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Late Lead Slips Away From Sod Poodles Thursday Night

Lin Has 10 Strikeouts, Graham Adds Three Hits
(John Moore)
April 12, 2024

MIDLAND, Texas (April 11, 2024) – A back-and-forth contest for most of Thursday's game against the Midland RockHounds ended in an 8-5 Amarillo loss. Sod Poodles outfielder Kevin Graham delivered a go-ahead RBI in the top of the eighth inning but Midland snatched the lead and a 2-1 series lead

MIDLAND, Texas (April 11, 2024) – A back-and-forth contest for most of Thursday's game against the Midland RockHounds ended in an 8-5 Amarillo loss. Sod Poodles outfielder Kevin Graham delivered a go-ahead RBI in the top of the eighth inning but Midland snatched the lead and a 2-1 series lead in grand fashion.

D-backs no. 4-rated prospect Yu-Min Lin got the start on the mound for Amarillo and allowed back-to-back singles to start his night. The lefty then proceeded to strike out each of the next three en route to leaving the pair of RockHounds stranded. Lin wasn't so fortunate in his second inning of labor. A leadoff walk was followed by a double to quickly put two runners back into scoring position for Lin to navigate. The first of consecutive ground outs induced by the 20-year-old Lin produced the first run of the game for either side. A two-out RBI single then pushed Midland in front 2-0 before Lin ended the frame with his third swinging strikeout - fourth overall.

After Lin added two more strikeouts in the bottom of the third, the Sod Poodles offense finally began to crack Gunnar Hoglund who had stymied Amarillo's bats through the first third of the game.

Tim Tawa singled to start the top of the fourth inning and moved to third base when Deyvison De Los Santos found a hole in the infield for his only hit of the night. Caleb Roberts cleared the bases with his first three-bagger of the season that caromed halfway up the right field wall. Following a strikeout, Graham collected the first of his three hits on the night with an opposite-field gap-shot double to score Roberts and give Amarillo the lead.

That lead lasted all but four batters. Despite striking out seven through his first 3.2 IP, Midland had also tagged Lin for six hits when Jacob Wilson doubled home the tying run. Lin then struck out his eighth batter of the night to bring an end to the fourth. The first pitch he threw in the fifth put Midland back in front. His seesaw start ended with him picking up his ninth and 10th strikeouts of the game.

Graham's second double of the game helped to push the tying run over to third base after J.J. D'Orazio drew a leadoff walk to start the seventh. A Midland pitching change followed the second walk of the inning as the bases were loaded for Amarillo and nobody out. Austin Briggs, the new RockHound on the bump, balked in the tying run before getting his first pitch off for the night. It would be the only run Amarillo would manage in the inning as Graham was cut down at the plate on a fielder's choice and a groundout officially ended the threat.

In the top of the eighth after two walks in the inning, Graham delivered again. This time a two-out RBI single put the Soddies in front 5-4 after Conor Grammes and Logan Clayton held the RockHounds hitless over the sixth and seventh innings in relief of Lin.

Taylor Rashi took over on the mound in the bottom of the eighth and struck out two of the first three batters he faced - the one he didn't get being a single into shallow left field. A fielder's choice resulted in everyone being safe as Midland's pinch runner beat Ivan Melendez's throw to second base from the hot corner. The inning-extending play was magnified two batters later when Midland's Jacob Wilson hit a go-ahead grand slam for his fourth hit and sixth RBI of the night.

The Sod Poodles went three-up-three-down in the top of the ninth.

The Sod Poodles will look to get the series back to all square on Friday night. RHP Luke Albright will get the start for Amarillo against Midland's J.T. Ginn. First pitch is slated for 7:00 p.m.


ACE: LHP Yu-Min Lin set a new Double-A high for himself with his 10-strikeout performance on Thursday night. The D-backs' no. 4-rated prospect had a nine-strikeout performance on August 22, 2023. The southpaw was tied for the lead in the D-backs farm system with 140 strikeouts during the 2023 season and has now cracked double-digit strikeouts in a game for the fifth time in 40 career minor league starts. Lin set his career-high with a 13-strikeout game on June 3, 2023, when he was with High-A Hillsboro against Everett. It is the 18th 10+ strikeout game by an Amarillo pitcher and the first since Peter Solomon on August 29, 2023, also against Midland.

GIMME THE SIX: Deyvison De Los Santos extended his hitting streak to start the year to six games after his 1-for-4 night at the plate Thursday. Through the first six, the D-backs no. 14-rated prospect is hitting .360 (9-for-25) with two doubles, a home run, three RBI, five runs scored, a walk, and a stolen base. Over his last 62 games (incl. Playoffs) with Amarillo since July 14, 2023, when he returned to the active roster, De Los Santos is hitting .325 (83-for-255) with 51 runs scored, 17 doubles, three triples, 15 home runs, and 43 RBI.

PAR THREE: Caleb Roberts notched his first triple of the 2024 season when he walloped a ball to deep right field in Amarillo's loss to Midland on Thursday night. Roberts, who has played in 112 career games with Amarillo since 2022 is now up to 10 triples in his Double-A career. He already entered the season as the franchise's all-time leader in three-baggers and now holds a five-triple cushion over the next closest active Sod Poodles player (A.J. Vukovich). Through six games in 2024, Roberts is batting at a .318 clip (7-for-22) with two doubles, a triple, a home run, four RBI, and three walks.

DOUBLE BOGEY: Kevin Graham delivered his second 3+ hit game in four games played this season. The former 14th-round draft pick matched his career-high with a four-hit game last Sunday against San Antonio and went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and RBI against Midland on Thursday. His three doubles are the most on the club thus far. The former Ole Miss Rebel set his career single-season high with 13 doubles a season ago.

BUMP & RUN: The Midland RockHounds stole seven bases against Amarillo on Thursday night. It marks the most stolen bases by a team against Amarillo all-time. The seven swiped bases break the previous high of six which was done by Wichita at HODGETOWN on July 23, 2023. The seven stolen bases are also the most by a team in all Double-A through the first six games of the year.

CAN'T USE A MULLIGAN: Wilderd Patino saw his five-game hit streak come to an end on Thursday night. The outfielder has started every game so far in center field and hit in the leadoff spot for Amarillo. He still leads all qualified Sod Poodles, hitting .370 through six games.

GRAND SLAM: Midland's Jacob Wilson, the top-ranked prospect in the Oakland A's farm system, ended Thursday 4-for-5 with a double, and the go-ahead grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning. It is already the third grand slam allowed by the Sod Poodles through six games and the 27th all-time. The Sod Poodles allowed six grand slams all of 2023.