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Three Homers Power Sod Poodles Past Springfield

(John Moore)
August 12, 2022

Amarillo, Texas - The Sod Poodles picked up their first win of the series against the Springfield Cardinals on Thursday night. A trio of left-handers and three big flys proved a recipe for success in a 6-2 win. After not having a lead in either of the first two games

Amarillo, Texas - The Sod Poodles picked up their first win of the series against the Springfield Cardinals on Thursday night. A trio of left-handers and three big flys proved a recipe for success in a 6-2 win.

After not having a lead in either of the first two games of the series, Leandro Cedeño propelled the Sod Poodles to a lead in the bottom of the first inning. The power-hitting Venezuela native mashed a second-pitch fastball off the batter's eye in straight away center field.

Working with that lead, left-hander Blake Walston ended the top of the second inning with his third strikeout of the night. The Arizona Diamondbacks No. 3 rated prospect added two more strikeouts to his linescore in the top of the third inning, leaving a second Cardinal stranded after a two-out walk.

Still leading by a run, Walston collected two more strikeouts in his next two innings of work still without a hit surrendered against him. Amarillo picked up a hit in the third and fourth inning but failed to build some distance in the runs category.

The Cardinals finally got to Walston in the top of the 5th. A leadoff walk and double off the bat of Chandler Redmond put two runners in scoring position. A two-RBI double hugging the right-field line gave Springfield their first lead of the night. Walston responded by retiring the next three he faced, notching his seventh strikeout of the night in the process.

With one out in the bottom of the inning, Andy Yerzy knotted things up with his ninth homer of the year. Two batters later, Drew Stankiewicz hit his 12th long-ball in 2022, retaking a one-run advantage for Amarillo.

A two-out walk in the top of the sixth brought an end to Walston's evening. The southpaw finished his night with 5.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 7 K, and 4 BB. He was replaced by fellow lefty hurler Mack Lemieux who proceeded to strike out the only batter he would face in the frame.

Three straight Sod Poodles' hits including a ball roped under the glove of the Cardinals center fielder sent Eduardo Diaz trying to dash around all the bases. Diaz was caught at home by a couple of feet but still allowed the two runners ahead of him to score as Amarillo built a three-run lead heading to the seventh.

Lemieux hurled a scoreless seventh, working around a one-out single. The Sod Poodles had a pair of baserunners of their own reach in the bottom half of the inning but both were also left stranded.

The third straight lefty pitcher took the mound for Amarillo when Kyle Backhus made his HODGETOWN debut after joining the club last week in Frisco. The New Waverly, Texas native walked the first batter he faced before settling in and retiring the next three in a row with a punchout to end the top half of the frame.

Amarillo added an insurance run in the 8th. Diaz drew a walk and was moved to third base on Blaze Alexander's first hit since returning to Double-A after a stint on the IL. A wild pitch scored Diaz and gave the Soddies a four-run cushion for Backhus who went back to the mound for the ninth.

A 1-2-3 top of the ninth emphasized by back-to-back punchouts to secure the Sod Poodles' win is how the game came to a close.

With the first win of the series under their belts, the Sod Poodles will look to even the series on Friday night. RHP Ross Carver (0-2, 17.05 ERA) will make his third Double-A Start and second at HODGETOWN across from RHP Michael McGreevy (5-3, 4.83 ERA) for Springfield. Fans in attendance will be treated to Friday Night Fireworks presented by RAM Hotels. First pitch is set for 7:05 PM with gates opening at 6:00. Chris and Stefan Caray have the call on The Sod Poodles Radio Network and News Talk 940 and on MiLB.TV.


Bomb City Bombers: Half of the team's runs tonight came via the long ball. Leandro Cedeño added to his incredible season with his 23rd tater of the year. He is now tied for the second most homers in the Texas League and trails Tulsa's Ryan Ward who has 27. Andy Yerzy tagged the ninth homer of his 2022 campaign while Drew Stankiewicz added to his power outburst this season with his 12th. The Sod Poodles have now hit 138 home runs in 105 games. The 2021 Sod Poodles set the franchise record with 160 home runs in 120 games. The team's 138 home runs currently rank third in the Texas League behind Tulsa (158) and Springfield (143) who were vaulted in front of Amarillo with their eight home run outburst on Wednesday night.

Party On, Blake: Blake Walston picked up his fourth win of the year improving to 4-3 on the season while dropping his ERA slightly to 6.13 after starting the game with a 6.38. The Arizona Diamondbacks' top-rated pitching prospect dazzled again despite not having complete command. His four walks tied his season-high but allowed just two runs to come across after not allowing a hit in his first four innings of work. In four starts since July 13 where he allowed 10 runs on 12 hits in San Antonio, Walston is 2-0 with a 2.49 ERA and has racked up 31 strikeouts over 21.2 IP. He's allowed just 14 hits and six earned runs in that span.

Daily Doubles: Eduardo Diaz added to his team lead in doubles, hitting his 24th of the season in the fourth inning. Diaz is now tied for 5th in the Texas League, eight off the lead set by Corpus Christi's Justin Dirden. He hit a career-best 26 doubles during the 2019 season in 116 games between Kane County and Visalia. With just 83 games played so far and 33 games remaining this season, Diaz is positioned to easily surpass that total and set a new career-high for doubles in a single season. Ivan Castillo set the franchise-high with 30 doubles during the 2019 Sod Poodles season.

Better In Pairs: Cedeño, Stankiewicz, and Diaz all pitched in with multi-hit nights accounting for six of the nine hits tonight for Amarillo. Cedeño finished 2-for-4 with a home run, RBI, and two runs scored. It was his team-best 33rd multi-hit night. Diaz finished 2-for-3 with a double, RBI, and run scored. It was his 28th multi-hit game in 2022. *Stankiewicz *went 2-for-3 with the home run which proved to be the game-winning run as his blast put the Soddies in front for good at 3-2 in the bottom of the 5th. It was Stank's 14th multi-hit game.

Mack & Back: Pitchers Mack Lemieux and Kyle Backhus each picked up decisions in the win. Lemieux earned his third hold since joining the squad on June 18. Since being added, Lemieux carries a 3.60 ERA in 14 games. Backhus earned his first Double-A save in his second appearance as a Sod Poodle. The Sam Houston State product has spun three scoreless innings without surrendering a hit and has four strikeouts and two walks.

300 On the Horizon: As the community gathering place,HODGETOWN has welcomed 298,916 fans through the gates so far in 54 games during the 2022 season. Amarillo currently has the highest home attendance of any Double-A team in the country. Since the gates opened in 2019, HODGETOWN has seen more than a million fans enjoy Soddies games in downtown Amarillo.