Despite battling back with a combined five runs in the bottom of the eighth and ninth innings, it was not enough for the Amarillo Sod Poodles to overcome an early deficit in an 11-5 loss to Midland at Hodgetown on Wednesday.
RockHounds starting pitcher Brian Howard (1-0) threw five shutout innings, surrendering four hits and walking one while striking out three.
For the Sod Poodles (2-5), Adrian Morejon started the contest and fell to 0-2 on the season. The hard-throwing left-hander from Havana, Cuba, allowed five runs on four hits and five walks while sitting down four Midland hitters via strikeout.
The game was scoreless through the first two innings, but the RockHounds (3-3) exploded in the top of the third with five runs. Brallan Perez lined an RBI single to right field before Dairon Blanco cleared the bases with a grand slam to right-center to put the Rockhounds up 5-0.
In each of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, Amarillo was able to get two runners on, but could not take advantage and continued to trail by five heading into the top of the seventh.
“I don’t think we created a lot of opportunities for ourselves early,” Sod Poodles manager Phillip Wellman said. “Late, we did have a few opportunities, but it was too little, too late.”
The wind was a factor in the contest, especially to right-center field – gusting up to 60 miles per hour throughout the day. But Wellman said that was no excuse for Wednesday’s performance.
“It wasn’t too bad (on the field),” Wellman said. “But I’m sure out there in the outfield, it seemed to be blowing pretty good. There were a few balls that were hit that I don’t think get out of the ballpark anywhere else, but the wind was blowing for them as much as it was for us.”
Midland tacked on two more runs on a tricky fly ball to center off the bat of Kevin Merrell that caused an error, and it added four more in the ninth one an RBI double to left by Edwin Diaz and a three-run blast to right-center by Collin Theroux.
Buddy Reed lined a home run to right to put Amarillo on the board in the bottom of the eighth. The Sod Poodles tacked on four more runs in the ninth on a two-run single to right by Peter Van Gansen and a two-run homer to right by Owen Miller.
Amarillo opens the first of a four-game set against Corpus Christi tonight at Hodgetown at 7:05 p.m.