Washington Nationals Farm Report June 1-7

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Courtesy of the Syracuse Chiefs

Consistent (for the most part) reports from the Nationals organization, compiled via team press releases:

Syracuse Chiefs (AAA International League):

June 1:

The Syracuse Chiefs fell to the Charlotte Knights, 5-3, Wednesday night at BB&T Ballpark. Brian Goodwin homered for the second night in a row, and drove in two runs in the loss. The Knights, however, homered twice in the bottom of the eighth to help complete the sweep.

Charlotte (28-26) got on the board in the first inning for the second straight night. Jason Coats walked with two outs against Chiefs starter Austin Voth. Matt Davidson then doubled home Coats for a 1-0 lead.

The Knights added another tally in the second. Vinny Rottino hit his second home run of the year to extend the lead to 2-0.

Syracuse (27-24) finally broke through against Knights starter Scott Carroll in the seventh. The Chiefs did not have a hit through five and just one hit through six. That all changed when Goodwin led off the seventh with his sixth home run of the year to cut the lead in half. After Carroll walked den Dekker and Skole back-to-back, the Knights turned to Chris Beck. Beck induced a double-play groundout by Jason Martinson, but Caleb Ramsey singled in Skole a batter later to square the game at two.

Goodwin was not done, and pushed the Chiefs into the lead in the eighth. Tony Campana doubled to start the inning. Then, after Trea Turner walked, Goodwin singled home Campana to lift Syracuse to a 3-2 lead.

But the Knights came back in a powerful bottom of the eighth. After Trevor Gott retired the first two batters of the frame, the Chiefs turned to Rafael Martin. Charlotte followed by hitting two home runs in three batters, with Coats going deep to tie the game on a fly ball barely over the short fence in right-center field. Davidson followed with a single to bring up Danny Hayes. The Charlotte designated hitter followed with a long fly down the right-field line that was ruled fair, giving Charlotte a 5-3 lead on the two-run home run. Chiefs manager Billy Gardner, Jr. and Campana were ejected arguing the play.

June 2:

The Syracuse Chiefs fell to the Buffalo Bisons, 8-3, Thursday night at Coca-Cola Field. The Bisons tallied 12 hits, and Matt Dominguez homered to help Buffalo to a third straight win over Syracuse. Three of the Chiefs’ six hits in the game were extra-base hits.

Syracuse (27-25) did start the scoring in the first. Matt den Dekker hit his second home run of the year with the Chiefs, a long drive to right field off Wade LeBlanc, for a 1-0 lead.

Buffalo (29-25) tied the game in the second. Jesus Montero doubled to lead off the frame against Aaron Laffey. Two batters later, A.J. Jimenez singled, but Montero was thrown out at the plate by Brian Goodwin, one of three Bisons thrown out on the bases in the game. Jimenez moved to second on the throw to the plate and subsequently scored on Casey Kotchman’s single to tie the score.

The Bisons took the lead for good in the third. Laffey walked David Adams with one out. Two batters later, Andy Burns singled to center. Goodwin bobbled the ball, and Adams scored on the error for a 2-1 Buffalo advantage. Dominguez followed with a RBI single to score Burns and extend the lead to 3-1.

The score held at 3-1 until the fifth. Junior Lake doubled to start the frame, and scored a batter later on Adams’ single for a 4-1 lead. Laffey retired the next two hitters, but Dominguez launched a two-out, two-run home run out to deep left field to push the lead to 6-1.

Syracuse did not go down without a fight, and rallied for two in the top of the sixth. The Chiefs posted three hits in a row, started by a Matt Skole single to extend his on-base streak to 20. Jason Martinson and Caleb Ramsey each followed with triples, plating two runs and cutting the deficit to three.

But the Bisons got the two runs back in the bottom of the frame against Sam Runion. Jimenez walked on four pitches to start the threat. Kotchman and Lake then doubled back-to-back, bringing in two runs and lifting Buffalo to an 8-3 lead.

June 3:

The Syracuse Chiefs fell to the Buffalo Bisons, 7-5, Friday night at Coca-Cola Field. Matt Skole homered and drove in two runs in the game for the Chiefs, extending his on-base streak to 21 straight games.

Syracuse (27-26) grabbed the lead first for a second night in a row. Matt den Dekker tallied the Chiefs’ first hit of the game with one out in the fourth inning against Roberto Hernandez. Skole then doubled home den Dekker to give the Chiefs a 1-0 lead.

The Chiefs added to the lead in the sixth. For the second time at Coca-Cola Field this year, Syracuse hit two home runs in three batters in the same innings. Friday, it was Scott Sizemore hitting his fourth of the year, followed by Skole’s sixth, to give the Chiefs a 3-0 lead.

Buffalo (30-25) got on the board in the bottom of the sixth. Paolo Espino was excellent through the first five innings, allowing just two hits. But Espino walked Dalton Pompey to start the sixth inning. Andy Burns then singled to put two runners on. Two batters later, Jesus Montero tripled home both runners to bring the Bisons within one. After a groundout, Matt Dominguez blooped a single just over Skole’s head at first, scoring Montero to tie the score at three. It marked the fourth time on the eight-game road trip that the Chiefs gave up a lead in the sixth inning or later.

The Bisons took their first lead of the game in the seventh. Erik Davis walked Pompey and Burns to start the frame. After a fly out, the Chiefs turned to Nick Masset out of the bullpen. Again Montero cleared the bases, this time doubling home both runners to give Buffalo a 5-3 lead. Two batters later, Dominguez drove in his fifth run of the series with a single to right-center to lift the Bisons to a 6-3 advantage.

Buffalo added to the lead in the eighth. A.J. Jimenez doubled to start the frame against Juan Gutierrez. Jimenez reached third on a Jio Mier single, and scored a batter later on a Pompey’s single for a 7-3 Bisons lead.

