The first postseason affiliated playoff baseball in game in Amarillo in 38 years saw the Amarillo Sod Poodles perhaps being too accommodating as hosts in their inaugural season.
In game one of the Texas League South Division playoff series Wednesday night against the Midland RockHounds at Hodgetown, the Sod Poodles outhit the Hounds by almost a 2-1 margin. But they also gave up more walks by an 11-0 margin.
That explains why Midland got the upper hand in the five-game series. The RockHounds scored five runs in the top of the third and the Sod Poodles never caught up, dropping an 8-3 decision and falling behind 1-0 in the series.
Game two will be this evening at 7:05 p.m. at Hodgetown, with the series moving to Midland for game three Friday, with games three and four, if necessary, also scheduled for Midland's Security Bank Ballpark.
The Sod Poodles send out right-hander Lake Bachar to start, a natural move considering that Bachar won eight games in the regular season and was named to the Texas League Postseason All-Star team. But Bachar struggled with his control and didn't make it out of the third inning.
"We didn't get the pitching we desired," Sod Poodles manager Phillip Wellman said. "We've got do that and get solid defense. We outhit (Midland) but (giving up 11 walks) is something you don't see us do often."
Through two innings, Bachar held the RockHounds scoreless, but things started rought in the third when he walked the bottom two hitters in Midland's lineup to start the third. Bachar retired the next two hitters and appeared on the verge of getting out of it with runners on second and third.
However, he appeared to hit the back foot of Midland's Nate Mondou with a pitch, which would have loaded the bases. Mondou appeared headed to first, but when the ball ricocheted toward the third base dugout, it was ruled live, allowing Midland baserunners Collin Theroux and Mickey McDonald to score and give the RockHounds a 2-0 lead.
That appeared to shake Bachar, who hadn't given up a hit to that point. Midland's Taylor Motter then belted a two-run home run to left to make it 4-0 and set the tone for the rest of the game.
Bachar allowed six straight baserunners with two outs, leaving the game after giving up an RBI double to Greg Deichmann which made it 5-0.
"It's sort of like when a player makes an error behind you," Wellman said, "It doesn't give you a license to not keep pitching."
Bachar was relieved by Emmanuel Ramirez, who started the Texas League All-Star game for the South squad in June, but was shortly thereafter promoted to El Paso. Ramirez was called back to Amarillo for the postseason.
In the top of the fourth, Mondou tormented the Poodles again, hitting a two-run homer for a 7-0 lead, and pretty much sealing Amarillo's fate for the evening.
The Sod Poodles didn't quite go away quietly. Hudson Potts and Taylor Trammell hit solo homers off Midland starter Matt Milburn to keep the game from becoming a rout, and Taylor Kohlwey's RBI double in the seventh cut it to 7-3.
But Milburn gave up nthing else other than that in his seven-inning stint, and while he scattered 11 hits, he didn't walk any batters.
The best news for the Sod Poodles is that it's a series and they still have a chance to win it. But that has to start tonight.
"You play a best-of-five series and it's just one loss," Wellman said. "We've got to win the next one then take two out of three (in Midland), which we've done before."
Jacob Nix, who is on rehab assignment from the parent club San Diego Padres, is scheduled to start today for the Sod Poodles against Midland's Kyle Friedrichs. Kyle Lloyd is scheduled to start for the Sod Poodles in game three Friday in Midland against Brian Howard.
RockHounds 8, Sod Poodles 3
Midland ab r h bi Amarillo ab r h bi
Calabuig 1b 3 1 0 0 Trammell cf 4 1 1 1
Perez lf 4 0 0 0 Castillo ss 4 0 1 0
Mondou 2b 2 2 1 2 Olivares rf 4 0 1 0
Motter 3b 3 1 1 3 Miller 2b 4 0 2 0
T. Ramirez dh 5 1 1 0 Torrens c 4 0 0 0
Diaz ss 5 0 1 0 Potts 3b 4 1 2 1
Deichmann rf 5 0 2 1 Overstreet 1b 4 1 2 0
Theroux c 2 1 0 0 Kohlwey dh 3 0 2 1
McDonald cf 3 2 0 0 Reed lf 3 0 0 0
Totals 32 8 6 6 Totals 34 3 11 3
Midland 005 200 010 — 8
Amarillo 000 110 100 — 3
DP—Midland 2. 2B—Deichmann, Kohlwey 2. HR—Motter, Mondou, Potts, Trammell. S—Calabuig. SB—Deichmann. CS—Olivares.
Midland IP H R ER BB SO
Milburn W 7.0 11 3 3 0 6
Martinez 2.0 0 0 0 0 3
Amarillo IP H R ER BB SO
Bachar L 2.2 4 5 5 4 3
E. Ramirez 3.1 2 2 2 3 5
Guerrero 1.2 0 1 1 2 1
Valdez 1.1 0 0 0 2 3
WP—Bachar 2. HBP—by Valdez (Theroux). T—3:02. Attn.—5,193.