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Roberts Walks Off Hooks on Thursday Night

Amarillo's Third Walk Off Win of the Season
August 4, 2023

Amarillo, Texas (August 3, 2023) – The Sod Poodles bounced back from a tough loss on Wednesday night to take a 2-1 series lead over the Corpus Christi Hooks. After a high-scoring affair last night, the Sod Poodles and Hooks were knotted at three runs without a run from the

Amarillo, Texas (August 3, 2023) – The Sod Poodles bounced back from a tough loss on Wednesday night to take a 2-1 series lead over the Corpus Christi Hooks. After a high-scoring affair last night, the Sod Poodles and Hooks were knotted at three runs without a run from the sixth inning on until Caleb Roberts delivered the walk-off winner to defeat Corpus Christi 4-3.

After Corpus scored the first run of the game in the top of the second inning, Seth Beer ensured the Sod Poodles would not trail for very long. The former Astros first-rounder and Corpus Christi Hook clobbered an opposite-field home run to lead off the bottom of the third and even things up at 1-1.

Conor Grammes made quick work of the Hooks in the top of the third, striking out the side in order for his fifth strikeout of the game. Roberts jumped on the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the inning to give Amarillo a lead with two outs in the inning.

The Hooks evened things up with a solo home run of their own in the next half-inning. After issuing a one-out walk to the very next batter, Grammes' night came to an end after 60 pitches. Mitchell Stumpo was the first man called upon to relieve Grammes. A diving catch by Neyfy Castillo gave Amarillo their second out of the inning. A wild pitch and subsequent walk and double steal put two Hooks into scoring position before Stumpo escaped the jam with a strikeout to end the Hooks threat.

Beer collected his second hit of the night but was left stranded on base as the game moved to the fifth inning tied at two. Back-to-back Hooks doubles once again put them in front in the top of the fifth.

In his first game since being transferred to Amarillo, S.P. Chen launched a solo home run to the deepest part of the ballpark for his first hit in his new threads. Dillon Larsen worked the top of the sixth for Amarillo on the mound and retired three straight after a leadoff walk to bring the middle of Amarillo's order to the plate. After managing only a one-out walk by Beer, Larsen would trot back to the mound for the seventh. The left-hander worked another clean inning on the bump, aided by Castillo's second diving catch of the night.

A one-out double off the bat of Kevin Vicuña was followed by a five-pitch walk to Chen to send the top of the Sod Poodles order to the plate. Two quick outs kept both runners stranded on base and the game tied at 3-3. Larsen worked into some trouble to begin the eighth. Back-to-back walks and a wild pitch had Hooks on second and third with no outs. Larsen struck out the next two and escaped the jam as he induced a chopper to Deyvison De Los Santos at third base.

Beer's third hit of the night was a one-out single in the bottom of the eighth. Sod Poodles manager Shawn Roof decided to pinch-run Nick Dalesandro, the franchise leader in stolen bases. Ivan Melendez put himself on base with a single and advanced Dalesandro into scoring position. A groundout off the bat of De Los Santos advanced the runners 90 ft and the Hooks decided to make a pitching change. A three-pitch strikeout sent the game to the ninth inning still knotted at three a piece.

Larsen's night came to an end after three brilliant innings where he did not allow a hit. Jake Rice retired the first two batters but the inning was kept alive with a two-out double. An intentional walk created a force-out situation but Rice wouldn't need it as a routine flyball would send the offense back to the plate looking for some HODGETOWN magic.

Chen drew his second walk of the night with one away in the final frame. Lawlar then roped a double down the left field line that had Chen racing around the bases. His attempt to score from first was unsuccessful after a perfect relay from the Hooks but still had Lawlar standing in scoring position for Roberts.

On an 0-1 count, Roberts pulled a ball into the right-center field gap and allowed Lawlar to trot home effortlessly for the game's winning run and Amarillo's third walk-off win of the year.

Back in control of the series, Amarillo will send left-handed sensation Yu-Min Lin to the mound on Friday night. The southpaw and D-backs' no. 10-rated prospect owns a 2-0 record with a 3.00 ERA through his first three starts at the Double-A level. First pitch from HODGETOWN is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.


ROB HURTS BASEBALLS: Caleb Roberts provided plenty of excitement on Thursday night beginning with an opposite-field home run in the bottom of the third inning. It was his first home run since July 23rd against Wichita and his 10th home run in his last 28 games dating back to June 25th. Roberts' night ended with his second hit of the night providing the walk-off RBI, scoring Jordan Lawlar from second base in the bottom of the ninth. After his multi-hit performance on Thursday night, Roberts is now hitting .331 (50-for-121) in 33 games at HODGETOWN this season. His season stats in front of the hometown crowd now includes 10 doubles, three triples, 11 home runs, and 26 RBI.

ON THIRSTY THURSDAY OF ALL DAYS: Seth Beer started Amarillo's scoring with the first of three total solo home runs for the Sod Poodles. Beer's second-inning opposite-field blast was his seventh of the year and first since July 14th against Frisco. His night at the plate ended after going 3-for-3 with the home run, two singles, and a walk. It was the 13th multi-hit effort this season and his second three-hit game. The former first-round pick has two of Amarillo's four four-hit efforts in 2023. Like Roberts, Beer has also hit well at HODGETOWN, now hitting .333 (28-for-84) in 24 games.

S.P.ECIAL: S.P. Chen made his Double-A debut for Amarillo after being added to the roster prior to the beginning of the series. The lefty bat collected his first Double-A hit in the form of a solo home run in the fifth inning. He finished the game 1-for-2 and was able to draw two walks out of the nine-hole in Amarillo's order. Chen's most recent action had been in the Arizona Complex League where he appeared in nine games post-All-Star break. Over his last 10 combined games, Chen has a hit in eight of those including four straight games with a hit. In 69 combined games this year between the ACL, High-A Hillsboro, and Amarillo he has five home runs, eight doubles, a triple, and 23 RBI.

CALL YOUR GRAM: Making his third start of the year, Conor Grammes turned in another strong effort. The right-hander turned in a season-high 3.1 IP with five strikeouts after allowing a pair of hits and earned runs. The two earned runs broke a streak of five straight games where Grammes had not allowed an earned run dating back to July 15th. In his three starts this year Grammes is 0-0 with a 2.16 ERA over 8.1 IP and has racked up 14 strikeouts to just one walk, good for a 15.6 K/9 rate as a starter.

GRAND LARSEN: Making his first appearance with Amarillo since the end of April, left-hander Dillon Larsen turned in three hitless innings for Amarillo. After a pair of walks in the top of the eighth with nobody out, Larsen responded by striking out the next two he faced and escaped the inning without any damage done. He left two potential go-ahead runners stranded in scoring position. Thursday was Larsen's fifth overall appearance with Amarillo over the last two seasons. Over his five appearances, he holds a 3.38 ERA in 10.2 IP and has turned in two outings of 3.0 IP.

WALK OFF WINNERS: Caleb Roberts' walk-off hit was the third for Amarillo this season and the first since Camden Duzenack's two-RBI single on June 1st against Springfield. It was the 21st walk-off win in team history dating back to the 2019 season.