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Cecconi Shines As Sod Poodles Blank Hooks

Sod Poodles Aim To Split Series In Finale
(John Moore)
June 26, 2022

Corpus Christi, TX – The Amarillo Sod Poodles ended a three-game slide, sinking the Hooks in shutout fashion on Saturday night. Propelled by another dominant start on the mound, a two-run home run in the third inning would prove to be the only run support needed in a 3-0 win

Corpus Christi, TX – The Amarillo Sod Poodles ended a three-game slide, sinking the Hooks in shutout fashion on Saturday night. Propelled by another dominant start on the mound, a two-run home run in the third inning would prove to be the only run support needed in a 3-0 win in south Texas.

Slade Cecconi didn't leave any of his stuff behind when the team left San Antonio last week to head to the gulf, including his dominant stretch of pitching. The former Miami Hurricane and 33rd overall pick in 2020 notched two quality starts last week, allowing five earned runs over his 12.2 IP and went 1-0 against the Missions. The Arizona Diamondbacks' No. 9 rated prospect picked up right where he left off on Saturday. Cecconi retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced, tallying his second strikeout of the night to end the third.

By the time that had happened, the offense had already scored the first runs of the game for just the second time this series. Amarillo also scored first in the series opener on Tuesday - the other win against the Hooks this week. Nick Dalesandro dropped a perfect bunt for the first Sod Poodles hit of the game and then saw the next two batters behind him retired via the strikeout. Eduardo Diaz needed to see just one pitch - a breaking ball over the heart of the plate - and sent it over the left-center field fence for a 2-0 Sod Poodles lead.

Cecconi worked around a hit in the 4th and 5th innings each, stranding a leadoff double in the 5th inning when he was able to induce a soft fly out, strikeout, and line out. That double would be the last hit surrendered by the right-hander for the evening as he was able to retire the side in order in his sixth and final inning of work with a punchout to punctuate his outing.

Josh Green spun two hitless innings and did so while pitching to contact as the right-hander did not record a strikeout on the night.

The Sod Poodles added an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning. A one-out walk, pitching change, and subsequent single put two runners aboard. A force out at second base on a Tim Tawa fielder's choice sent Roby Enriquez to the plate. He added a RBI in the 9th inning for the second consecutive night, ripping a single into right field, allowing Leandro Cedeño to trot home effortlessly.

Fellow right-hander Jeff Bain took over on the hill for the 9th. A walk and single didn't seem to faze Bain, who struck out two in the inning en route to picking up his second save of the year as the Sod Poodles earned their second shutout win of the 2022 campaign.

Amarillo will end the current two-week road trip with the series finale scheduled for Sunday, June 26 at 5:05 p.m. The Sod Poodles will aim to split the series and end the first half of the 2022 Texas League schedule on a two-game winning streak before heading back to HODGETOWN for the start of a six-game set against the Kansas City Royals Double-A affiliate, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Left-hander Kenny Hernandez will get the start in the series finale for the Sod Poodles after rejoining the team from High-A Hillsboro.


*SC 10: *Sladerade spun his third straight quality start on Saturday night and second win of the road trip after dealing six shutout innings. It was the third start this year of at least 5.0 IP and 0 ER allowed and the first since May 27 at Arkansas when he spun another six scoreless. The D-backs' No. 9 rated prospect finishes the month of June going 2-1 with a 3.13 ERA over 31.2 IP in five starts. He had 29 strikeouts to just four walks issued and held opposing hitters to a .256 BAA and 32 hits.

Dos For Diaz: Eduardo Diaz smashed his second home run of the series, and eight in 2022. The outfielder jumped all over the first pitch of his second at-bat of the game, a hanging breaking ball over the center of the plate. His two-run home run provided all of the run support the Sod Poodles would need for the game.

Blanked: The Sod Poodles earned their second shutout win of the year and first since May 25 when they beat Arkansas 2-0. It was the seventh shutout game Amarillo has been a part of this year, moving to 2-5 in such games.

*Low On Runs: *Aside from the first game of the series when Amarillo put up 10 runs including a six-run 9th inning, the Sod Poodles have scored just 11 runs over the last four games. The two runs provided by Diaz's home run in the third inning were the only runs Amarillo has scored in the first seven innings in each of the last three games. Amarillo's only runs on Thursday and Friday came in the 8th and 9th innings.The lone run in Wednesday's game came in the 5th inning. Entering Sunday's finale, the Sod Poodles have been held scoreless in 33 of 46 innings.

Sub Five: Amarillo was held to five or fewer hits for just the 11th time this year. Saturday night marked just the second time they were held to five or fewer hits and won the ballgame, as they were also held to four hits against Midland and on May 31 and won 3-2. On the flip side, it was the seventh time Sod Poodles pitchers had surrendered five or fewer hits in a game as Cecconi allowed just three hits while Jeff Bain allowed just one. Josh Green tossed two hitless innings as the first man out of the bullpen.

Roby In The Clutch: For the second consecutive night, Roby Enriquez pitched in with a two-out, 9th-inning RBI. On Friday night, his two-RBI single tied the game for the Sod Poodles while his RBI on Saturday night helped provide an insurance run. When hitting with RISP, Enriquez is batting an impressive .556 (10-for-18) with two doubles, a home run, and 14 RBI with runners in scoring position.

Save The Day, Jefe: Right-hander Jeff Bain collected his second save of the year, tossing the ninth inning. His only other save came earlier this month on June 1 against Midland. It is just the third save of Bain's career which has spanned over 115 games in his 5th minor league season. His only other save coming into this season also came while wearing a Sod Poodles jersey and against the Hooks. It came last year on June 26th, a one-out save where he struck out the only batter he faced.