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Sod Poodles Even Series in Midland

Tawa Collects Three Hits, De Los Santos Provides Late Home Run
(John Moore)
April 13, 2024

MIDLAND, Texas (April 12, 2024) – Multiple hit efforts by four Amarillo batters did a majority of the work as the Soddies took down the Midland RockHounds 7-6 to even the series on Friday night. Tim Tawa and Deyvison De Los Santos paced the lineup, collecting three hits a piece.

MIDLAND, Texas (April 12, 2024) – Multiple hit efforts by four Amarillo batters did a majority of the work as the Soddies took down the Midland RockHounds 7-6 to even the series on Friday night. Tim Tawa and Deyvison De Los Santos paced the lineup, collecting three hits a piece. The latter delivered the go-ahead, game-winning home run in the top of the seventh inning for Amarillo.

Midland drew first blood, something Amarillo has seen their opponent do in five of the first seven games to start the year. A leadoff double was quickly followed by a home run as the RockHounds jumped in front by a pair of runs. The Sod Poodles and RockHounds then began trading blows.

Amarillo sequenced singles and outs in the top of the second inning with Jesus Valdez driving in Amarillo's first run with a two-out single to score Caleb Roberts. With Midland matching Amarillo's run in the second, three singles in the top of the third inning aided in driving in two more runs to tie things up at 3-3.

Sod Poodles starter Luke Albright minimized damage in the bottom of the third when he allowed just one run to come across in a one-out bases-loaded situation.

After going down in order in the fourth, Amarillo put themselves ahead for the first time in the fifth. De Los Santos singled and motored around the bases to score the tying run after Roberts' second single of the night was compounded by a fielding error in right field that allowed him to end up on third base. A.J. Vukovich's sacrifice fly was enough for the go-ahead run to come across and a 5-4 Sod Poodles lead.

As they did in each of the previous two half innings Amarillo scored, the RockHounds answered with a run of their own to bring things back to even. Following a scoreless sixth for both sides, the Sod Poodles gained the lead they would not relinquish.

Tawa's third hit of the night sent De Los Santos to the plate to face Jack Cushing. The D-backs no. 14-rated prospect faced Cushing six times in 2023 with the pitcher getting the better of the 20-year-old infield prospect. De Los Santos was just 1-for-6 off Cushing with a single and a pair of strikeouts a season ago. De Los Santos got the better of Cushing in their first matchup this year, taking a 2-0 fastball over the left-center field wall for his second home run of the year and a 7-5 Amarillo advantage on Friday night.

Now holding a two-run cushion, Will Mabrey took over on the mound for Amarillo after Jake Rice and John Matthews combined for 2.1 IP with a couple of hits and an unearned run. The left-hander struck out two of the four batters he faced in a clean inning before turning things over to Zach Barnes. The right-hander saw each of the first two batters he faced single with Amarillo's third error of the game helping to put RockHounds on the corners. The error combined with a wild pitch brought Midland within a run of Amarillo's lead. With the potential tying run standing in scoring position, Barnes earned consecutive outs before Sod Poodles Manager Tim Bogar made the call to his closer.

Christian Montes De Oca got Oakland's no. 3-rated prospect Denzel Clarke to strike out and end the threat in the eighth. In the bottom of the ninth, De Oca made quick work of the three batters he faced, punctuating the win and his second save with another strikeout.

Even at two games a piece, the Sod Poodles have a chance to take control of the series on Saturday night. RHP Yilber Diaz (0-1, 8.31 ERA), Arizona's no. 16-rated prospect, will share the mound with Oakland's no. 23-rated prospect, Ryan Cusick (0-0, 0.00 ERA). First pitch from Momentum Bank Ballpark is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.


TAWABUNGA: Tim Tawa quickly resumed his role as a force in the middle of the Sod Poodles lineup. Batting in the three-hole, Tawa finished the night 3-for-5 with a double and a run scored. Dating back to the start of the 2023 season, Tawa now has 34 multi-hit games including seven three-hit performances after Friday night. Tawa currently ranks second all-time in hits by a Sod Poodle, needing just five more to pass Juan Centeno (162) for the most hits in franchise history. The former Stanford Cardinal is also second all-time in XBH, needing just two to pass Eduardo Diaz (58). He already ranks first in total bases (270), walks (80), and runs scored (105). His 27 career home runs are third-most, sitting behind current teammate A.J. Vukovich (28) and three away from tying Leandro Cedeño for the most by a Soddie.

A WEEK'S WORTH OF HITS: Deyvison De Los Santos extended his hitting streak to seven games after going 3-for-5 with the game-winning two-run home run and a pair of runs scored. The D-backs no. 14-rated prospect is off to a .400 start (12-for-30) with two homers, two doubles, five RBI, and seven runs scored. He is tied with Arkansas' Cole Young and Tulsa's Dalton Rushing for the longest active hitting streak in the Texas League. Over his last 63 games since July 14, 2023, he is hitting .331 (83-for-260) with 53 runs scored, 17 doubles, three triples, 16 home runs, and 45 RBI.

RUN, ROBERTS, RUN: Caleb Roberts finished Friday's game 2-for-4 with three runs scored and a RBI. His three runs matched his Double-A single-game high for his career and joined Wilderd Patiño and Deyvison De Los Santos as the third player to cross the plate three times in a game for Amarillo in 2024.

CALL ME MABREY: Amarillo left-hander Will Mabrey has yet to allow a hit in any of his three appearances so far out of the bullpen. His third straight game without a hit surrendered is tied for the most in the Texas League along with Midland's Chase Cohen. For the season, the former Tennessee Volunteer has worked 3.1 IP and has five strikeouts.

DON'T POKE THE BEAR: Christian Montes De Oca converted on his second save opportunity of the season and now has 12 for his Sod Poodles career (incl. Postseason). His 11 regular season saves are two shy of tying Kyle Backhus for the third most saves by an Amarillo player. For his career in the regular season, the right-hander is now 24-for-28 on save opportunities.

PEN PALS: The Amarillo bullpen combined to toss five innings in relief of Luke Albright without an earned run allowed on Friday night. The group allowed just four hits and added seven strikeouts en route to the win.