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Walston Spins Gem, Offense Plates 11 In Route

Amarillo 1.0 GB Of Playoff Spot With 22 Games Left
(John Moore)
August 25, 2022

Corpus Christi, Texas - Blake Walston put it in cruise control early as the Arizona Diamondbacks' second-rated pitching prospect spun his second quality start in his last four outings. The bats provided 11 runs in support on the night as Amarillo took game two in Corpus Christi 11-3. Jorge Barrosa

Corpus Christi, Texas - Blake Walston put it in cruise control early as the Arizona Diamondbacks' second-rated pitching prospect spun his second quality start in his last four outings. The bats provided 11 runs in support on the night as Amarillo took game two in Corpus Christi 11-3.

Jorge Barrosa started the game with a leadoff double, later scoring as the Sod Poodles provided Walston a one-run lead before he even took the bump. The lefty worked around a pair of singles in the bottom of the second inning to keep the Hooks from scoring.

Nick Dalesandro used his speed in the top of the fourth inning to reach base. The Soddies catcher reached on a one-out bunt single ahead of Tim Tawa. The Arizona Diamondbacks' No. 24 rated prospect homered for the second straight night and just his fourth since a bump to Double-A in late June. Tawa blasted the first pitch of his at-bat over the left field fence.

The offense went back to work in the next half inning, sending eight batters to the plate in a three-run frame. Gary Mattis Jr. started the inning by reaching on a hard-hit ball that was ruled an error after it ate up the Hooks' third baseman. Fellow Sod Poodles newbie Jordan Lawlar picked up his second hit of the game to move Mattis to second base. With two outs, Amarillo mounted a rally. A two-out walk prompted a pitching change and loaded the bases for Dalesandro. A single and fielding error cleared the bases, and pushed Dalseandro to second base as Amarillo built a six-run lead. Two more walks re-loaded the bases but no more runs would come across in the inning.

Walston dealt another 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the fifth. The Arizona Diamondbacks No. 5 rated pitching prospect allowed just three hits over his first five innings with five strikeouts.

Mattis Jr. made his way around the bases once again in the top of the sixth. After reaching for the second straight at-bat, he swiped second base. A wild pitch allowed him to move to third and he would score thanks to a balk to make it 7-0.

The sixth and final inning for Walston was extended after picking up two quick outs including his sixth punch out of the game. A double and walk put two aboard. Walston balked, moving both into scoring position. A fly out to shallow left field ended the Hooks' threat to score their first runs of the game and secured Walston's second Double-A scoreless start and first since June 7 against Frisco. It also gave Walston his third straight win on the mound as he moved to 6-3 on the year.

Another two-out rally helped score the final four Amarillo runs of the night. Mattis Jr. notched his second Double-A hit. Barrosa followed him on base with his second hit of the night before Lawlar loaded the bases after reaching on the third Hooks error of the game. Leandro Cedeño launched a bases-clearing double off the base of the wall in center field.

A Kenny Hernandez and Justin Lewis tandem was used to relieve Walston. Hernandez allowed a base runner in his first inning of work but was helped by a double play to face the minimum in the 7th. The Hooks finally crossed the plate this series, using four hits and one Amarillo error to score three runs over their final two plate appearances of the night.

The Sod Poodles have won the first two games of this six-game set to end the current 12-game road trip. RHP Ross Carver (1-2, 9.37) gets the ball on Thursday and is coming off his last start where he earned his first Double-A win and quality start. He went 6.0 IP and allowed just one run over six hits in Midland last Friday night. With losses by Midland and Frisco on Wednesday night, the Sod Poodles are now just 1.0 GB of Midland and tied for second with Frisco, who the Sod Poodles host next week at HODGETOWN.


Blake Ain't No Fake: Blake Walston proved once again why he entered the 2022 season as the Arizona Diamondbacks' top-rated pitching prospect. The 21-year-old earned his sixth Double-A win, and third straight after firing another dominant performance. Dating back to July 23, his first start after allowing a career-high 10 earned runs on 12 hits, the southpaw has been dominant. Over his last six starts, Walston is 4-0 with a 2.16 ERA over 33.1 IP. He has struck out 44 to just 22 hits allowed and eight earned runs in this span. During this excellent stretch, Walston is tied for the Double-A lead in strikeouts, has the third-best opponent BAA (.183), is tied for the second most wins in Double-A, and has the fourth-best ERA.

Out In Front: With his RBI groundout in the top of the first inning and bases-clearing double in the top of the eighth inning, Leandro Cedeño broke his tie with Arkansas' Scheiner for the most RBI in the Texas League this season. Cedeño now has 86 RBI on the year in 99 games played and is hitting .310, which is sixth best in the league. He also ranks in the top 10 in the League in home runs (T-1st, 27), total bases (1st, 219), hits (2nd, 121), SLG (3rd, .562), runs scored (3rd, 78), XBH (4th, 44), and OPS (4th, .934).

The Newbies: SS Jordan Lawlar and INF/OF Garry Mattis Jr. pitched in with a pair of hits on Wednesday night. Lawlar went 2-for-5 with two runs scored. The D-backs' No. 3 rated prospect has collected three hits during his first two games in Double-A after a base hit last night. Mattis Jr. saw his first game action since being added from Hillsboro on August 20. He went 2-for-4, scoring three times after reaching on an error.

Barrosa Bases: OF Jorge Barrosa went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and started the game with a leadoff double, his 23rd double in a Soddies uniform this year. He ranks second on the team with 23 doubles in 2022.

TTIIMMMMYYYY: Tim Tawa launched a home run for the second straight game, becoming the 7th Sod Poodle to go yard in consecutive games this season and the 10th total time it's happened in 2022. It was his fourth Double-A homer and the 18th of his professional career. He had back-to-back games with a long ball earlier this year with Hillsboro on April 22-23.

Blaze Is Catching Fire: Since returning from injury earlier this month, SS Blaze Alexander has collected hits in 9-of-11 games played with a pair of home runs and 12 RBI in 44 at-bats. The D-backs' No. 15 rated prospect is now hitting .296 in 68 games played with 12 home runs, 13 doubles, and two triples, and has 38 RBI in 2022 with Amarillo.

All Good Things: The Hooks' run in the bottom of the 8th inning brought an end to a 25.2 IP streak of scoreless baseball by the Amarillo pitching staff dating back to the series finale in Midland on Sunday.