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 Amarillo Sod Poodles

Double the Games. Double the Wins

May 25, 2024 - Texas League (TL)
Amarillo Sod Poodles News Release

SPRINGDALE, Arkansas - Amarillo played two games on the day and won two games on the day. The first one was the continuance from yesterday's rainout. Fantastic hitting and stellar pitching highlighted one of the best days of the season for the Sod Poodles.

Game One

Four different Sod Poodles had multiple RBI games as they dominated Northwest Arkansas 14-4 in a game that started on Friday night and concluded Saturday afternoon.

Tim Tawa led the way with two hits, three walks, and five RBIs. Logan Warmoth had a perfect day at the plate, going 3-3 and adding three walks as well. Jancarlos Cintron contributed three hits and RBIs, and Dylan File pitched well before the weather delay ended his outing. Amarillo had early success off Kris Bubic, who is on a rehab assignment in Northwest Arkansas from the Royals, and built from there.

For the second night in a row, the Sod Poodles struck in the top of the first. This time, the score was 1-0 before an out was recorded. Tim Tawa led off the game with a walk and scored from first on a Jancarlos Cintron two-bagger. Cintron would later steal third base but was unable to score. Dylan File came into the game off of a stellar outing last time out and immediately got the first two batters to fly out. The However, the Soddies wouldn't leave the inning with the lead as the next two batters singled and tripled to tie the game heading into the second.

Amarillo continued their scoring ways in the second inning. Caleb Roberts lined a single into center field and then Wilderd Patino smoked a double, sending Roberts to third. Kevin Graham got an RBI groundout before Logan Warmoth started his day with a ringing double down the right-field line. Tim Tawa put an exclamation mark on the inning with his ninth home run of the year. It came of the two-run variety and it just snuck out into the left-field, bullpen. File took the mound in the second with a 5-1 lead. He stuck to his game, filling up the strike zone on his way to another scoreless inning.

A.J. Vukovich worked the count against Bubic to 2-2, but Bubic was taken out due to him hitting the 50-pitch mark, the predetermined pitch count that the Naturals were going to let Bubic throw. Vukovich finished his at-bat against the new pitcher, William Fleming, eventually grounding out. Roberts and Patino reached on two-out walks, but Graham was unable to plate them. File gave up a couple of one-out singles and allowed a run to come in on a sacrifice fly. That was all the Naturals could muster, and through three innings, the Soddies led 5-2.

Amarillo had three baserunners in the top of the fourth, including the second double of the night from Jancarlos Cintron, but were unable to push a run across because of a double play. File allowed the first two runners to reach on a walk and a single putting the tying run up to the plate. He then caught Diego Hernandez looking for his first strikeout of the game. He then got a popup and a walk to load the bases with two outs. He left all three runners on base when he punched out Peyton Wilson swinging.

With one out in the top of the fifth, a storm would delay the game until Saturday afternoon, but not before Ivan Melendez had some lightning of his own, crushing a 106 MPH leadoff homerun to left field. When the game resumed, the new Northwest Arkansas hurler, Parker Harm, loaded the bases on three walks, but Cintron couldn't cash in, as he lined out to center field. John Matthews started the new day as the Amarillo pitcher and tossed a scoreless frame with a strikeout and a walk.

Jesus Valdez came in to hit for Matt Beaty to start the sixth inning. He walked and Vukovich followed suit. A strikeout and two groundouts foiled the Soddies plans to add on to their lead in the inning. Matthews wasn't done as he took the hill for a second inning. He gave up a one-out double and a single back-to-back, but Joe Gray Jr. got thrown out at second base to keep the score at 6-2. Matthews cleaned up with a swinging strikeout to end the inning without any damage.

The Soddies couldn't get much going in the top of the 7th inning, but Logan Warmoth added to an already stellar game with his third hit. It was a line drive single to the left side. After a couple of strong innings turned in by Matthews, Will Mabrey came in looking to do more of the same. He got the first two batters out on a flyout and groundout respectively. He surrendered a couple of two out singles, one of them a slow-rolling infield hit. A third consecutive two-out hit drove in the third Northwest Arkansas run but that is all they would get as Mabrey set down the next batter on strikes.

Jake Brentz was the next reliever for the Naturals as he stared in to face Valdez. Valdez was able to reach via a walk and then Vukovich continued his great week in the Natural state with a single. Roberts got beaned by a pitch to load up the bases and Kevin Graham was able to move everyone up 90 feet on a walk, scoring the seventh Soddies run of the game. A passed ball scored Melendez, and then Warmoth walked to keep his day a perfect 3-3. A Tim Tawa walk would plate the ninth Sod Poodles run and marked the 12th walk issued by Naturals pitching. That marked an end to Brentz day, but not the end to Amarillo's scoring in the inning as Cintron welcomed Jacob Wallace to the game with a two-run single. He joined Tawa as the second Sod Poodle with a three RBI outing. Valdez, who led off the inning, grounded out, mercifully ending the inning. After sitting through the long Sod Poodles rally, Mabrey headed back out for another inning with an 11-3 lead. He saw three of the first four batters of the inning reach on two singles and a walk, scoring the fourth Naturals run. He bounced back catching the next two batters swinging.

