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Amarillo Falls in See-Saw Battle to Hooks on Wednesday Night

Vukovich Hits His Second Grand Slam of the Season For Amarillo
August 2, 2023

Amarillo, Texas (August 2, 2023) – A 26-hit, 24-run, back-and-forth game did not go in favor of Amarillo, who fell 13-11 to the Corpus Christi Hooks on Wednesday night. The game saw a combined eight home runs split evenly between the two clubs vying for the top spot in the

Amarillo, Texas (August 2, 2023) – A 26-hit, 24-run, back-and-forth game did not go in favor of Amarillo, who fell 13-11 to the Corpus Christi Hooks on Wednesday night. The game saw a combined eight home runs split evenly between the two clubs vying for the top spot in the Texas League South in the second half.

Jamison Hill worked a clean top of the first despite some early traffic on the bases. After a leadoff walk and one-out single, Corpus put runners on the corners with a flyout to right field. Hill induced a routine ground ball for Jordan Lawlar to put out the runner at second base.

Ivan Melendez put Los Pointy Boots on the board with a three-run homer on the first pitch he saw in his first inning at bat.

The Hooks cut the Amarillo lead to two runs after a hit by pitch would later advance all the way to third on a stolen base and then a balk. A two-out double scored their first run of the game. Hill responded by collecting his first strikeout of the game to end the threat and send the offense back to work with a two-run lead.

That lead quickly grew as Lawlar blasted a two-run shot to straightaway center field in the bottom of the second. Amarillo's second home run of the game gave Hill a 5-1 lead to work with as he headed to the mound in the third.

The back-and-forth continued with the Hooks adding a three-run home run of their own to bring themselves within a run of the Amarillo advantage. Hill retired each of the next three he faced. A one-out walk drawn by Deyvison De Los Santos was the only baserunner Amarillo would get in the bottom of the inning to keep it a 5-4 game.

The fourth Corpus Christi hit of the night pushed them in front 6-5 as a two-run home run made a two-out walk even more harmful for Hill. J.J. D'Orazio's second hit of the game began Amarillo's half of the fourth as they found themselves trailing for the first time. A strikeout sent the top of the order back to the plate. Tim Tawa's double put two runners into scoring position before Lawlar walked to load the bases and incite a pitching change for the Hooks. A.J. Vukovich greeted the new arm with his second grand slam of the year and started a six-run inning for Amarillo. Melendez singled ahead of De Los Santos muscling out an opposite-field home run to give Amarillo a 11-6 lead.

Another two Hooks batters were left stranded by Hill as he worked his second clean inning of the game in the top of the fifth. The right-hander picked up two outs in the sixth but would exit the game after a career-high 103 pitches and a runner on second base. Christian Montes De Oca took over on the hill and an error would help put two runners aboard. The second three-run home run hit by Zach Dezenzo gave him six total RBI and brought it back to a two-run game with Amarillo ahead 11-9.

After being held off the scoreboard for the second-straight inning, Amarillo saw their lead shrink to just a run after a solo home run to lead off the top of the seventh inning.

Kyle Backhus relieved Montes De Oca after his 1.1 IP when the lefty headed to the mound for the top of the eighth inning. After earning two quick ground outs, a two-out double extended the inning for the Hooks before another hit knotted things up at 11. A deep flyout kept things tied heading to the bottom of the eighth and the top of the Amarillo order due up. Vukovich drew a two-out walk, but Blair Henley struck out the side to send the game to the ninth where Backhus was back to work.

A single and RBI triple gave the Hooks their first lead since the top of the fourth inning. With the infield playing in, a sharply hit ground ball was corralled by Lawlar and prevented the runner on third from making it a two-run Hooks lead for the time being. Backhus earned the second out of the inning with a strikeout. A strike away from heading to the bottom of the ninth, a RBI single pushed the run across to make it a 13-11 game before the inning came to a close.

Henley retired all three he faced in the ninth to finish the final five innings in relief for Corpus, allowing just one hit and adding eight strikeouts to his box score.

With the series tied, Amarillo will look to regain control of the series when the two teams take the field on Thursday night. First pitch from HODGETOWN is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.


THE MAYOR OF SLAMARILLO: A.J. Vukovich became the first Amarillo player to hit multiple grand slams in the same season when he did so in the bottom of the fourth. The D-backs' no. 11-rated prospect is now up to 19 home runs on the year, tops on the club in 2023. He is also one of just two players to ever hit multiple Grand Slams wearing Amarillo threads, joining Eduardo Diaz who had one during the 2021 season and one during the 2022 season. He is also up to 73 RBI on the year, most in the D-backs' farm system this year.

DRAW ME LIKE ONE OF YOUR FRENCH GIRLS: D-backs' no. 7-rated prospect Ivan Melendez added to his home run total with a three-run blast that went 445 ft to left-center field in the top of the first. His 25 home runs lead the D-backs' farm system. He now has seven home runs in 14 games with Amarillo which is tied for the most in all of Double-A since his arrival on July 14. His 18 RBI are also tied for tops in Double-A during the stretch along with four others including A.J. Vukovich.

LAW POWER: Jordan Lawlar hit his 14th home run of the season in the bottom of the second inning. Lawlar, MLB Pipeline's 5th-rated prospect, added to his home run total for the first time since July 16th against Frisco, ending a 12-game drought without a long ball. He is now two home runs shy of tying his single-season career-high which he set last season with 16. He began his night with a single in the first to extend his current on-base streak to 22 games dating back to June 29th. The streak is currently the second-longest in the Texas League behind Tulsa's Eddys Leonard who is riding a 26-game streak.

TWO-HIT D'ORAZIO: J.J. D'Orazio made it seven-straight games with a hit after his 2-for-3 night at the plate. He now has recorded a hit in 11 of his first 12 games since being promoted to Double-A. Over his first 12 games, D'Orazio is hitting .381 (16-for-42) with four doubles, a triple, five RBI, and seven runs scored. Wednesday marked his fourth multi-hit effort over his first 12 games at the Double-A level.

PLAKATA PARA DE LOS SANTOS: Deyvison De Los Santos recorded his 10th home run of the season and his first since July 19th against Wichita. The D-backs' no. 7-rated prospect became the eighth Amarillo player to reach double-digit home runs this year. By doing so, this year's club has tied the 2022 team for the most double-digit home run hitters in the same season in team history. Since returning to the active roster, De Los Santos has been as productive as any Amarillo player, hitting .339 (22-for-63) with four doubles, a triple, three home runs, and 12 RBI. His multi-hit effort on Wednesday was his seventh in his last 16 games since July 14th post-All-Star break.

TOP HEAVY HITTERS: The 1-5 hitters in Amarillo's order went a combined 9-for-21 (.429) with four of the five collecting multi-hit efforts and all four of the home runs. They combined for all 11 RBI and also drew four of the six walks issued by Hooks pitching.

THAT'S A LOT OF RUNS: The 24 combined runs scored on Wednesday night set a new season-high for combined runs in a game for Amarillo. Previously, there had been 23 runs scored four times this year prior to Wednesday's game. The 24 runs are the most in a game for Amarillo since a combined 26 runs were scored against Frisco on August 31, 2022. The all-time franchise high is 32 runs scored on September 11, 2021, against Tulsa.