Syracuse didn’t go down without a fight, scoring two runs in the ninth. Pedro Severino singled, Kevin Keyes walked, and Jose Lozada singled to load the bases against Pat Venditte with one out. Tony Campana followed with a single to score Severino and cut the score to 7-4. Buffalo turned to Dustin Antolin, who walked Sizemore to bring in a fifth Chiefs run. But den Dekker flied out to left and Skole struck out to end the threat.

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Scott Sizemore homered for the second consecutive night and drove in four runs on Saturday. (Kaimeng Yang | Syracuse Chiefs)

June 4:

The Syracuse Chiefs dropped a sixth straight game Saturday night, falling to the Buffalo Bisons, 13-4. The Bisons scored in every inning from the fourth onward, a stretch that included a span of seven unanswered runs.

Buffalo (31-25) struck first by plating a run in the top of the fourth inning. Pinch-hitter David Adams began the fourth with a walk and was followed by a single from Jesus Montero. With runners on first and second Domonic Brown grounded out to Caleb Ramsey at first, moving the runners up a base. Casey Kotchman then recorded the first of his three RBIs on the night by plating Adams with another groundout giving the Bisons a 1-0 lead.

Syracuse (27-27) answered in a big way in the bottom of the frame. After Kevin Keyes was hit by a pitch, Pedro Severino singled, putting two Chiefs on board for Scott Sizemore. Sizemore then turned on an inside fastball and ripped a line-drive home run to left field, giving Syracuse a 3-1 lead.

Buffalo struck again just three batters into the fifth inning. Tony Sanchez led off the frame with a double to right-center. Alexi Casilla pushed Sanchez to third with a groundout, and Dalton Pompey drove Sanchez home with a single, cutting the Chiefs’ lead to 3-2.

The Bisons knotted the score in the sixth. With one out Kotchman came to bat to face Chiefs starter A.J. Cole. The MLB veteran got the best of Cole, driving a ball over the right-center-field fence for a solo home run. The shot evened the score at three runs apiece.

Buffalo used a huge seventh inning to take a commanding lead. Trevor Gott replaced Cole on the mound and started the frame by striking out Casilla. The Bisons then jumped all over Gott. After a Pompey single and a walk to Andy Burns, Adams doubled to score Pompey and put Burns on third. Buffalo was then up 4-3. Montero followed with a dribbler back to Gott on the mound, who flipped the ball home to Pedro Severino. Severino applied the tag to Burns, cutting down the runner at the plate for the inning’s second out. Brown followed the play at the plate with a single, plating Adams to give the Bisons a 5-3 lead. Kotchman matched Brown with a single of his own, scoring Montero for a 6-3 Buffalo lead. The Bisons tacked on one more run in the inning after Abel De Los Santos replaced Gott. Junior Lake hit a third consecutive single which brought Brown around for the frame’s fourth run, moving the Buffalo lead to 7-3.

The Bisons scored again in the eighth. Casilla walked to begin the frame and moved to second on a Pompey groundout. Burns then singled home Casilla to push the Bisons’ lead to 8-3.

Syracuse got a run back in the bottom of the eighth. Ramsey started the inning with a single off of Bisons reliever Pat McCoy. Kevin Keyes followed with another single, moving Ramsey to second. After a Severino fielder’s choice allowed Ramsey to reach third, Sizemore plated the Chiefs’ fourth run with an RBI fielder’s choice, and the score was 8-4.

The Bisons piled on the runs in the ninth. With Juan Gutierrez on the mound, Buffalo sent all nine batters to the plate in the frame, scoring five runs on five hits. The inning was highlighted by a couple of two-run doubles, one from Casilla and another from Pompey. At the end of the inning, the Bisons’ lead was 13-4.

June 5:

Sunday’s scheduled game between the Syracuse Chiefs and Buffalo Bisons has been postponed due to rain and thunderstorms in the forecast. The game will be made up as part of a 5:35 p.m. doubleheader on Tuesday August 2nd.

June 6:

The Syracuse Chiefs knocked off the Louisville Bats, 3-1, on Monday night at NBT Bank Stadium. The win snapped a six-game losing skid for the Chiefs.  A Brian Goodwin two-run single, spearheaded a three-run Syracuse seventh inning, that led to the win.

Louisville (29-28) scored the game’s first run in the top of the seventh inning. Brandon Allen opened the inning with a line-drive double to center field. The next batter, Bryson Smith, popped out attempting a bunt, followed by a Chris Berset groundout that advanced Allen to third base. With two outs, Jermaine Curtis pinch-hit for the Bats’ starter Robert Stephenson, and hit an infield single to shortstop that scored Allen, giving Louisville a 1-0 lead.

Syracuse (28-27) retaliated with three runs in the bottom of the seventh.   The inning began with back-to-back singles from Scott Sizemore and Pedro Severino off Louisville reliever Matt Magill. Tony Campana then entered to pinch-hit for the Chiefs’ starter Taylor Hill, but popped out to the catcher, Chris Berset, on a bunt attempt. Trea Turner followed with a walk, to load the bases with one out.

Following the walk, Wandy Peralta came in relief of Magill, and Brian Goodwin greated him with a single into right field, plating both Sizemore and Severino. On the single, Turner was thrown out attempting to advance to third base. With two outs, Matt den Dekker walked, putting runners on first and second. Matt Skole capped the scoring with a single to right field, plating Goodwin, giving the Chiefs the final 3-1 advantage.

Hill went seven innings in the win, allowing just one run on six hits. Bryan Harper pitched a scoreless eighth in his first appearance for the Chiefs this season and Rafael Martin tossed a scoreless ninth for his 11th save.

