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Tawa Sparks Comeback With a Pair of Home Runs in 10-9 Win

Second Career Multi-HR Game for Tawa
August 13, 2023

Tulsa, Okla. (August 12, 2023) – After falling behind by six runs on Saturday night, the Amarillo Sod Poodles battled back to beat the Tulsa Drillers 10-9. Amarillo hit four home runs on the night, highlighted by a pair of long balls from Tim Tawa. Amarillo left the bases loaded

Tulsa, Okla. (August 12, 2023) – After falling behind by six runs on Saturday night, the Amarillo Sod Poodles battled back to beat the Tulsa Drillers 10-9. Amarillo hit four home runs on the night, highlighted by a pair of long balls from Tim Tawa.

Amarillo left the bases loaded in the top of the first inning, a similar fate was dealt to the Drillers - albeit not after some discussion. With two outs and the bases loaded, The Drillers appeared to take a 4-0 lead after what was ruled originally as a grand slam off the bat of Kody Hoese. After the umpires got together, all men were returned to their bases as the ball was deemed to have gone foul. Two pitches later, Hoese was called out on strikes to end the inning and keep it a 0-0 game after the first.

Amarillo jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second thanks to the first of four home runs hit by the Sod Poodles, this one a two-run shot by S.P. Chen, his second home run in three games played with Amarillo. The Drillers responded with a five-run bottom of the second to take the lead after stringing together six hits in the inning.

Tulsa added three more runs in the bottom of the fourth to find themselves ahead 8-2 in part to a pair of home runs in the inning.

The first two Amarillo batters in the next half-inning drew walks. Following a wild pitch, both were able to advance into scoring position. Ivan Melendez plated the third Sod Poodles run of the night with a sacrifice fly. With two outs, Tawa jumped on the first pitch he saw in the inning to draw Amarillo within three runs with his first home run of the night.

Amarillo walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth with a passed ball allowing the Drillers to score their ninth run of the night and take a 9-5 advantage.

Walks once again came around to hurt the Drillers with the first two Amarillo batters once again drawing walks in front of Melendez to start the top of the seventh. The D-backs' no. 9-rated prospect made the walks hurt with his 10th home run since arriving in Amarillo to cut the deficit to just one run. Two batters later, Tawa tied the game with his 18th home run of the season - this one an opposite-field home run into the Amarillo bullpen beyond the right-center field wall.

Left-hander Jake Rice surrendered a two-out walk and single to put Drillers on the corners before inducing a flyout to get out of his first inning of work unscathed. Chen was able to reach base to lead off the top of the eighth after strike three got away from the Drillers' backstop. Chen was replaced on the base path by Nick Dalesandro who hustled into second base as Jordan Lawlar dropped down a bunt single to put a pair of Soddies aboard. Another Tulsa wild pitch allowed both to advance 90-ft and had both in scoring position. With one out, A.J. Vukovich scored Dalesandro with a sac fly to give Amarillo their first lead since the top of the second.

Rice worked a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the eighth to turn things over to Christian Montes De Oca for the bottom of the ninth after Amarillo was also retired in order in the top of the final inning.

Montes De Oca struck out the first two he faced in the inning before a groundout to Lawlar ended the game and sealed Amarillo's comeback efforts and a 3-2 series lead.

The Sod Poodles will now go for the series win in the finale on Sunday from ONEOK Field. RHP Jamison Hill (5-6, 5.28 ERA) will take the ball for Amarillo for the second time this week. First pitch on Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.


TWENTY EIGHT: Ivan Melendez launched his second home run of the series, the 10th in an Amarillo uniform, and his 28th overall this season between High-A Hillsboro and now 23 games with Amarillo. With the swat, Melndez became the ninth Amarillo player to reach double-digit home runs in 2023, setting a new franchise record for most players with 10 or more home runs in the same season. His 28th home run of the year has now placed him in a tie for the 17th most home runs ever hit in a single season by a D-backs' minor leaguer. He joins a list that includes former Sod Poodle Stone Garrett, who also hit 28 a season ago with Triple-A Reno. Only 13 players have ever hit 30+ home runs in a single season as a D-backs' minor leaguers. His 28 home runs are currently T-2nd among all minor leaguers this year. Since arriving in Double-A, he ranks first in home runs and RBI (28) while also ranking T-3rd in total bases (61), T-6th in XBH (14), and 8th in SLG (.656) in Double-A.

TAWABUNGA, BABY: Tim Tawa recorded his second career multi-HR game, both coming against the Tulsa Drillers. The first multi-HR game of his career came back on June 29th when he went 2-for-4 with a pair of home runs and tied his career-high with five RBI. On Saturday, Tawa finished 2-for-4 with two long balls and three RBI. Tawa is adding to what already is a single-season career-high in home runs with now 18 on the year, one shy of the team lead held by A.J. Vukovich. Tawa becomes just the third player this season to record more than one multi-HR game, joining Vukovich and Ivan Melendez. Amarillo players have a total of seven multi-HR games this year, with now three of those (43%) coming against Tulsa pitching.

S.P. F (THE F IS FOR FORGET ABOUT THAT ONE): S.P. Chen, playing in just his third game since a promotion from High-A Hillsboro, has now hit a pair of home runs in nine at-bats in Double-A. His first hit as a Sod Poodle was a solo home run back on August 3rd against Corpus Christi. After a 1-for-4 night against the Drillers in his first action of the series is now hitting 3-for-9 (.333) with two home runs, and four RBI.

LAW & TOP OF THE ORDER: After seeing a season-long on-base streak come to an end on Friday night, Jordan Lawlar responded with a 2-for-5 night on Saturday that included his team-leading 23rd double. In 57 games since May 23rd, the D-backs' top-ranked prospect has raised his season AVG from .162, to .263 and has 19 doubles, two triples, and 10 home runs during the stretch. His 23 total doubles on the season are the most on the active roster by a Sod Poodle and rank T-4th in the Texas League. His 73 hits since May 23rd ranks first in the D-backs organization while his .313 AVG is 4th. His 19 doubles are the most in the D-backs farm system over the stretch of games.

JUST PUT IT IN RICE: After hurling a pair of scoreless innings and four strikeouts with just one hit and a walk surrendered, Jake Rice improved to 4-0 on the year. The left-hander has not yielded a run in eight of his last 13 appearances. In two games against Tulsa this year, Rice has worked 4.0 IP while allowing just two hits with seven strikeouts and a walk. Rice's last loss came on August 24, 2021, vs. Rancho Cucamonga (Low-A, Dodgers) when he was in Visalia.

THE BEAR: Christian Montes De Oca added his fourth save of the year and his second of the series after also earning the save on Wednesday. The right-hander worked a clean final inning, retiring the Drillers in order during his lone inning of work on Saturday night. Since the beginning of 2022 and his first year in the D-backs' organization, Montes De Oca leads the org in saves with 17. He has capitalized on 17-of-19 save opportunities over his 67 total appearances within the D-backs' farm system. He was a perfect 13-for-13 last season between Low-A Visalia and High-A Hillsboro.