Springdale, Ark – The Amarillo Sod Poodles took a game advantage in their six-game series against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals after storming in front with a five-run ninth inning on Thursday night. Similar to how Wednesday's game went, the two teams matched runs until the Sod Poodles' offense proved too
Springdale, Ark – The Amarillo Sod Poodles took a game advantage in their six-game series against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals after storming in front with a five-run ninth inning on Thursday night. Similar to how Wednesday's game went, the two teams matched runs until the Sod Poodles' offense proved too much for the Naturals' bullpen.
Neither team's offense was able to muster any help for their starting pitcher until the bottom of the third inning. NW Arkansas broke through with a solo home run off Sod Poodles' starter Bryce Jarvis.
However, Amarillo answered right back, tying the game in the top of the fourth. Eduardo Diaz started the inning with a single into center field before advancing to second base on a called balk by left-hander Angel Zerpa who was on the mound for the Naturals. Fellow Sod Poodles outfielder Dominic Fletcher scored Diaz with his team and D-backs' minor-league leading 18th RBI of the year.
The seesaw battle continued over the next couple of half innings until the Naturals took a two-run lead in the bottom of the fifth. Jarvis issued a leadoff single before a stolen base, walk, and sac bunt moved two runners into scoring position. A double down the right-field line scored both Naturals on base and brought an end to Jarvis' night after 4.2 IP. The D-backs' No. 7 rated prospect struggled with his command, walking four batters in the game but still struck out five helping him surpass 100 career strikeouts for his professional career.
Right-hander Justin Lewis replaced Jarvis on the bump and pitched his way out of the fifth in just five pitches, inducing a shallow fly ball to Corbin Carroll who was roaming center field.
For the second time, Diaz sparked the Sod Poodles offense with a single before stealing second base to place himself in scoring position with one out. A double scored Diaz easily, cutting the lead to one run and it would stay that way for at least another half-inning with the tying run being thrown out a home to keep it 4-3 in favor of NW Arkansas. Sod Poodles' third baseman Ti'Quan Forbes didn't need much time to tie the game, hitting his second home run of the season to lead off the seventh.
Entering the game, the Sod Poodles bullpen had the highest ERA of all 120-minor league teams with an 8.67 ERA over their 81.0 IP. Lewis pitched a scoreless inning and a third before turning the ball over to right-hander Jeff Bain who tossed a scoreless seventh and passed the ball to D-backs' No. 28 rated prospect, Keegan Curtis. The right-hander spent limited time with Amarillo in 2021 before being promoted to Triple-A Reno following his trade from the Yankees organization in early July 2021. He pitched a three-up, three-down bottom of the eighth to keep the score deadlocked at 4-4 heading to the top of the ninth
The Soddies saw the leadoff man reach base via a single into center field. A perfectly executed hit and run gave the Sod Poodles runners on the corners. A walk, loading the bases ahead of Juan Centeno, who entered the game tied for the team lead with four home runs. The Puerto Rico native doubled, scoring the first two runs of the ninth, and broke the tie for good. The bases would get re-loaded for Diaz who notched his second bases-loaded triple of the season and capped a five-run ninth inning to help propel the Soddies in front 9-4.
Blake Rogers pitched the ninth, striking out the side while also allowing one run to score, the only run the Amarillo bullpen allowed over the final 4.1 IP Thursday night.
Amarillo and NW Arkansas will head to the weekend of their six-game series with the Soddies holding a one-game advantage over the defending Double-A Central Champions. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 7:05 PM and can be watched on MiLB.TV or listened to on the Sod Poodles Radio Network on News Talk 940 AM. Chris and Stefan Caray will be calling all of the action from Arvest Ballpark with the pre-game show set to begin at 6:45 PM.
EdWardo Diaz: The Sod Poodles outfielder finished the night 3-for-5 with the 3-RBI triple in the ninth inning to push the Sod Poodles in front by an insurmountable margin. Diaz also scored two runs on Thursday night. It was not only his second triple of the year, a hitting category he is now in sole possession of among Sod Poodles players, but his second triple with the bases loaded.
FBI: D-backs' No. 19 rated prospect, OF Dominic Fletcher, notched his 18th RBI of the year to plate the first run of the game on Thursday night. For the former Arkansas Razorback, his 18 RBI are tied for the most among all D-backs' minor leaguers only with a guy he patrolled the outfield with a season ago. Stone Garrett (Reno) had a 3-for-4 day at the plate today including two home runs and three RBI to tie Fletcher atop the organizational leaders.
Ti'Quan SCOREbes....AGAIN : Sod Poodles' third baseman Ti'Quan Forbes crossed the plate three times on Thursday, one night after doing the exact same thing for the Sod Poodles. It's now the sixth time in his 703 game Minor League Career - and third in 16 games played this season - he has scored three runs in a single game. Forbes also scored three times last Tuesday in the 19-10 win over the San Antonio Missions. Forbes went 3-for-3 at the dish Thursday night with the home run and a walk. For the series, Forbes is now hitting 7-for-11 with six runs scored, a home run, two RBI, a double, and two walks.
Juan CentenOH Yeah!: The Amarillo catcher helped plate the go-ahead runs after his ninth-inning double, scoring Nick Dalesandro and Ti'Quan Forbes. It was the lone hit of the ballgame for Centeno who is hitting .314 and is tied for the second-most RBI on the team with Leandro Cedeño.
What A Relief: The foursome of Justin Lewis, Jeff Bain, Keegan Curtis, and Blake Rogers combined to toss 4.1 IP of scoreless baseball for the Sod Poodles on Thursday night. The first three (Lewis, Bain, and Curtis) had hitless appearances. Rogers, who was tied for first among all minor leaguers with 10 saves from August 1 until the end of the Double-A season last year, allowed the only two hits and run of the game for the Soddies bullpen. Rogers entered the game in a non-save situation and still struck out the side. Thursday marked just the third nine-inning game the bullpen allowed one or fewer runs. The last time came on April 21 when three of the relievers who pitched tonight (Lewis, Curtis, Rogers), also pitched 4.1 IP scoreless against San Antonio.
Blazing Hot: INF Blaze Alexander is the D-backs' No. 25 rated prospect and now has a seven-game hit streak for the Sod Poodles after his double in the top of the fifth. He has hit safely in all seven games he has played this year after missing some time with an ankle injury he suffered in the opening series of the year. On the season, Blaze is hitting .400 (10-for-25) with four doubles, two home runs, and six RBI. He has also drawn four walks and carries an OPS of 1.316.