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Caleb Ramsey delivered a walk-off win for the Chiefs on Tuesday. (Jeff Irizarry | Syracuse Chiefs)

June 7:

The Syracuse Chiefs took down the Louisville Bats, 3-2, in extra innings Tuesday night. The game lasted for ten innings before Caleb Ramsey doubled to bring in Matt den Dekker for the walk-off win.

Syracuse (29-27) wasted no time scoring in the first inning. Trea Turner led off the frame by working a nine-pitch walk from Louisville (29-29) starter Keyvius Sampson. Brian Goodwin followed the walk with a bunt base hit down the third-base line. Sampson threw a wild pitch to Matt den Dekker, and Turner and Goodwin advanced to third and second. den Dekker plated the game’s first run later in the at-bat, driving in Turner with a groundout. Goodwin moved to third on the play. After a Matt Skole fly out, Jason Martinson shot a single straight up the middle and into center field, scoring Goodwin and giving Syracuse a 2-0 lead.

Louisville responded in the ensuing frame. Jermaine Curtis led off the inning with a single and reached third when Scott Schebler roped a double off the right-center-field wall. Chiefs starter Austin Voth then walked Brandon Allen, loading the bases with no outs. Carlos Triunfel followed the walk with a ground ball deep in the hole at short. Turner fielded it and made the force-out at third, his only option to record an out. Curtis scored on the play, and the Chiefs’ lead was cut to 2-1. The next batter, Raffy Lopez, tied the game at 2-2 with a single to right field, which scored Allen.

The score remained tied through the regulation nine innings. For the Bats, Sampson completed six innings on the mound. Steve Delabar relieved him and threw two scoreless frames. Stephen Johnson came in to work the ninth, tossing a one-two-three inning to send the game to extras. On the Syracuse side, Voth completed six innings as well. Erik Davis, Nick Masset and then Rafael Martin came on in succession for the Chiefs, all throwing one inning of scoreless baseball.

After Aaron Laffey set down the Bats in order in the top of the tenth inning, Johnson returned to the mound for the bottom half of the frame. den Dekker led off the inning with a single to right field. After Skole flied out and Martinson struck out, Ramsey came to bat with two outs. Ramsey popped the ball down the left-field line, which dropped just in front of Bats left fielder Scott Schebler. den Dekker, running on the pitch, came around all the way from first to score the walk-off run.

Game three of this four-game series featuring the Chiefs and Bats is set for Wednesday from NBT Bank Stadium. Jaron Long is scheduled to make his Syracuse debut opposite Cody Reed for Louisville. First pitch is at 6:35.

Harrisburg Senators (AA Eastern League):

June 1:

The Harrisburg Senators took advantage of numerous New Hampshire miscues and used another strong pitching performance from Jaron Long to beat the Fisher Cats, 6-3.

Two infield errors gave the Fisher Cats a 1-0 lead in the first inning before Harrisburg had a chance to bat. But the Senators (27-24) responded with the tying run as Neftali Soto singled back up the middle to score Wilmer Difo from second base. A Shawn Pleffner sacrifice fly pushed the Senators ahead 2-1 in the second inning.

Harrisburg starter Long held the Fisher Cats hitless into the fourth inning when Dwight Smith Jr. singled to lead off. Two batters later, Rowdy Tellez lined a home run just inside the foul pole and into the Senators’ bullpen to re-take the lead for the Fisher Cats.

The Senators broke through in the bottom of the sixth inning as they loaded the bases on a hit batsman, a walk, and an infield single. Zach Collier followed with a chopper that bounced underneath New Hampshire first baseman Matt Dean’s glove and into right field scoring two runs. Harrisburg plated another run to increase their lead to 5-3 when the Fisher Cats failed to turn a double play.

Harrisburg tacked on an insurance run in the eighth inning when Fisher Cats’ reliever Chris Smith threw a bunt single over Dean’s head at first base allowing Soto to score from second base.

Long (3-2) went seven strong innings, yielding three runs on five hits. The 24-year-old right-hander didn’t surrender a free pass and struck out a season-high eight batters. Both southpaws in the Senators’ bullpen, Nick Lee and Bryan Harper, each worked a scoreless inning of relief to secure the victory.

June 2:

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats rode the hot bat of Rowdy Tellez and the arm of Shane Dawson to a tight 2-1 victory over the Harrisburg Senators in front of 3,145 fans at FNB Field.

The Senators (27-25) jumped out to an early one-run lead as Neftali Soto raced all the way from first base on Spencer Kieboom’s double down the right-field line. New Hampshire evened the score in the fourth inning when Tellez tripled and scored on an infield single as third baseman Adrian Sanchez and shortstop Wilmer Difo got tangled up charging the slow roller.

Respective starters Tyler Mapes and Dawson kept the score deadlocked at 1-1 as both pitchers efficiently worked through the opposing lineups into the top of the sixth inning. That’s when the Fisher Cats would get to Mapes (5-3) as Jon Berti led off the frame with a single and Dwight Smith Jr. drew a base on balls. After Melky Mesa struck out, Tellez delivered the big blow with a double into the left-center field gap that scored Berti to take a 2-1 lead.

In the next frame, Mapes worked out of a bases-loaded jam as Chris Bostick fully extended on a ball up the middle and then shoveled to Difo for the inning-ending fielder’s choice. That ended Mapes’ outing as the right-hander worked a season-high seven innings, scattering six hits and walking two while striking out four.

The Harrisburg bullpen held the deficit at one as Wander Suero tossed a scoreless inning and Koda Glover struck out the side. But the Senators failed to cash in on golden opportunities in the final two innings. In the eighth with runners on first and second, Soto struck out and Bostick grounded out to end the threat. And then in the ninth, Harrisburg loaded the bases against New Hampshire closer Wil Browning but couldn’t plate the tying run.

