The Sod Poodles dropped a series opener to the Midland RockHounds at Security Bank Ballpark on Monday night, with a late rally falling short in a 5-4 defeat.
Amarillo trailed 5-3 in the eighth inning, but then loaded the bases as Midland reliever Zack Erwin entered. Sod Poodles manager Phillip Wellman pinch-hit with outfielder Buddy Reed, who ripped an RBI single into left field to bring the Soddies within a run.
Erwin escaped further trouble by inducing an inning ending double play from Kyle Overstreet.
In the ninth, Erwin allowed a one-out double to Peter Van Gansen. He would reach third base with Ivan Castillo at the plate and two outs. Castillo, who had already collected three hits, hit a hard liner to left field but directly at Midland outfielder Tyler Ramirez. Ramirez caught the baseball to end the ballgame.
Right-hander Jesse Scholtens received the start for Amarillo and allowed two early runs in the opening two frames. The Soddies got a run back against Midland starter Daulton Jefferies in the top of the third after Van Gansen tripled and later scored to make it 2-1.
Trailing 3-1 in the fourth, Amarillo tied things against righty Grant Holmes. Taylor Kohlwey laced an RBI double while Brad Zunica brought Kohlwey in with a run-scoring groundout to tie the game at 3-3.
Scholtens settled down nicely, throwing scoreless frames in the fourth and fifth. In the sixth inning, Scholtens allowed a leadoff single to Ramirez and retired the next two hitters.
Edwin Diaz then stepped in and hit a two-strike pitch over the left field wall for a home run, giving the RockHounds a 5-3 advantage. Diaz’s ninth home run of the season proved to be the decisive blow in Midland’s victory.
Dauris Valdez was a bright spot out of Amarillo’s bullpen, allowing just one hit in two scoreless innings.
The Sod Poodles and RockHounds continue their series on Tuesday night. First pitch is at 6:30 p.m. Amarillo sends righty Kyle Lloyd to the hill while Midland counters with righty Matt Milburn.
-Amarillo Sod Poodles