Amarillo, Texas (September 3, 2023) – The Sod Poodles earned a series win on Sunday, taking four of the six games against the Midland RockHounds for the week. After falling behind in the series after Thursday, Amarillo rattled off three straight wins outscoring the RockHounds 33-11 over the final three games on the weekend. The Sod Poodles were paced by Deyvison De Los Santos and Juan Centeno who each had four hits, while three different players had three RBI games.
Despite a leadoff single, Raffi Vizcaino faced the minimum in the top of the first after picking the runner off of first base. The RockHounds got their leadoff man on base for the second straight inning after a free pass was issued by the Amarillo right-hander. A pair of strikeouts and a stolen base put the first runner of the game into scoring position for either club. A balk then moved the Midland runner to third where he was able to score on a wild pitch, allowing the RockHounds to take a 1-0 lead.
Two walks in the home half of the second put a pair on board for Centeno with two outs. Sunday's designated hitter came through with a two-RBI double to dead-center field, allowing both runners to score as Amarillo jumped out in front of the RockHounds.
Vizcaino's spot start came to a close after the opening two innings with left-hander Will Mabrey taking over in the top of the third. A pair of walks were kept from doing any damage as Caleb Roberts nabbed a would-be base stealer for the second out of the inning ahead of an inning-ending fly ball to maintain Amarillo's one-run advantage.
As he did yesterday, Camden Duzenack added to the Sod Poodles lead with a solo home run to lead off the third inning. Tim Tawa then followed up Duzenack with a double off the very top of the wall in center field. Seth Beer hit a double of his own to the deepest part of the ballpark scoring Tawa but a relay to the plate was in time in order to catch Roberts who worked his to first on a walk. De Los Santos singled to put runners on the corners before Midland made a call to their bullpen. Three pitches into his at-bat, Neyfy Castillo capped a five-run Amarillo inning with a three-run home run that set the single-season franchise record for home runs hit by Amarillo.
Consecutive one-out walks put two RockHounds on base on Mabrey's watch with a single scoring their second run of the day and placed runners on the corners. A fly ball into shallow left field resulted in an inning-ending double with Tawa cutting down the runner breaking for the plate to keep the Soddies up 7-2.
With Conor Grammes taking over on the bump, three straight two-out singles in the top of the fifth brought Midland back within shouting range at 7-3. Amarillo answered the runs, building their lead back to six runs after piecing together a two-out rally of their own. De Los Santos started the rally with a double ahead of the second walk drawn by Castillo. Centeno scored De Los Santos with a RBI single and put runners on the corners. Castillo then scored on a wild pitch to make it 9-3. In his second inning of work, Grammes kept the RockHounds at bay, leaving a two-out walk stranded with the help of a web gem by Jancarlos Cintron to end the top of the sixth.
Amarillo's offense continued to swing the bats well in the middle innings. With the first two in the bottom of the sixth reaching via walks, Roberts added two more runs on an opposite-field gap-splitting double off the wall in left field. Two batters later, De Los Santos added his third hit of the game, this time a two-run home run to make it a 10-run advantage. Amarillo added four more in the bottom of the seventh with the brunt of the damage coming via a three-run home run off the bat of A.J. Vukovich. They were the final three runs of the game for Amarillo to make it 17-3.
Amarillo used four pitchers to close out the final three innings. Laim Norris worked a scoreless top of the seventh for his lone inning of work on Sunday. Jake Rice pitched the eighth and saw two hits come off his watch with a run scored while Listher Sosa made his Double-A debut for Amarillo to start the ninth. After getting the first two outs of the inning and allowing a hit, a pair of walks, and three runs eclipsing his inning pitch count, Dillon Larsen was brought on for the final out. The left-hander induced a fly ball that was tracked down by Tawa near the warning track in left-center for the final out of the game as Amarillo ended the series with a 17-7 win.
The Sod Poodles will now head to Little Rock, Arkansas for the final road trip of the 2023 regular season. Amarillo will start a six-game series against the Arkansas Travelers (Double-A, Seattle) on Tuesday, September 5 at Dickey-Stephens Park. The Travs have already secured their spot in the Texas League Postseason with Amarillo looking to build on their four-game lead in the South. First pitch on Tuesday is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
DEJA DUZE: Camden Duzenack made it consecutive games with a home run after leading off the bottom of the third with a solo shot. His home run on Saturday night also was to lead off the bottom of the third and extended Amarillo's lead to two runs. Duzenack continues his tear at the plate, upping his season AVG to .332 through 56 games. He has been even better at HODGETOWN, now hitting .344 (32-for-93) with six doubles, four home runs, and 16 RBI in 25 games played in front of the HODGETOWN faithful. He has hit safely in 19 of the 25 games he has played at home this year while donning an Amarillo uniform. Duzenack's consecutive games with a home run made it 24 times that an Amarillo player has done that, and the first time for Duzenack who is up to nine home runs on the season.