Rafael Bautista, Isaac Ballou, and Shawn Pleffner led the Senators’ offense with two hits apiece.

June 3:

The game between the Senators and Richmond Flying Squirrels Friday night was suspended with one-out in the top of the third inning with Zach Collier batting. The Senators are leading the game 4-1 and had scored two runs in the third when the rains came. The deluge lasted for well over 45 minutes before the game was suspended. The game started at 7:06 p.m. and went into a rain delay at 7:49 p.m. and was officially suspended at 8:50 p.m.

The Senators scored two in the first on a two-run single by Neftali Soto. Richmond cut the lead in half off Senators starter Reynaldo Lopez. In the third, Soto drove in a run with a groundout and Chris Bostick drove in a run with a single.

The game will be resumed at 4:05 p.m. on Saturday and be played to a nine-inning conclusion. That game will be followed by a seven-inning game.

June 4:

The Harrisburg Senators started and finished strong in an 8-1 over Richmond in a game that took about 20 hours to complete. The Senators led 4-1 in the third inning when the game was suspended Friday night. There was no scoring in the resumption of the game until the eighth inning when the Senators tallied four times to break the game open.

Neftali Soto singled in two runs in the first, then another run in the third giving the Sens a 3-1 lead. Chris Bostick drove in a run with a single giving the Sens a 4-1 lead, then the rains came, and the game was suspended. The Senators plated four in the eighth, with Bostick singling in a run giving the Sens a 5-1 lead. Brian Jeroloman then doubled with the bases loaded, driving in all three runners, to break the game open and give the Senators an 8-1 lead.

Matt Belisle pitched an inning in the resumed game before turning the game over to John Simms. Simms threw three innings walking one and striking out five. Simms was awared the win, moving to 3-2 on the season. Andrew Robinson pitched the final three innings to earn the save. Reynaldo Lopez started the game on Friday night and pitched two innings before the game was suspended.

Soto and Bostick combined for four hits and five RBIs. Every Senator position player that started had a hit in the game.

Lucas Giolito tossed six solid innings as the Harrisburg Senators swept their twin-bill with Richmond on Saturday, winning 3-1 in the night cap. Giolito struck out eight and walked one in moving to 4-2 on the season.

Richmond scored a run in the first on three hits but that was all the run scoring they would do in the game. Giolito settled in and at one point retired nine consecutive batters. The right-hander lowered his season ERA to 2.98.

The Senators trailed 1-0 in the top of the fourth when with two outs, Zach Collier hit a two-run home run giving the Senators the lead. They tacked on an insurance run in the sixth when Collier drove in Neftali Soto with a single.

Bryan Harper pitched a 1-2-3 seventh, striking out the side, to record his sixth save on the season.

Soto had three hits in the game with two of them doubles. Collier and Adrian Sanchez had two hits helping to pace the Senators 10-hit attack.

June 5:

For the first time in six meetings this season, the Harrisburg Senators dropped a game to the Richmond Flying Squirrels in a 6-2 loss Sunday afternoon at The Diamond. The Senators (29-26) won the first two games of the weekend to pick up the series victory.

The Senators struck first Sunday as catcher Spencer Kieboom hit a long home run to left field – his third of the season – to afford Harrisburg a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. After Richmond tied the game in the bottom of the second inning, Rafael Bautista singled then stole second and third base before scoring on an Isaac Ballou sacrifice fly. With the two steals Sunday, Bautista upped his Eastern League lead to 29 stolen bases.

Austen Williams worked the first five innings for the Senators, allowing four runs on nine hits and four walks while striking out two batters. A three-run fifth inning by the Flying Squirrels put them on top for good.

In his third appearance on MLB rehab, Matt Belisle allowed a run in the sixth inning. Derek Self pitched a scoreless seventh inning, and in his Senators’ debut, Michael Brady struck out the side in the eighth inning but allowed a run.

June 7:

Harrisburg Senators’ starting pitcher Greg Ross made the quite first impression on his new teammates and the 2,275 fans at FNB Field on Tuesday night. Promoted from Potomac on Monday, Ross was masterful in shutting down the potent Hartford Yard Goats’ lineup on the way to the Senators’ 5-3 victory.

Harrisburg (30-26) got to Hartford pitcher German Marquez early as they rapped out nine hits in the first three innings. The Senators pushed two across in the first frame on a wild pitch that scored Rafael Bautista and a 6-4-3 double play that plated Wilmer Difo.

The Senators tacked on a run in each of the next two innings with both rallies coming entirely with two outs. Wilmer Difo tripled home Bautista in the second and Shawn Pleffner drove in Kevin Keyes with a single in the third frame.

But the story of the night was the Senators’ debut of Ross (1-0) who spun seven scoreless innings on an efficient 76 pitches. The 26-year-old right-hander allowed only three hits and one walk while striking out two. Wander Suero and Nick Lee matched up in the eighth inning to throw a scoreless frame for Harrisburg.

Hartford made things interesting in the ninth inning off closer Koda Glover. The Yard Goats spoiled the shutout bid and plated three runs before Glover struck out pinch-hitter Rosell Herrera, who represented the tying run, to end the game.

Harrisburg’s 10-hit attack was led by Chris Bostick who went 2-for-4 with a solo home run, his third long ball of the season. Keyes and Difo were the other Senators with multi-hit games as they both notched two hits apiece.

The Senators and Yard Goats continue their three-game set on Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m. with Harrisburg sending Reynaldo Lopez to the mound.

Potomac Nationals (High-A Carolina League):

June 1:

On his 22nd birthday, Potomac CF Andrew Stevenson had one of his best nights of the season in a 6-1 win for the Potomac Nationals (27-22 Overall, 15-10 Road). Stevenson led off the game with a double, had a two-RBI single in the second, singled in the fourth, and reached on an error in the sixth. Meanwhile, RHP Phillips Valdez (W, 6-2) tossed seven innings for the second time in his two starts vs. the Frederick Keys (25-26 Overall, 9-15 Home). Valdez allowed only one run on four hits in his fourth seven-inning outing of the season.

