Amarillo Sod Poodles struggle in recent home series with Midland

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Yu-Min Lin of the Amarillo Sod Poodles delivers a pitch against the Midland Rockhounds on Tuesday night at Hodgetown. [Roy Wheeler/ Press Pass Sports]
A pit stop at home in the middle of the most rigorous stretch of the season didn’t help the Amarillo Sod Poodles this week.

For three games, the Sod Poodles mostly struggled at the plate, especially in closing the series Tuesday and Wednesday at Hodgetown. They suffered the indignity of a sweep at home Wednesday evening, as they lost to the Midland RockHounds 4-1 in front of a franchise record 7,704 fans.

Over the last two games, the Sod Poodles managed only five hits in a historic offensive dry spell. They have no time to lick their wounds, as they hopped on the bus quickly to go down to Midland for the final three games of the unique series, starting Thursday at 7 p.m.

To leave Midland with any victories, the Soddies are going to need to hit the ball much better than they did against the RockHounds.

“Our offense has taken a few days off, but you’ve got to give (Midland’s) pitching staff some credit,” Sod Poodles manager Tim Bogar said. “They’ve got some good arms over there and they executed their game plan against us pretty well. We just need to make some adjustments. We’re a better hitting team than that.”

The Amarillo Sod Poodles saw a franchise record crowd of 7,704 fans Wednesday night at Hodgetown. [James Abel/ Press Pass Sports]
The Sod Poodles went hitless in the first three innings Wednesday against Midland left-hander Domingo Robles, as they broke through with an infield single by Tim Tawa to lead off the bottom of the fourth. That was one of only our baserunners the Soddies enjoyed the whole game.

Right-hander Dylan File threw respectably for six innings, not walking anybody. He struck out the first three batters on nine pitches, but gave up a home run to left-center to Brennan Milone to start the second. File then gave up three straight singles to load the bases and with two outs he hit Cooper Bowman to force in a run for a 2-0 lead, which was enough for the RockHounds.

“I thought Dylan pitched really, really well tonight,” Bogar said. “We did a couple of things behind him to put him in a bad spot, but it really didn’t matter because we didn’t score any runs.”

Wilderd Patiño of the Amarillo Sod Poodles celebrates with his teammates after a home run on Wednesday night. [James Abel/ Press Pass Sports]
Midland scored two in the sixth when Jordan Groshans tripled to drive in Junior Perez then scored on a single by Shane McGuire to make it 4-0. In the bottom of the inning, Soddies No. 9 hitter Wilderd Patino hit a solo homer to right off Robles to make it 4-1.

However, that was the last hit for the Sod Poodles, who couldn’t get a runner past second base in the last three innings.

Blue Monday

The series couldn’t have started any rougher for the Sod Poodles on Monday night. They were close early but Midland scored five runs apiece in the sixth and seventh inning, collecting 18 hits en route to a 14-4 rout.

Every RockHound had at least one hit, with catcher Daniel Susac especially muscling up at the plate. Susac went 4-5 with two homers and five RBIs, hitting both of his homers off Sod Poodles starter Spencer Giesting.

That was just part of Midland’s power surge, as the RockHounds smashed six home runs off Sod Poodles pitching.  In the sixth, Susac, Jordan Groshans and Denzel Clarke all left the yard for Midland.

Giesting came down to earth in his third Double A start. After winning his first two starts for the Sod Poodles, Giesting took the loss to open the series, giving up seven runs in 5 1/3 innings, including four homers.

“Honestly, he’s capable of giving us a good outing every time out,” Bogar said of Giesting. “I like his stuff and how he goes about it, he just didn’t locate his fastball. When he doesn’t locate his fastball, his breaking stuff doesn’t work that well. It’s something all pitchers know.”

Tim Tawa of the Amarillo Sod Poodles makes a throw to first against the Midland Rockhounds. [Roy Wheeler/ Press Pass Sports]

Not so sweet 16  

Tuesday’s game was notable for a 1 hour and 47-minute rain delay after the fourth inning. Those who stayed after play resumed hardly missed any offense though, especially by the Sod Poodles, as Midland made an early lead stand up for a 5-1 victory.

When the rains blew in out of the southeast, the Sod Poodles were about to take the field in the top of the fourth, trailing 4-1. The RockHounds had gotten to Soddies left-hander Yu-Min Lin for two runs each in the first and fourth, three of which were earned, for a 4-0 lead.

The Sod Poodles broke through with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, when Ivan Melendez singled to drive home Caleb Roberts. But they seemed rusty at the plate when play resumed after the long delay, as none of their final 16 hitters reached base.

On tap in Midland

When the two teams meet again in Midland on Thursday, the Sod Poodles will send right-hander Billy Corcoran (4-2, 2.53 ERA), their most consistent starter this season, to the mound for the Fourth of July. Dylan Ray will follow on Friday and Giesting will make his second appearance in six days against Midland to close the series Saturday.

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