WICHITA, Kansas – After being held scoreless on just two hits a night ago, the Sod Poodles jumped out to a big lead early Thursday night at Riverfront Stadium. However, Amarillo was unable to fend off a feisty Wind Surge team that did not cower when faced with a 6-run
WICHITA, Kansas – After being held scoreless on just two hits a night ago, the Sod Poodles jumped out to a big lead early Thursday night at Riverfront Stadium. However, Amarillo was unable to fend off a feisty Wind Surge team that did not cower when faced with a 6-run deficit as they surged all the way back to beat the Sod Poodles 9-8.
Soddies catcher Jose Herrera belted a three-run homer in the top of the first inning to put Amarillo ahead early. Another four runs on three hits came across in the top of the third, highlighted by Matt Lipka's two-RBI single. Lipka, who was signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks to a minor league contract just 10 days ago collected his first hit and RBIs in a Sod Poodles uniform.
Right-hander Jeff Bain made his second start of the season after tossing 4.2 IP on the Soddies win on May 8 at Tulsa. Bain surrendered a run on a pair of hits in the first inning tonight before retiring Wichita in order in the second frame. With two quick outs in the bottom of the third and a six run lead, the Soddies appeared to be in cruise control early. Then, an untimely errant fastball ran too far inside, hitting Gilberto Celestino on the wrist and placing runners on first and second. A single followed by a three-run homer breathed new life into Wichita who now found themselves down just two at 7-5.
A solo home run with two outs the following inning pulled the Wind Surge within a run and ended the night for Bain who finished with six earned runs allowed on six hits in 3.2 IP.
Brandyn Sittinger was the first man out of the bullpen for Amarillo on Thursday night. Sittinger gave up a hit to the first batter he saw just to see his battery mate throw out the runner trying to swipe second as the game remained 7-6 in favor of Amarillo.
Sittinger was replaced by Tyler Holton who was slated to be the starter for tonight's game when the series began. Holton was solid early, retiring the first six batters he faced in order with a pair of strikeouts.
Things began to unravel for the Sod Poodles in the bottom of the eighth. Sherman Johnson led off the inning with a double to the left-center field gap. Johnson entered the game in the third inning for Celestino who was forced to leave the game after being hit on the wrist by Bain. An ensuing walk ended Holton's outing who was still on the hook for both runners on base.
Mack Lemieux gave up a bunt single which loaded the bases full of Wind Surge with no outs in the inning. Back-to-back walks from Lemieux scored the tying and go-ahead runs for Wichita.
The Wind Surge bullpen was strong in the middle portion of the game, holding the Sod Poodles hitless over four innings when they needed it the most.
Alek Thomas tried to shift the momentum back in Amarillo's favor with a leadoff triple to start the ninth and scored on a ground ball two batters later. Ryder Jones singled with two outs to put the tying run aboard before a pop fly to shallow left field ended the Sod Poodles late push and gave Wichita the win.
Game four of the series between these two clubs continues tomorrow night with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM at Riverfront Stadium. Pre-game coverage with Sam Levitt will begin on NewsTalk 940 AM, the Sod Poodles Radio Network, at 6:45 PM.
New High Score: The 17 combined runs tonight are the most in a Sod Poodles game so far in 2021. The previous high was set on 5/7 when Amarillo and Tulsa combined for 15 runs in that game.
Crooked Numbers: The Sod Poodles posted multiple-run innings in the same game for the first time in 2021. Jose Herrera started the scoring early with his first home run of the season, a three-run blast into the bullpen in right-center field in the first inning. Amarillo also plated four runs in the third inning to build an early 7-1 lead.
Walkin' On Sunshine: The Soddies stayed patient at the plate in tonight's outing and were rewarded with eight walks. It is the most walks by Sod Poodles batters this season. They drew five walks twice during the Tulsa series on 5/6 & 5/7. Geraldo Perdomo, who finished 2019 with the 2nd most walks among all D-backs' minor leaguers with 70, drew a pair of walks this evening along with Dominic Fletcher.
Those Your RBIs? All Of Em?: Jose Herrera tied a Sod Poodles single-game high with his 4-RBI performance in tonight's loss. Herrera used a three-run homer much like Stone Garrett did when he drove in four runs for the Soddies on May 6 @ Tulsa.
Ebb & Flow: Amarillo jumped out to an early 7-1 after their half of the third inning just to see Wichita claw back within two after their at-bats in the home half. It's the second time this season that the Sod Poodles have held a 5+ run lead after three innings just to see their opponent tie the game in the later innings.
Trivial: Alek Thomas and Jose Herrera's names will forever be linked in Wichita baseball history. Thomas recorded the very first hit in Riverfront Stadium history with his third inning single into right field in game one. Tonight, Herrera's first inning homer became the first home run in ballpark history.
Run, Don't Walk: Soddies pitchers did not allow a walk, just the one HBP through the first seven innings of the game. Unfortunately, they did issue three free passes in the eighth inning, allowing the tying and winning runs to score for Wichita. Amarillo has now issued 34 walks through the first nine games of the season.
Tomorrow's Preview: The Sod Poodles and Wind Surge will continue their six-game series with game four tomorrow night. D-backs' No. 29 ranked prospect Humberto Mejia is slated to make his third start of the season for the Sod Poodles. Mejia tossed six innings in his last outing on 5/9 @ Tulsa while racking up nine strikeouts.
Upcoming Series: Following this week's series with Wichita, the Soddies will head back to Amarillo for their home opener on May 18 at HODGETOWN against Midland.