The P-Nats got the scoring started three batters into the game against LHP Trevor Belicek (L, 0-1). After Stevenson led off the night with a double, the outfielder moved to third base on a groundout by SS Osvaldo Abreu. 1B Jose Marmolejos made it 1-0 with a sacrifice fly, his third RBI in the past two games.

Potomac then used a three-run second inning to extend the lead and put the game out of reach. With the bases loaded, RF Dale Carey picked up an RBI on a ground ball chopped right in front of the plate. Stevenson followed with a two-run, two-out single to right field, as Potomac led 4-0 after 1.5 innings. Belicek hit C Raudy Read and walked 3B Drew Ward in the third, and LF Alec Keller had a two-strike, two-out, two-run double, which capped Potomac’s scoring and made it 6-0.

Valdez rarely faced a major jam, as he allowed just four men to reach base over the first six innings. He erased a leadoff walk in the fourth with a double play and a leadoff single in the fifth with another double play. In Valdez’s final frame, RF Conor Bierfeldt popped up in between third base and the plate and it fell between multiple players. Ruled an infield double, Bierfeldt then scored on 3B Jomar Reyes’ RBI single, the third hit of the night for the third baseman.

Out of the bullpen, RHP Robert Benincasa worked two perfect innings in relief, as he retired the final six batters of the game, three via strikeout. For the Keys, RHP David Richardson allowed just one base runner and struck out four over 3.1 innings, while LHP Tanner Scott struck out five and walked two over two scoreless frames.

In the Potomac win, Stevenson went 3-5 with two RBIs, while Keller went 2-4 with a pair of RBIs. All nine Potomac starters had either a hit, scored a run, or had an RBI. The P-Nats earned the victory despite going 2-13 with men in scoring position. Valdez went seven innings for the fourth time in his past seven starts, and he has gone at least six innings in seven consecutive starts.

June 2:

On a night where it took six hours from the first pitch of game one until the final pitch of game two, the Potomac Nationals (29-22 Overall, 15-12 Road) improved to a season best seven games over .500 with a doubleheader sweep of the Frederick Keys (25-28 Overall, 9-17 Home). 3B David Masters had a go-ahead RBI double in extra innings of game one that proved to be the game-winner in a 6-5 final, and then had a pair of home runs in 9-2 drubbing of the Keys in game two.

In game one of the twin bill, the P-Nats jumped out to an early 2-0 lead over rehabbing starter Yovani Gallardo (ND) in his first outing since he went on the Baltimore Orioles’ disabled list on April 23rd. CF Andrew Stevenson led off the game with a single, one of three hits in the game for the centerfielder. After Stevenson stole second base, the first of his three steals in the game, a groundout by DH Osvaldo Abreu moved Stevenson to third base, and an RBI single by 1B Jose Marmolejos made it 1-0 Potomac. 3B Drew Ward followed with a single, and LF Alec Keller had his first of four singles on the night, an RBI base hit that put the P-Nats up 2-0.

Gallardo stranded the bases loaded in the first inning, stranded men at the corners in the second inning, but Masters’ two-out RBI single in the third frame put Potomac up 3-0. Opposite Gallardo,RHP Greg Ross (ND) made his fourth start of the season. Though he allowed runs for the first time as a starter, he got credit for a quality start. The Keys loaded the bases in the third inning with no outs against Ross, before the Potomac starter induced a run-scoring double play groundout by DH Wynston Sawyer. The only other run over Ross’ six innings came on a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, as RF Cam Kneeland hit his third home run of the season. Potomac led 5-2 after six innings, as the P-Nats plated two in the top half of the frame on an RBI double by Marmolejos and an RBI single by Keller.

Seemingly in complete control of the game, Potomac went to LHP RC Orlan (BS, W, 2-2) in the seventh with a three run lead. C Jonah Heim reached on an error by Masters to start the inning and it came back to bite Potomac. After CF Josh Hart flied out to centerfield, 2B Anthony Caronia walked, which brought the tying run to the plate. Homerless as a professional spanning more than 800 at-bats, LF Jay Gonzalez tied the game with a three-run home run off of Orlan with one out in the seventh. It was just Orlan’s second blown save of the season.

As the game went to extra innings, RHP Tanner Chleborad (L, 0-2), who had given up the pair of runs in the sixth, came back out for the eighth. Ward singled off of the righty to start the inning, before Chleborad picked up two quick outs. A single by C Matt Reistetter moved Ward into scoring position, and Masters made up for his seventh inning error with a go-ahead two-out RBI double. Masters’ second two-out hit of the night proved to be the eventual game winner, as Potomac led 6-5 after the top of the eighth. RHP Ryan Brinley (SV, 9) struck out two and worked around a single in the bottom of the eighth to tally his league leading ninth save.

Game two got off to a quick start for the P-Nats once again, as they scored in the first inning for the fourth consecutive game. Against RHP Lucas Long (L, 2-4), Abreu singled with one out in the first inning and came around to score on Marmolejos’ league leading 19th double. Potomac led 1-0 after half an inning, but gave the run back in the second.

In his first start of 2016, LHP Matthew Spann (ND) surrendered a one-out home run to RF Conor Bierfeldt in the second frame, which tied the game at one. That was the only run that the lefty allowed, as Spann went 3.2 innings and gave up five hits.

