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Sod Poodles Battle Late, Fall In Walk Off Fashion

Walston Sets Double-A High With Nine Strikeouts
(John Moore)
June 26, 2022

Corpus Christi, TX – For the third time in four games this series the Sod Poodles erased a Hooks lead in the 9th inning. After seeing the Hooks take a late lead, the Sod Poodles used a two-out rally in the top of the 9th before ultimately falling in walk-off

Corpus Christi, TX – For the third time in four games this series the Sod Poodles erased a Hooks lead in the 9th inning. After seeing the Hooks take a late lead, the Sod Poodles used a two-out rally in the top of the 9th before ultimately falling in walk-off fashion for the second consecutive night.

Arizona Diamondbacks No. 3 rated prospect Blake Walston was on the mound for the Soddies for his ninth Double-A start. The former 26th overall pick was looking to get back to his winning ways after seeing his run of back-to-back wins and quality starts earlier this month come to an end his last time out. Walston started the game with three strikeouts over his first two innings of work. His fourth strikeout of the night came in the bottom of the fourth inning and marked the 200th of his young professional career. The leadoff single he allowed in was removed from the base paths on a caught stealing as he faced the minimum through the first four innings.

Amarillo left a runner stranded in scoring position in the first and third innings and left their third runner stranded on base following a Leandro Cedeño walk in the top of the fourth. Walston continued his dominant start, adding two more strikeouts in the bottom of the fourth for his fifth and sixth punchouts of the night. The Sod Poodles were once again retired in order in the top of the fifth.

Walston finally ran into trouble, seeing a leadoff double followed by a single to put runners on the corners for the Hooks. A five-pitch walk then loaded the bases. The fourth straight baserunner reached with yet another hit, just the fourth allowed by the left-hander but it broke a seal on the game's scoring for a 2-0 Hooks lead. Walston responded by striking out the next two to end the inning after a relay out at third base on the RBI single provided the first out of the half-inning.

Amarillo drew within a run when Andy Yerzy crushed a leadoff home run in the top of the 8th inning, his sixth homer of the season. Back-to-back walks following the home run was for not as each was caught trying to steal second base. The inning ended on a routine fly out to left field with the Soddies still chasing a run.

That one-run deficit became two with Wilyer Abreu homering on his birthday to extend the Hooks' lead to 3-1.

As they did in the opening game of the series when they erased a five-run disadvantage, and last night when they forced extras after trailing the Hooks by three entering the ninth, the Sod Poodles would not go down without a fight on Friday night.

The first two batters were retired in seven pitches. Ti'Qaun Forbes drew a clutch two-out walk and was on-base for Tim Tawa who was inserted into the Sod Poodles lineup for the first time since being promoted from Hillsboro ahead of yesterday's game. Tawa blooped a single into shallow left-center field and advanced to second on the throw trying for the out at third base. Roby Enriquez kept the train moving with a two-RBI single into right field, scoring both and knotting the game at 3-3.

A lineout and two-pitch strikeout to start the bottom of the ninth appeared to have the game moving towards extras for the second straight game. Instead, Cesar Salazar had other plans, ending the game with a walk-off home run, the second straight walk-off win for the Hooks.

The Sod Poodles and Hooks continue their series with game five scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch tomorrow, June 25 from Whataburger Field. RHP Slade Cecconi (3-3, 4.74 ERA) takes the mound as the Soddies and will get his first crack at the Hooks in his professional career.


Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: A day after seeing RHP Brandon Pfaadt mow down the Hooks lineup to the tune of 12 strikeouts in 7.2 IP, D-backs' No. 3 rated prospect came out spinning it in his first start against Corpus Christi. The southpaw notched his third quality start in Double-A - and third in his last four starts - en route to a Double-A high nine strikeout performance on Friday night. Walston topped his previous high of eight strikeouts which he had accomplished on June 12 in a win over Frisco. Walston is scheduled to have one more start in June next Thursday against Northwest Arkansas, but so far in the month has gone 2-1 with a 3.54 ERA in five starts and has 29 strikeouts while surrendering just 30 hits and 11 earned runs.

TAWA You Doin: In his first time in the lineup with Amarillo, infielder Tim Tawa notched two hits, going 2-for-4 with a run scored and kept the Sod Poodles rally alive in the 9th inning. Tawa tallied the only multi-hit game by a Sod Poodles starter on Friday night and is now hitting .286 in 60 games in 2022. It was his 13th multi-hit game during his second season in pro ball after being selected by the Diamondbacks in the 11th round of the 2021 MLB draft out of Stanford.

Yer Gone: Andy Yerzy got the Soddies on the board with a leadoff home run to start the top of the 8th inning. It was his sixth homer of the year and first since hitting his first career grand slam against Frisco on June 7. The Ontario native is now hitting .243 on the year with 23 RBI and it marked his third home run on the road in 2022.

Deja Boo: The Sod Poodles suffered back-to-back walk-off losses and have now been walked off in five games to their two walk-off wins this year. Amarillo used back-to-back 9th inning rallies to force the Hooks' hand. The Soddies have now been walked-off 13 times dating back to the start of the 2021 season.

McGlovin: With another 8.2 innings of error-free baseball, the Sod Poodles haven't committed an error in their last 43.2 innings played and have just one error in their last eight games played.

Missed Opportunities: The Sod Poodles are just 4-for-13 with runners in scoring position over their last three games of this series. As a team, the Sod Poodles are still hitting .321 with RISP, 31 points better than the next closest team in the Texas League. The Sod Poodles left runners stranded in scoring position in the first and third innings with a chance to steal early momentum in Friday's game.