Amarillo created more problems in the final inning, loading the bases with one out. Another out was recorded, but then Warmoth continued to be a pest at the plate. He saw double-digit pitches before taking his base-on-balls. Tawa decided a three-RBI game wasn't good enough, so he doubled down the line to make it a nickel's worth. The score was 14-4 going into the home half of the ninth. Conor Grammes pulled the duty to finish the game but walked the first batter. He needed just five more pitches to end the game, striking out the next batter on three pitches and getting a 6-4-3 double play on the second pitch of the next batter.

It took almost 24 hours, but Amarillo took a 3-1 series lead in a blowout victory, 14-4. The win gives them the opportunity to win their first series of the year if they can pull out a victory in either of the next two games. Their first chance will come in Saturday's nightcap, starting approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.

Game Two

The Soddies would conclude a long day of baseball with the fifth game of their series against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Amarillo sent out the D-backs 16th-rated prospect, Yilber Diaz, in an attempt to clinch their first series win of 2024. In a game slated for seven innings, Northwest Arkansas countered with the former Auburn Tiger, Mason Barnett.

The bats continued to stay hot in this one, jumping out to an early lead. Eight of the nine starters in the Amarillo lineup had a hit, led by A.J. Vukovich, who had three hits, a homer, and four RBI's. Yilber Diaz continued to be brilliant in six scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and striking out eight.

After a blowout win in the first game, the Soddies started quietly. They went down in order to kick off the game. Yilber Diaz wasted no time returning the favor, striking out the last batter of his 1-2-3 inning.

A.J. Vukovich remained red hot to start the second, leading off with a single and then coming around to score on a double by Caleb Roberts. Although Logan Warmoth would single later in the inning, keeping his immaculate day alive, Roberts was unable to score before the third out was made. Diaz picked up right where he left off, striking out the first two batters looking and then getting a flyout to center in what was a quick inning.

The Soddies scored three runs in the top of the third off of a Jancarlos Cintron walk, a Tim Tawa ground-rule double, and a three-run long ball off the bat of A.J. Vukovich. Roberts would add a double to the inning, but no more runs were scored and Diaz took the mound in the third with a 4-0 lead. Diaz allowed his first baserunner, a leadoff single by Tyler Tolbert, but didn't allow any further damage. Along the way, he struck out two more Naturals hitters, making it five through three innings.

For the third inning in a row, the Soddies were able to put numbers up on the scoreboard, this time they doubled their total. Four consecutive singles from Jesus Valdez, Kevin Graham, Jancarlos Cintron, and Tim Tawa made it a 6-0 game. The scorching Vukovich followed up with an RBI double, leaving him just a triple away from the cycle in the early goings. Roberts would plate the eighth Amarillo run on a sacrifice fly. The eleven hits and eight runs given up by Barnett are both career highs. The long top half of the inning didn't bother Diaz, as he got all three batters he faced out.

Anthony Simonelli came on in relief and was greeted with a first pitch, no-doubt, homerun from Kristian Robinson. The left-center field blast was his first of 2024. Warmoth then walked, but Simonelli settled in after that, retiring the next three. Diaz remained dominant, allowing a walk but nothing else.

For the first time since the first inning, the Soddies didn't score a run. Just like the first inning, they went down in order. Diaz allowed a leadoff base knock but was unhittable for the rest of the inning. He struck out the next three batters, all swinging, to run his total up to eight on the game.

With a 9-0 lead, the Soddies bats came up looking to score double-digit runs in both games on the day. That wouldn't happen, as three of the four Soddies that dug into the box were set down. Warmoth walked for the fifth time between both of today's affairs. Diaz was done after six and Dillon Larsen came in to try and preserve the shutout. He allowed a leadoff, bloop single up the middle. He got a broken-bat pop-out and watched another single spray into the outfield. The game ended on a double play, clinching the first series win of 2024 for Amarillo.

The Soddies finished off a dominant day with a 9-0 shutout victory over Northwest Arkansas. Amarillo outscored the Naturals 23-4 between the two games. After clinching their first series win, the Sod Poodles will look to win three games in a row for the first time this season when they conclude their six-game set with the Naturals at 6:05 P.M. Sunday night.