A pitcher’s duel through four turned into a Potomac onslaught in the fifth and sixth frames. Potomac sent 17 men to the plate over the two innings and scored eight runs. After two singles started the fifth inning against Long, Masters launched his fourth home run of the season over the wall in right field. The three-run blast put Potomac ahead for good, though more offense followed. Long followed the home run with a walk to CF Dale Carey, and Abreu ended Long’s night with a single. Out of the pen, LHP Max Schuh had to work the rest of the game despite his control issues. Schuh walked Marmolejos, which loaded the bases. C Raudy Read hit a sharp line drive to 2B Steve Wilkerson, who should have doubled off Marmolejos at first base, but his throw pulled 1B Aderlin Rodriguez off the bag. That proved crucial, as Schuh then issued back-to-back bases loaded walks to Ward and Keller. Schuh walked five and allowed three runs over 2.2 innings.

In relief of Spann, RHP Mario Sanchez (W, 2-0) recorded the final out of the fourth inning and then gave up his lone run in the fifth. SS Erick Salcedo began the frame with a single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Wilkerson. Potomac quickly answered in the sixth vs. Schuh with three more runs. Masters led off the sixth frame with his second home run of the night, Stevenson singled, stole second, took third on a wild pitch, and scored on an RBI single by Abreu. With Marmolejos at the plate, Abreu took second base on a passed ball, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on another wild pitch. Marmolejos walked, but Read hit into an inning-ending double play. Sanchez went 3.1 innings and struck out four in his second longest outing of the season. Sanchez ended the game as he induced a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Wilkerson in the seventh.

In game one, Keller had Potomac’s third four-hit game of the season. Stevenson and Abreu each had four hits between the two games, while Keller had five total hits. Masters tied his season high with four RBIs in game two and had Potomac’s fourth multi-HR game of the season. Potomac’s 16 hits in game one was the second highest total of the season, one shy of the season high. Stevenson’s three stolen bases in game one tied the Potomac 2016 single game high, which was also set by the former LSU outfielder. With the doubleheader sweep, the P-Nats sit four games behind the Lynchburg Hillcats, the closest the club has been to the division lead since May 13. Potomac has not been less than four games behind Lynchburg since the Hillcats swept the P-Nats in a doubleheader at Calvin Falwell Field in Lynchburg on May 4.

With a chance for a four-game road series sweep, the P-Nats will turn to (0-3, 5.02) Friday night in Frederick. Estevez picked up the loss vs. Frederick on May 20, as the righty allowed four earned runs over five innings at Nymeo Field. The Keys are set to counter with RHP Franderlin Romero (1-0, 1.50) who will make his first start of the year vs. Potomac. First pitch is set for 7:00pm at Nymeo Field.

With a chance for a four-game road series sweep, the P-Nats will turn to RHP Wirkin Estevez (0-3, 5.02) Friday night in Frederick. Estevez picked up the loss vs. Frederick on May 20th, as the righty allowed four earned runs over five innings at Nymeo Field. The Keys are set to counter with RHP Franderlin Romero (1-0, 1.50) who will make his first start of the year vs. Potomac. First pitch is set for 7:00pm at Nymeo Field.

June 3:

After a doubleheader sweep Thursday night, the Potomac Nationals (29-23 Overall, 15-13 Road) ran into an offense of the Frederick Keys (26-28 Overall, 10-17) that had been quiet for so long that it burst out in a big way. Frederick took a lead with a two-run home run in the first inning, Potomac plated three in the second, before the Keys scored 13 straight runs from the second through the eighth inning in route to a 15-3 final.

In his 10th start of the season, RHP Wirkin Estevez (L, 0-4) surrendered a two-run home run to 1B Cam Kneeland in the first inning, Kneeland’s fourth home run of the season. Potomac trailed 2-0 after one inning, but plated three runs in the second inning vs. RHP Franderlin Romero (W, 2-0). C Raudy Read, 3B Drew Ward, and 2B Bryan Mejia hit consecutive singles to start the frame, as Mejia’s base hit plated Read and made it 2-1. After LF Alec Keller walked, 1B David Masters grounded into a run-scoring double play, which tied the game. A wild pitch by Romero plated Mejia and put Potomac ahead 3-2, the P-Nats’ only lead of the game.

Estevez pitched just two innings, as he gave up five unearned runs in the second inning. C Jonah Heim led off the inning with a single before Estevez retired the next two hitters. He appeared to be out of the inning, as LF Jay Gonzalez hit a ground ball to Potomac SS Osvaldo Abreu. Abreu could not field it cleanly, as Gonzalez reached on the error. After 2B Steve Wilkerson singled and loaded the bases, Estevez walked Kneeland, which tied the game. DH Aderlin Rodriguez followed with a grand slam, which capped the five-run inning and put the Keys ahead 7-2.

In relief of Estevez, LHP Justin Thomas gave up five runs, three earned, over three innings. The Keys plated two in the fourth inning on a pair of hits and an error, then scored three runs in the fifth on an error, an RBI single by Gonzalez, and a two-RBI double by Wilkerson. Frederick led 12-3 after five innings.

The third pitcher of the game for the P-Nats, RHP Dakota Bacus allowed the final three runs of the game, as the Keys plated three runs in the eighth inning on RBI doubles by Rodriguez and CF Josh Hart. In all, Potomac allowed a season high 15 runs, which was also the most scored in a single game by the Keys in 2016. In the loss, Read had three hits for Potomac, while Mejia had two hits and Potomac’s lone RBI. Six of Frederick’s nine starters had multiple hits, while six different players had at least one RBI for the Keys.

Unable to pull off the sweep and paired with Lynchburg’s extra innings victory in Wilmington, Potomac sits five games out of the division race with three weeks left in the first half. The P-Nats will head to Myrtle Beach for the first time this season, as a four game series begins Saturday night.RHP Matthew Crownover (0-0, 0.00) is set to make his Potomac debut. The sixth round pick in 2015 out of Clemson went 5-1 with a 1.17 ERA with Hagerstown and was promoted on June 1st. The Pelicans will turn to RHP Zach Hedges (4-4, 2.35) in the series opener. Hedges allowed one run over six innings in a victory at Pfitzner Stadium on April 27th. First pitch is set for 7:05pm in Myrtle Beach.

