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Melendez Drives in Four in Sod Poodles 7-3 Win

July 30, 2023

Midland, Texas (July 29, 2023) – Amarillo jumped out to an early lead and held on to defeat the Midland RockHounds on Saturday night. Ivan Melendez was one of five Sod Poodles to record multi-hit efforts and paced the team with his four RBI at Momentum Bank Ballpark. Camden Duzenack

Midland, Texas (July 29, 2023) – Amarillo jumped out to an early lead and held on to defeat the Midland RockHounds on Saturday night. Ivan Melendez was one of five Sod Poodles to record multi-hit efforts and paced the team with his four RBI at Momentum Bank Ballpark.

Camden Duzenack collected his first of three hits on Saturday night to leadoff the ballgame for Amarillo. Following a pair of strikeouts, Melendez drove in Duzenack with a RBI triple for the game's first run. The RockHounds responded, but Conor Grammes limited the damage to just one run after Midland loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the first.

For the second-straight game, a four spot in the top of the third inning separated Amarillo from Midland. Duzenack doubled to start the big inning before Jordan Lawlar walked. A single scored Duzenack and sent Melendez back to the plate. The D-backs' 7th-rated prospect tallied his second extra-base hit of the game, this time a two-RBI double. J.J. D'Orazio's second single of the game scored another run as the Sod Poodles built a 5-1 advantage.

Grammes ended his spot start after three innings where he allowed just the one run on four hits while adding four strikeouts before turning it over to Left-hander Will Mabrey. The southpaw spun two hitless innings to maintain the four-run advantage and added two strikeouts of his own.

After the Sod Poodles were held to just two hits since jumping out to the 5-1 lead, Midland crept within two of the lead after a two-run bottom of the sixth. Fellow left-hander Jake Rice struck out the side during his one inning of work but did allow a hit and two runs to come across. A wild pitch on his second strikeout allowed the runner to reach base before a walk pushed a runner into scoring position. The lone hit of Rice's inning of work was a RBI single that put runners on the corners. A groundout produced Midland's third run of the game before Rice ended the inning with his third strikeout.

The Sod Poodles managed another two hits during the seventh and eighth innings. Deyvison De Los Santos doubled to start the eighth but was unable to come around to score and extend Amarillo's lead.

Similar to the third inning, Duzenack got the ball rolling for Amarillo in the ninth. His third hit was followed on base by another Lawlar walk. Vukovich then singled home Duzenack as Lawlar rolled into third. Melendez capped his four-RBI night with a sac fly to score Lawlar and make it 7-3 Amarillo.

Austin Pope worked the bottom of the ninth for Amarillo as the fourth reliever. He came in relief of Raffi Vizcaino who hurled two hitless innings on the bump and picked up three strikeouts and a hold for his efforts.

A single and hit by pitch is how Pope's night got started. The right-hander then proceeded to retire each of the next three he faced to help preserve the win for Amarillo.

The series will conclude on Sunday as Amarillo will try and earn a series split if they can get the win. Right-hander Chad Patrick (3-7, 5.08 ERA) will take the ball for Amarillo. Patrick turned in a quality start to begin the series, going six scoreless innings on Tuesday night. First pitch on Sunday is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.


IVAN THE GREAT: Ivan Melendez has now turned in back-to-back multi-hit games at the plate for Amarillo. Saturday also was his second four-RBI game in Amarillo threads. Since making his Double-A debut, the D-backs' no. 7-rated prospect is hitting .313 (15-for-48) with three doubles, a triple, six home runs, and 15 RBI in 12 games. For the series, Melendez is hitting 7-for-22 in five games played with seven RBI.

2 x 3: J.J. D'Orazio recorded his first three-hit game for Amarillo with a 3-for-4 night that included a RBI on Saturday. The Amarillo backstop is now up to .371 (13-for-35) in his first 10 Double-A games and has a hit in all but one game so far for Amarillo.

DUZE: Camden Duzenack also went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and a double for Amarillo on Saturday night. Duzenack is hitting .346 through 43 games with Amarillo this season and now has two three-hit games during this series in Midland. Saturday marked his sixth three-hit performance so far with Amarillo. He now has a hit in 31 of his 43 games.

VUKULAR: A.J. Vukovich was one of three Amarillo players to have a three-hit night on Saturday. It was also his sixth three-hit game and 22nd overall multi-hit game. The D-backs' no. 11-rated prospect currently leads all active Amarillo players in AVG (.268), hits (84), RBI (69), and home runs (18).

SPOT ME: Making his second spot start, Conor Grammes set a season-high with 3.0 IP on Saturday night while also fanning four Midland Batters. In his two starts this year for Amarillo, Grammes has worked a total of 5.0 IP with just one run coming against him on five hits. He has also struck out nine without a walk in his two spot starts for the Sod Poodles. His outing on Saturday night lowered his season-ERA to 2.84 over 25.1 IP. He also now wields a 12.5 K/9 rate through 18 total appearances.

WHERE THERE IS A WILL: Left-hander Will Mabrey earned his first Double-A win after spinning two hitless innings in relief of Grammes on Saturday. In his first professional season, Mabrey now improves to 4-1 on the year and sports a 3.00 ERA through his first 32 games as a pro. Over 48.0 IP combined between Low-A Visalia, High-A Hillsboro, and now Amarillo, the southpaw has allowed just 38 hits and has 51 strikeouts to just 15 walks.