Amarillo Sod Squad center fielder and Amarillo High graduate Max Marusak makes a tremendous catch deep in left center field during the top of the seventh inning at Hodgetown on Wednesday night. [Ben Jenkins/ Press Pass Sports]
It was a completely different game than Tuesday’s Texas Collegiate League season opener, but ended with the same result.
The Amarillo Sod Squad used dominant pitching backed up by great defense to earn a hard fought 1-0 shutout victory against San Antonio on Wednesday night at Hodgetown.
Rust showed from the COVID-19 layoff during Tuesday’s 9-6 win. The Sod Squad used seven pitchers, racked up 11 walks with five errors.
However, Wednesday night’s performance was polar opposite.
Manager Brett Wellman used five pitchers — Tyler Myrick, Jack Stroud, Zach Smith, Zane Badmaev and Nic Daniels — that combined for nine strikeouts, and handcuffed the Flying Chanclas to two hits.
“We’re lowing the pitch counts right now,” Wellman said. “Tonight (Wednesday) worked out almost perfect. The first week you have to have a soft script. But no one struggled, so hats off to our pitchers.
Tascosa graduate and Florida Atlantic freshman Jack Stroud (1-0) earned the win. The lefty was sharp in his 1.2 inning, allowing a hit with three K’s. Nic Daniels earned the save with a scoreless ninth inning.
Defensively, the pitching picked up plenty of help. The Sod Squad didn’t have an error, and got a huge catch in deep left center field that prevented trouble by Amarillo High grad and Texas Tech sophomore Max Marusak in the top of the seventh. The centerfield robbed San Antonio’s Connor Shepherd of extra-bases when he fell back into the wall but still made the play.
“Max didn’t have his best night at the plate,” Wellman said. “That’s what he has to understand. His defense can save us two or three runs, and that’s just as valuable as what he does on offense.”
As for the offense. It wasn’t a great night at the dish for Amarillo, stranding 12 runners on base for the contest. The lone run, that turned into the eventual game-winner, came in the first inning when Julio Marcado hit a fielders choice to the shortstop with the bases loaded that plated Kamron Willman.
Marcano ended his night 2-for-3 with the lone RBI of the game.
The Sod Squad (2-0) will go for the sweep of San Antonio (0-2) at 7:05 p.m. Thursday night.
The Amarillo Sod Dogs stayed red hot to start the TCL season with another lopsided 9-2 win at Texarkana Wednesday night.
The Sod Dogs (2-0) have blistered Twins (0-2) pitching in the first two games of the year by outscoring Texarkana by a combined 21-4 margin.
Amarillo High graduate and TCU freshman Rhett Maynard had a huge night at the plate going 2-for-4 including a 2-run home run in the top of the seventh inning.
Amarillo goes for the sweep of Texarkana at 7:05 p.m. Thursday night.