Amarillo, Texas (May 30, 2023) – The Amarillo Sod Poodles bested the Springfield Cardinals, 7-1, to secure game one at HODGETOWN on Tuesday night. Phenomenal outings from Amarillo's pitching staff held the Springfield Cardinals to just one run on three hits with the Soddies' bats pumping a five-run seventh inning
Amarillo, Texas (May 30, 2023) – The Amarillo Sod Poodles bested the Springfield Cardinals, 7-1, to secure game one at HODGETOWN on Tuesday night. Phenomenal outings from Amarillo's pitching staff held the Springfield Cardinals to just one run on three hits with the Soddies' bats pumping a five-run seventh inning to push the contest out of reach.
Amarillo starting pitcher Jeff Bain started strong and held Springfield scoreless while allowing one hit through the first three defensive frames. The Cardinals' lone knock was the only hit across both clubs until the Soddies muscled in front of Springfield in their third trip to the dish.
Tim Tawa earned the Sod Poodles' first hit in the form of a solo shot over the left field wall for his sixth long ball of the year and his second in as many games to grant Amarillo the lead.
Bain dealt a hitless fourth inning and came back out to pitch in the fifth. The right-hander let up just the second Cardinals hit in 4.1 innings and the runner made it onto third base after swiping second and advancing on a passed ball. A fly ball scored him in sacrifice fashion to knot the game up at 1-1.
The ball didn't stay in the Cardinals' court for long. Adrian Del Castillo sent a baseball into orbit in the next frame to give the Sod Poodles a one-run buffer over Springfield.
Jackson Goddard answered the call and relieved Bain of pitching duties in the top of the sixth. Amarillo's starting arm walked off the diamond after pumping 5.0 innings of two-hit, one-run ball while tying his season high for innings pitched.
Both teams were returned to the dugout in the order that they came in the sixth and Jackson Goddard took the mound once again in the seventh. He let up a lead-off single but retired three straight to bring the Amarillo bats back up in the home frame.
A.J. Vukovich earned the Sod Poodles third hit of the game with a double and Del Castillo earned his second RBI after mashing a two-bagger into center field to bring him home. A fielding error by the Cardinals granted Tawa first base and the Soddies another score to trigger a Springfield call to the bullpen.
In the next at-bat after the pitching change, Deyvison De Los Santos plated Tawa with the third double of the inning and Ryan Bliss secured his return home with an RBI single. Bliss swiped his club-best 15th bag and Jordan Lawlar scored him with yet another RBI double. The dust finally settled after that and Amarillo left the frame up 7-1.
Andrew Saalfrank was the next arm to toe the slab for the Sod Poodles and came out in relief of Goddard in the eighth. Goddard turned in 2.0 innings of relief while scattering one hit and punching out two batters.
Saalfrank pitched a shutout frame and Austin Pope came out to close in the ninth. Pope struck out two of the three batters he faced and locked down the win for the Sod Poodles in game one.
Amarillo returns to HODGETOWN tomorrow for game two of their six-game set versus the St. Louis Cardinals' Double-A affiliate. Luke Albright is set to deliver the first pitch for Amarillo at 7:05 p.m.
PAWA-RING UP: Tim Tawa turned in a 1-for-3 night at the dish with a home run that was the first score of the game in the third inning. He has now homered in two straight games with the occasion marking the fifth time this season that a Sod Poodle has hit a homer in back-to-back contests with A.J. Vukovich being the last to do so from 5/5-5/6 at Corpus Christi. Tawa's long ball is his sixth in 39 games this season and is good for the second most on the club among current Sod Poodles players. The Stanford alum has now swatted three homers in his last 13 games dating back to 5/14/23 in game one vs. Midland. At the time of the final out, Tawa tied fifth in the D-backs organization for dingers.
HE'S THE BAIN CHARACTER: Jeff Bain started and fired 5.0 innings and allowed just one run, two hits and three walks while punching out one en route to his first win of the season. Bain tied his season-high in IP but posted the fewest hits that he has allowed in a start this season (3 GS). The right-hander has not pitched at least 5.0 innings and allowed two hits or less since 4/14/2019 @ SJ (VIS) when he went 6.0 innings and held his opponent to just one hit and has not done so at home since 8/25/2018 vs. STK (VIS) (6.0 IP, 0 H).
IN JACKSON FASHION: Jackson Goddard hurled 2.0 frames of relief while scattering a hit and punching out two Cardinals. Goddard has now held his opponent scoreless in four of his five relief appearances where he goes 2.0 innings or more this season and has dealt at least two punchies in all five of those contests. Dating back to 4/26/23 vs. FRI, he has punched out at least one batter in each of his relief appearances (9 G, 15.1 IP) while posting 20 total strikeouts for an 11.9 K/9. The right-hander now wields a 4.26 ERA (12.2 IP, 6 ER) in the month of May through seven relief appearances.
EXTRA! EXTRA!: The Amarillo bats put up seven hits on the scoreboard in the win with six of them going for extra bags. The club has logged six XBH four times this season and holds a 3-1 record when they achieve this. This was the first six-XBH contest this season where the majority of their hits went for extra bases. Amarillo also extended their extra-base hit streak to 22 games dating back to 5/5/23 @ Corpus Christi.
SAAL'D IN HALF: Andrew Saalfrank delivered a shutout frame of relief while striking out one batter in the win. The southpaw has now posted eight straight scoreless relief appearances (5/7-5/30/23) which is the longest active streak in the Texas League and is tied fourth for the longest this season. Across that date range, he has struck out 17 (13.7 K/9) while walking five (3.4 K:BB). The left-hander also extended his consecutive scoreless inning streak to 13.1 innings dating back to 5/4/23 @ Corpus Christi which is the longest on the club this season with the second most coming from Kyle Backhus who hurled 9.1 scoreless frames from 4/12-5/6.
ONE'S A PARTY, THREE'S A COMPANY: The Sod Poodles pitching staff allowed just three Cardinal knocks and one run in game one. Amarillo has now held their opponent to three hits or less seven times this season and are 6-1 in such scenarios. Of those seven three-hit or less contests, the win marks just the second time it has been done at home this season. Additionally, Amarillo's one run allowed marks the eighth time that they have held their opponent to one run or less with just three being posted while at home.