June 4:

In their first trip to TicketReturn.com Field in 2016, the Potomac Nationals (29-24 Overall, 17-12 Road) fell victim to the long ball, as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (29-26 Overall, 14-14 Home) tallied two early home runs in route to a 6-2 victory over the P-Nats.

In his Potomac debut, LHP Matthew Crownover (L, 0-1) struggled to retire the leadoff hitter throughout the night. Myrtle Beach leadoff men went 4-5 with a walk vs. the lefty over his 5.2 inning outing. 3B Jason Vosler led off the bottom of the second inning with a home run, as his second home run of the season put Myrtle Beach up 1-0, a lead the Pelicans did not relinquish.

The second inning featured another leadoff extra base hit, the second of five extra base hits against Crownover. LF Charcer Burks led off the frame with a double and moved to third base on a fielder’s choice groundout by CF Rashad Crawford. Burks then scored on a sacrifice fly by 2B Ian Happ, and 1B Yasiel Balaguert followed with a two-run home run, his team best eighth home run of the season. Balaguert’s home run made it 4-0 Myrtle Beach and proved to be the difference in the game.

In his second start vs. Potomac, RHP Zach Hedges (W, 5-4) was nearly flawless through his first six innings. Through six, the righty gave up six hits, all singles, and did not walk a batter. After Myrtle Beach made it 5-0 on an RBI single by Crawford in the sixth, the P-Nats plated their only runs of the night vs. Hedges in the seventh. DH Khayyan Norfork led off the inning with a single and scored on an RBI double by RF Narciso Mesa. Two batters later, SS Osvaldo Abreu drove home Norfork with a single, which knocked Hedges out of the game. LHP Tommy Thorpe came in and issued a walk, but got a sensational grab from Crawford in centerfield to rob 3B Drew Ward of an extra-base hit.

Thorpe then struggled in the eighth, as he loaded the bases with one out. After he struck out LF Alec Keller to begin the inning, the lefty threw a ball away on a grounder by 2B Bryan Mejia, gave up a single to Norfork, and walked C Matt Reistetter. With the bases loaded, Myrtle Beach went to RHP James Farris (SV, 8). With the tying run at the plate, Farris entered in a save situation and struck out Mesa. Farris then got CF Andrew Stevenson to fly out to left field to end the inning. In the ninth, Farris retired the side in order to secure the Pelicans’ win.

In the loss, RHP Gilberto Mendez made his 2016 Potomac debut out of the bullpen. Mendez allowed one run over 2.1 innings. Crownover allowed 10 hits and five runs over 5.2 innings, but walked only one and struck out five in his debut. Stevenson, Ward, and Norfork each had two hits in the game, as eight of Potomac’s nine starters recorded at least one hit.

 June 5:

For the second time in three games, the Potomac Nationals (29-25 Overall, 17-13 Road) allowed a season high 15 runs. After a 15-3 loss to the Frederick Keys Friday night, the largest loss margin of the season for the P-Nats, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (30-26 Overall, 15-14 Home) exceeded that margin, as Potomac fell 15-0 Sunday night.

The game got away from Potomac quickly, as Potomac pitchers walked eight batters and gave up 14 runs over the first four innings. RHP Luis Reyes (L, 3-5) retired the first man that he faced, but then issued three straight walks. A double steal mixed in between, paired with an error by 3B Drew Wardon a throw from C Raudy Read plated SS Gleyber Torres and made it 1-0. Two batters later, a sacrifice fly by 3B Daniel Lockhart made it 2-0 Myrtle Beach.

The second inning nearly ended up as only a one-run frame, as 2B Ian Happ hit into a fielder’s choice groundout that could have been an inning-ending double play, but the turn from SS David Masters pulled 1B Jose Marmolejos off of the first base bag. Pelicans’ 1B Yasiel Balaguert took advantage, as he homered just pitches later, a three-run home run that made it 6-0 Myrtle Beach. C Gioskar Amaya followed Balaguert’s team best ninth home run of the season with his first, the first time an opponent has hit back-to-back home runs against the P-Nats in 2016. A two-out RBI single by RF Trey Martin knocked Reyes out of the game, as RHP Mario Sanchez struck out LF Shawon Dunston Jr. and ended the frame.

The Pelicans tagged Sanchez for a run on a two-out RBI single by Balaguert in the third, but Amaya hit into a bases loaded inning-ending double play. Myrtle Beach however then plated five runs against the righty in the fourth, all with two outs. CF Rashad Crawford had a two-RBI triple, and Happ followed two batters later with a three-run home run. Happ’s sixth home run of the season knocked Sanchez out, as LHP RC Orlan got the final out in the fourth. Orlan then gave up a run on a triple by 3B Daniel Lockhart and a sacrifice fly by Martin in the fifth. Martin’s second RBI of the game made it 15-0 Myrtle Beach, the eventual final.

On the hill for the Pelicans, RHP Trevor Clifton (W, 4-3) cruised through the better part of his six-shutout inning performance. Clifton allowed just four hits, all singles, walked one, and struck out six in the win. The righty allowed a single to Ward in the second inning, a single to Read in the fourth, and singles to DH Khayyan Norfork and Marmolejos in the sixth. Potomac went 0-4 with men in scoring position and left seven men on base in the loss.