PUT IT IN THE RECORD BOOKS: Neyfy Castillo's third-inning three-run home run set the Amarillo single-season franchise high for long balls with the 180th of the season. Amarillo set the record last season. hitting 179 in 137 games played. The Sod Poodles have 12 games remaining in the regular season to add to the new record. Amarillo's 182 home runs are 17 more than the next closest Texas League team. Corpus Christi holds down the second spot in the Texas League with 165 home runs in 2023, though they have not played their game against Frisco yet today. The Sod Poodles have the second-most long balls in all of Double-A this year, trailing Somerset (Double-A, New York Yankees) who have hit 184.
MORE BEER: Seth Beer ended his week by going 2-for-4 with a double, RBI, a walk, and two runs scored on Sunday. For the week against the RockHounds, Beer finished 10-for-19 with four home runs, two doubles, eight RBI, nine runs scored, two walks, and a hit by pitch. Beer has been one of the hottest hitters in the Amarillo lineup since coming back from the All-Star Break, hitting .304 (41-for-135) with 10 doubles, seven home runs, 23 RBI, 12 walks, and 29 runs scored over his last 35 games.
JUST ANOTHER DEY: Deyvison De Los Santos finished Sunday 4-for-5 with a home run, double, two RBI, and three runs scored. Like Duzenack, De Los Santos homered in consecutive games for Amarillo after hitting one on Saturday night. The D-backs' no. 5-rated prospect is up to 18 home runs on the year, third most on the club. His four-hit game also propelled him into the team lead in hits with 107 on the year. His four-hit effort set a new single-game high in 2023 and capped a week against Midland that saw him hit .520 (13-for-25) with three home runs, three doubles, a triple, six RBI, and seven runs scored. Over his last 40 games since July 14th, De Los Santos is hitting .339 (56-for-165) with 11 home runs, 11 doubles, two triples, 30 RBI, with 36 runs scored. 18 of his 33 multi-hit games this year have come over his last 40 games played. Over the same stretch, De Los Santos ranks among the best in all of Double-A in: total bases (1st, 104), XBH (T-1st, 24), SLG (3rd, .630), runs (4th), home runs (T-4th along with Neyfy Castillo and one behind Ivan Melendez), hits (T-5th), and AVG (T-5th).
CENTERED AROUND CENTY: Along with Deyvison De Los Santos, Juan Centeno turned in a single-game high in 2023 by collecting four hits, finishing Sunday 4-for-5 with a double and three RBI. Centeno has played in 13 games since the start of August in a platoon behind the plate with J.J. D'Orazio and Caleb Roberts while mixing in as the designated hitter like he was on Sunday. Over his last 13, Centeno is hitting .380 (19-for-50) with five doubles, five walks, eight RBI, and five runs scored. He had a nine-game hit streak during the stretch with five multi-hit efforts including each of his last two games to close out the weekend over Midland. *It was Centeno's first four-hit game since doing so on August 22, 2015, when he was in Triple-A Colorado Springs. Since turning pro and beginning his career in 2007, Centeno has played in 1,002 career games (including postseason) with Sunday being just the fourth four-hit game of his illustrious career. *
THREE DOWN, THREE TO GO: With a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, A.J. Vukovich is up to 90 RBI on the year in 105 games played. He has 106 hits to go along with that while leading the team with 22 home runs. The D-backs' no. 10-rated prospect is now just three RBI shy from tying the Amarillo single-season RBI record currently held by Leandro Cedeño who set the mark during the 2022 season.
PLETHORA OF OFFENSE: The 19-hit outburst on Sunday set a new single-game high for hits as a team in 2023 while matching the team-high of 17 runs scored, which the team has now done twice. Deyvison De Los Santos and Juan Centeno are each now tied for the most hits by an individual in a single game after collecting four hits. They became the seventh and eighth different players with Amarillo to have a four-hit game this year respectively. Seth Beer is the only Sod Poodle player this year with more than one four-hit game.* The Sod Poodles hit a combined 10 XBH, tied for the second most in the Texas League by a team in one game this year.* Amarillo also did that on July 1st against Tulsa. The six doubles hit by the Sod Poodles were the most in a game this year by the club and tied for the third most by a team in the Texas League. Corpus Christi and Wichita each had a game with seven doubles. All nine starters had at least one hit with five of the nine picking up 2+ hits in the game. Four different players crossed the plate three times for Amarillo and eight of the nine starters picked up at least one RBI.