. He roped a double down the right-field line that came to rest under the vacated Arkansas bullpen. Tristin English scored him with a line-drive single into center field to pull back within one run.

Walston continued to battle on the mound. He struck out his fourth of the night to start off the top of the fourth and once again worked around a single to keep it at a one-run game. Amarillo was retired in order, sending Walston back to work in the fifth inning. Consecutive two-out singles kept the Travs at the plate and placed runners on the corners. The second Amarillo error scored the sixth run of the game for Arkansas.

Small ball helped cut the Travs lead to one run once again. After a perfectly placed bunt single for Nick Dalesandro, a Jordan Lawlar walked pushed him into scoring position. A fielder's choice forced Lawlar out at second and moved Dalesandro over to third. A lazy throw over to the third baseman behind Dalesandro got past him, allowing Dalesandro to race home.

Fellow left-hander Kenny Hernandez relieved Walston and proceeded to work a 1-2-3 inning to send Amarillo back to the plate. Vukovich was left standing on second base after his second hit of the night.After a single, he was allowed to move to second on a balk but the next two Amarillo hitters behind him were retired in order. Hernandez worked another perfect inning, collecting his second strikeout.

Dalesandro's second hit of the night was erased from the basepath after a diving catch in center field. With a hit & run on, Barrosa lined a ball towards the right-center field gap that was snagged and allowed the Travelers to double up Dalesandro on first. Lawlar drew his second walk of the night and brought on a pitching change to face Enriquez. The lefty-lefty matchup went in favor of Amarillo with the second straight walk to keep the Sod Poodles at the plate. A first-pitch hit by pitch loaded the bases for Blaze Alexander who drew a four-pitch walk to bring in the tying run.

Justin Lewis was the first right-hander the Travs had to face and he made quick work of them. The tall right-hander struck out the first batter he faced ahead of a popout and fly ball to center field to send the game to the bottom of the eighth. A 1-2-3 bottom of the 8th brought on Kyle Backhus out of the bullpen for the Sod Poodles. Backhus allowed singles to two of the first three Arkansas hitters to put runners on the corners. With his back to the wall, Backhus hurled back-to-back strikeouts to end the Arkansas threat and the game to the bottom of the ninth.

Once there, Barrosa flew out to start the frame for Amarillo. Lawlar then drew his third walk of the game. Enriquez singled and English took his second free pass to load the bases.

After a six-pitch battle, Alexander got the best of the seventh pitch of the at-bat. He sawed off a broken-bat single into center field, sending Lawlar home as the game-winning run.

The final home game of the 2022 season is scheduled for 1:05 PM on Sunday as the series against the Travelers will come to an end. RHP Ross Carver (0-2) is scheduled to make his second start of the series and will face Arkansas' RHP Bryce Miller (3-0) who earned the win in game one of the series after five innings and one earned run on Tuesday. The final game will feature a bobblehead giveaway celebrating a pair of no-hitters thrown by Matt Tabor and Luis Frias during the 2021 season.


Vuk Nuke: Arizona Diamondbacks No. 12 rated prospect A.J. Vukovich collected his first Double-A home run and RBIs as he swatted a 3-run opposite-field home run in the bottom of the second inning. The Wisconsin native added another hit in the bottom of the sixth inning, giving him his first multi-hit performance in Amarillo. Vukovich was promoted to Amarillo on Tuesday of this week and is now off to a 4-for-16 start in four games.

Walston's Go: In what might be his last start at HODGETOWN in 2022, D-backs' No. 5 rated prospect Blake Walston finished with 5.0 IP and 6 runs (5 earned) as he surrendered 10 hits. The lefties in the Arkansas lineup took advantage of the short fence and strong winds out to right field for three home runs that accounted for 4 of the 6 runs surrendered by Walston. He struck out 4 batters, bringing his season total to 106 in Double-A and 133 including his start in High-A Hillsboro. The lefty currently ranks top 10 in the D-backs' minor league system in strikeouts (2nd, 133), win percentage (1st, .700), innings pitched (7th, 118.0), and wins (T-4, 7),

Another Day, Another Blaze Hit: The Arizona Diamondbacks No. 15 rated prospect continues to collect hits since his return from injury. With a 2-for-4 performance on Saturday night, Blaze now has hits in each of his last five games and is hitting .341 over the last month with 31 hits. His night also included drawing a bases-loaded walk to tie the game for Amarillo in the bottom of the seventh, and walking the game off with his first walk-off winner for Amarillo.

Kenny H: LHP Kenny Hernandez was excellent in relief of Blake Walston. Hernandez retired all six batters he faced in order over the sixth and seventh innings. It was his third straight scoreless appearance dating back to September 4 against Frisco. He has 5.0 IP during this scoreless stretch and has surrendered just five hits with five strikeouts.

Killer K.B: LHP Kyle Backhus earned another win, improving to 2-2 in Double-A after a scoreless top of the ninth inning. Backhus surrendered two singles which placed the potential go-ahead run on third base with one out in the inning. He responded by striking out the next two to set up Alexander's heroics in the bottom of the 9th. Backhus has hurled consecutive scoreless appearances after beginning his Double-A tenure without allowing a run in his first five games.