Out of the pen, Myrtle Beach RHP Daniel Lewis struggled to command the strike zone, but allowed only one hit and walked one over two shutout frames. RHP Dillon Maples finished off the game for the Pelicans as he faced just three batters in the ninth inning. Ward reached on an error by Lockhart to start the ninth, LF Alec Keller hit into a double play, and RF Drew Vettleson grounded out to shortstop, which wrapped up the loss. Vettleson went 0-4 in his 2016 debut and Potomac did not have a man reach third base in the loss.

June 6:

Inclement weather has postponed Monday night’s game between the Potomac Nationals (29-25) and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (30-26) at TicketReturn.com Field.

The series will conclude with a pair of games Tuesday night starting at 5:05 pm. Both games will be scheduled for seven innings.

June 7:

Despite a valiant rally in the final frame of each half of Tuesday night’s doubleheader, the Potomac Nationals (29-27, 17-15 Home) failed to plate the tying run, as they dropped both halves of the twin bill 4-3 to the Myrtle beach Pelicans (32-26 Overall, 16-14 Home). The P-Nats entered the seventh inning in game one down 4-0, but plated three and left the tying man at third base. Potomac entered the seventh inning in game two down 4-2 and left the tying run at second base.

In game one Tuesday night, RHP Erick Leal (W, 8-2) shut out Potomac through the first six innings. Prior to the seventh, the P-Nats had just three hits, all singles. Meanwhile, the Pelicans quickly jumped on Potomac RHP Phillips Valdez (L, 6-3). The first three Myrtle Beach hitters of the game singled, as 2B Ian Happ’s RBI single made it 1-0 Myrtle Beach. After Valdez retired the next two men, RF Jeffrey Baez had a two-out RBI single. Two-out RBI hits became the major problem for Potomac in each game of the doubleheader.

Myrtle Beach made it 3-0 against Valdez in the third inning. SS Gleyber Torres led off the frame with a single, and a two-out RBI single by DH Jason Vosler plated the Pelicans’ third run of the game. Valdez went four innings, allowed seven singles, walked one, and struck out four in the loss.

In relief of Valdez, LHP Matthew Spann had trouble finding the strike zone. Spann walked the first two hitters in the fifth frame, but worked out of the jam. He could not do the same in the sixth, as again he walked the first two men that stepped in. CF Rashad Crawford had an RBI single, which made it 4-0, what proved to be a necessary hit for the Pelicans. The single knocked Spann out of the game, as RHP Tommy Peterson made his 2016 Potomac debut and got a bases loaded double play to keep the deficit at four.

The Potomac offense finally got going in the seventh and final frame. Leal came back to the hill in search of the complete game shutout, but DH Jose Marmolejos and C Raudy Read hit consecutive singles to start the inning and knocked the righty out of the game. LHP Tommy Thorpe entered and walked 3B Drew Ward, which loaded the bases for LF Alec Keller. Keller drove home a run on a groundout, before RF Drew Vettleson made it a one run game with a two-RBI double. Vettleson’s first 2016 Potomac hit brought on another pitching change, as RHP Ryan McNeil (SV, 3) entered in search of the save. SS Bryan Mejia grounded out to Torres, which moved Vettleson to third base, but 1B Grant DeBruin flied out to left field, which ended game one.

Game two got off to a nearly opposite start to game one. RHP Jeremy Null (W, 2-2), who entered the game with an ERA of 1.99, allowed a one-out first inning single to Mejia. Marmolejos followed with an opposite field, two-run home run, his eighth blast of the season. At 2-0, Potomac had its first lead of the four-game series. However, after the rough first inning, Null faced the minimum in each of the next five innings and kept Myrtle Beach within striking distance.

In his first 2016 start, RHP Dakota Bacus (ND) cruised through the first three innings vs. the Pelicans and faced just one over the minimum. The Pelicans though started the bottom of the fourth inning with a walk, and a double by Happ put the tying men in scoring position with no outs. 1B Yasiel Balaguert then grounded a ball down the third base line, just out of the reach of Ward. Balaguert’s two-run single tied the game. Bacus got a double play to help get out of the inning. The righty went four innings and allowed just two runs in his first start.

Out of the bullpen in game two, both LHP RC Orlan (L, 2-1) and RHP Ryan Brinley gave up a run in an inning of work. The two have been the two best back end relief pitchers for Potomac this season. Orlan gave up a single to DH Daniel Lockhart that started the fifth, and a two-out RBI single by Crawford put the Pelicans ahead. Against Brinley in the seventh, C Gioskar Amaya had a one-out single, and RF Trey Martin had a two-out RBI base hit. Martin’s RBI hit proved to be the game two winner.

Once again in the seventh, Potomac brought the deficit to one and left the tying man in scoring position. Ward led off the seventh with a solo home run, his team best ninth of the season. Null followed with consecutive strikeouts of Keller and CF Dale Carey, before Vettleson ended Null’s night with a double. The Pelicans then went to the pen in search of a one-out save. As LHP Jordan Minch (SV, 2) entered the game, the P-Nats pinch-hit Read for C Matt Reistetter. Read flied out to centerfield, which ended game two.

With two one-run losses Tuesday night, Potomac is now 5-8 in one-run games. The doubleheader sweep by the Pelicans highlighted their four-game sweep of the P-Nats. Potomac has now dropped five straight, a season high. The P-Nats got an extra base hit from Vettleson in the final frame in each game, but left the outfielder in scoring position both times.

With an off day Wednesday, the P-Nats will regroup and get set for a five-game, four-day series vs. the Frederick Keys. The series gets underway Thursday night at 7:05pm at Pfitzner Stadium.

Hagerstown Suns (Low-A South Atlantic League):

June 1: vs. Asheville W 9-7

June 2: @ Columbia W 6-3

June 3: @ Columbia W 6-2

June 4: @ Columbia W 2-1

June 6: @Asheville L 10-12 W 12-4

June 7: @ Asheville L 5-6

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