THREE PIECE: Amarillo had five players in total record multi-hit performances by the time game four of the series was complete on Saturday evening. Logan Warmoth and Jancarlos Cintron did the brunt of the damage, each finishing with three-hit games. For Warmoth, he finished 3-for-3 with a double, a pair of RBI, two runs scored, and three walks in the carry-over game. It was his first game action of the series and he delivered just the second three-hit game of his season. His first came back on April 20 against another North Division foe, the Springfield Cardinals. Warmoth wrapped up his split twin-bill by going 4-for-5 and drew five walks. Cintron finished game four 3-for-7 with two doubles and three RBI. His seven at-bats were the most ever by a Sod Poodle in any single game in team history. He had a three-hit game earlier in the season when he was in Reno, but this was his first 3+ hit game with Amarillo since game one of the Texas League South Division Championship series against San Antonio last September when he had four knocks. It was his fourth overall 3+ hit game in his 135 career Double-A games with the Sod Poodles. He ended games four & five a combined 4-for-10.

WALK THIS WAY: The Sod Poodles drew 14 walks in game four of the series that carried over into Saturday night. It was the most walks ever drawn by the Sod Poodles in a single game, passing the previous high of 12 which was set on June 30, 2023, at Corpus Christi. The previous single-game high in 2024 was just seven, which Amarillo had at Frisco back on April 23rd. Five different players had at least two walks in the game led by Logan Warmoth and Tim Tawa who each drew three free passes to set their single-game high for the season.

TIMMY TIME: Tim Tawa finished the two-game span by going 4-for-8 with a home run, two doubles, six RBI, three runs, and three walks. His five-RBI game four was his fourth career five-RBI game and first since July 9, 2023, on the road in Springfield. His home run put him back atop Amarillo's all-time home run leaderboard with 36. His two doubles between the two games gave him 35 for his career and moved him into a tie for the most ever along with Eduardo Diaz.

MIGHTY MELENDEZ: Right before the weather came on Friday night, Ivan Melendez launched his eighth home run of the season and the fourth in his last 10 games. The D-backs' no. 8-rated prospect is up to 20 for his Sod Poodles career in what was his 76th career game played in Double-A. He broke a two-way tie he was in with Jordan Lawlar and Caleb Roberts to become the seventh player in club history to hit 20+ home runs while wearing a Sod Poodles jersey.

NINE IS FINE: RHP John Matthews was the man on the bump when Friday's game resumed on Saturday night. The reliever earned the win after spinning two scoreless innings and moved to 2-0 on the year. His scoreless appearance gave him nine straight games without allowing an earned run dating back to April 19th. If you take away the blip that was his first appearance of the season where he allowed six earned on four hits, he has posted a 2-0 record with a 0.64 ERA over his last 12 games. He's allowed one earned run over his last 14.0 IP with that one run coming on April 16th vs. Springfield. After Will Mabrey saw his nine-game streak without an earned run allowed come to an end Saturday, Matthews' nine-game streak is the second-longest active streak on the team behind Mitchell Stumpo (11 G).

VUK NUKE: A.J. Vukovich had a big start to his weekend, finishing Saturday's regularly scheduled game by going 3-for-4 and came a triple-shy of the cycle with four RBI and two runs scored. He extended his current hit streak to seven games, matching the longest streak by an Amarillo player this year. Over his last seven games, the D-backs' no. 15-rated prospect is hitting .400 (10-for-25) with a homer, five doubles, five RBI, five walks, four runs, and six strikeouts. His third-inning home run was his fifth of the year and first since May 10th on the road in Corpus Christi. His four RBI on Saturday night extended his all-time RBI lead and gives him 129 for his Sod Poodles career and a four RBI cushion over Tim Tawa who got closer to Vukovich by adding six RBI between the two games.

KRIST-HIM ROBINSON: Kristian Robinson launched his first round-tripper of the season and his first since game three of the Texas League Championship series against Arkansas. After going the first 21 games of the season without an XBH, Robinson now has an extra-base hit in two of his last three games played and both have come this week against the Naturals.

YIL IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS: D-backs no. 16-rated prospect Yilber Diaz turned in his second consecutive quality start and his fourth in his last five starts. Diaz finished the seven-inning game by allowing just two hits over his six innings while adding eight more strikeouts to his season total in 6.0 IP while not allowing a run. He finished his ninth start of the year with at least eight strikeouts in seven of those appearances. The right-hander started the night Tied for first in the Texas League with his 62 strikeouts and was T-2nd in all Double-A and was T-6th in MiLB.

BIG DUBS: By taking games four and five of the series, the Sod Poodles have earned their first series win of the year and will head into the series finale on Sunday night with a 4-1 advantage in the series. It's the second-longest Amarillo has had to wait for their first six-game series win since the series switched to six games ahead of the 2021 season. Amarillo took two of the first three games to begin the year in Frisco last year but then waited until May 30-June 4 to take their series against the Springfield Cardinals.


Saturday, May 25, 2024, at NW Arkansas [KC]

Amarillo Sod Poodles (20-24) | NW Arkansas Naturals (20-22)

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