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Sod Poodles Take Game One In Midland

Five-Run Fifth Too Much For Midland to Overcome
(John Moore)
June 6, 2023

Amarillo, Texas (June 6, 2023) – No hit through five innings, Amarillo's offense turned it on thanks to a five-run fifth frame to take game one in Midland 8-4. Luke Albright stifled the RockHounds through six quality innings and earned his fourth win of the season. With Albright on the

Amarillo, Texas (June 6, 2023) – No hit through five innings, Amarillo's offense turned it on thanks to a five-run fifth frame to take game one in Midland 8-4. Luke Albright stifled the RockHounds through six quality innings and earned his fourth win of the season.

With Albright on the mound, Midland used three hits including a two-run double to take a 2-0 lead after the first inning came to an end. After mustering just one baserunner through their first chances at the plate, the first two Amarillo batters in the top of the third were plunked to bring the top of the Sod Poodles order back to the plate. The RockHounds escaped the frame with their two-run lead intact as the Sod Poodles left a pair of runners stranded.

Albright picked up his second strikeout to help retire Midland in order for the first time in the first three innings. The Sod Poodles suffered the same fate in the top of the fourth as the game remained 2-0 in favor of the RockHounds. The Sod Poodles right-hander once again worked a quick inning, striking out two more RockHounds in the bottom of the fourth to help retire the seventh straight Midland hitter.

Midland maintained their two-run cushion as the three Sod Poodles who faced Joey Estes were sent back in order in the top of the fifth. A leadoff single in the bottom of the inning was the first Midland hit since the bottom of the first. It would be the only baserunner Albright would allow as a strikeout, lineout, and groundout brought an end to the fifth with Amarillo still in search of their first hit of the game.

An error helped put Ryan Bliss aboard to start Amarillo's sixth go-round at the plate. After fouling a pitch off his foot and breaking his bat in the process, a new piece of lumber for Jordan Lawlar helped score the first hit - and run - of the game for the Sod Poodles. The D-backs' no.1 rated prospect roped a ball to the left-center gap to score Bliss with a double. A.J. Vukovich followed suit, hitting the second consecutive RBI double to tie the game. Another pair of RBI doubles - the third and fourth of the inning - along with a flair shot by Tim Tawa capped a five-run inning giving Amarillo a 5-2 lead.

Albright worked around a one-out single to send the Sod Poodles right back to the plate looking to build off the big sixth inning. Bliss singled to begin the inning and was followed on base by Lawlar who dropped a bunt down the third base side for his second hit in as many innings. Seth Beer notched Amarillo's third hit of the inning, a RBI single to score Bliss and extend the Sod Poodles' lead to 6-2.

Right-hander Austin Pope replaced Albright on the Hill for the bottom of the seventh. He fanned two, retiring the RockHounds in order in his first inning of work.

Each of the first three Amarillo batters in the top of the eighth reached base, going walk, single, walk to do so, and loaded the bases for Bliss. A double play limited the potential damage but did add the seventh run of the game as Caleb Roberts was able to score on the play. Pope worked his second clean frame out of the Amarillo bullpen and kept two RockHounds stranded in scoring position.

Vukovich doubled to lead off the top of the ninth and eventually came around to score on a wild pitch to make it an 8-2 game.

In a non-save situation, Mitchell Stumpo came out for the bottom of the ninth inning. The righty got a flyout and strikeout before issuing a couple of two-out walks. A single scored the third Midland run of the game and brought on Kyle Backhus from the bullpen. A RBI double made it 8-4 prior to the game coming to an end as Beer fielded a high chopper and softly tossed it to Backhus covering the first base bag.

Game two of the Oil Pan Cup will resume from Midland on Wednesday. First pitch from Momentum Bank Ballpark is slated for 6:30 p.m. RHP Jamison Hill (0-4, 5.94 ERA) will get the ball for Amarillo.


GOOD NIGHT, ALBRIGHT: Sod Poodles right-hander Luke Albright tossed his second quality start in his last three outings, going 6.0 IP with two earned runs to earn his fourth win of the season. Albright picked up the first quality start of the season by a Sod Poodle, doing so on May 25th in San Antonio. He now is the first Sod Poodle to have two quality starts after his start on Tuesday. His 58 strikeouts on the year pace all Amarillo starters as do his 48.1 IP through 11 starts in 2023. His strikeouts & IP rank 2nd and 4th respectively in the D-backs' farm system and only Blake Walston (5) has more wins in the organization this year.

DOUBLE THE FUN: After being held hitless through the first five innings, Amarillo broke through thanks to four RBI Doubles in the top of the sixth inning. Jordan Lawalr roped the first and A.J. Vukovich followed suit right behind Lawalr. Adrian Del Castillo and Caleb Roberts picked up the other two in the sixth inning. Vukovich added his second double of the game in the top of the ninth inning. All five extra-base hits for Amarillo on Tuesday were doubles, the second time Amarillo has muscled five doubles in a game this season. They last did so back on April 12 vs. Corpus Christi.

HE'S MORE THAN MIDWEST NICE:After going 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles, two runs scored, and RBI, A.J. Vukovich raised his AVG to .262 on the season. A former fourth-round pick out of East Troy High School in Wisconsin, Vukovich extended his current hitting streak to seven games, tied for the best active streak on the team. Since the start of the Springfield series last week, Vukovich is hitting .357 (10-for-28) with four doubles, a triple, three home runs, 10 RBI, and nine runs scored. His 31 RBI this season are tops on the club and fifth-most in the D-backs farm system.

TIMMY TWO HITS: Tim Tawa had a two-hit night, his 11th multi-hit game this season. He is tied with A.J. Vukovich for the longest active hit streak on the team, hitting safely in each of his last seven games as well. During his stretch, the former Stanford Cardinal is hitting .385 (10-for-26) with a double, four homers, and eight RBI. Three of his 11 total multi-hit games have come in the last seven games during this stretch.

OIL PAN CUPdate: The 24-game-long season series between the two teams currently sits at 4-3 in favor of the RockHounds in 2023. Through the first three seasons, Amarillo has won the Oil Pan Cup twice (2019, 2022) with Midland taking home the Cup in 2021.