By Michael Marzzacco
Compiled via team press releases:
Syracuse (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs fell to the Pawtucket Red Sox, 2-1, Saturday night at McCoy Stadium. The two teams combined for only seven runs in the three-game series. Taylor Hill only allowed one earned run in the loss.
Pawtucket (72-68) started the scoring in the third inning. Jose Vinicio and Rusney Castillo hit back-to-back doubles to bring home a run and give the PawSox a 1-0 lead.
Castillo scored the PawSox second run in the fifth. Castillo reached first and moved to second on a throwing error on Matt Skole. Ryan LaMarre then singled, and Castillo ran through a stop sign to score the second run of the game.
Syracuse (61-80) got on the board in the sixth against Sean O’Sullivan. Skole singled with one out and scored a batter later on Jason Martinson‘s RBI double to cut the deficit to one. The Chiefs loaded the bases from there, but Roman Mendez got Christopher Bostick to fly out to end the threat. The Chiefs left 13 runners on base in the game.
The Chiefs hit the road for a quick turnaround with a 1:05 p.m. game against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at PNC Field Sunday. Aaron Laffey is scheduled to start for the Chiefs. The RailRiders have not name a starter for the game.
Harrisburg (AA Eastern League): The Harrisburg Senators split Saturday night’s doubleheader to keep their playoff hopes alive headed into the season’s last two games. Hartford overcame an early deficit in the first game, 3-2, and the Senators shut out the Yard Goats in the second game, 3-0. Harrisburg (74-66) needs to win their final two games paired with either Akron or Altoona losing both of theirs to qualify for the postseason.
In the first game of the twinbill, the Senators had Hartford starter Devin Burke on the ropes in the first inning. They scored a pair but squandered additional chances to break the game open as Andrew Stevenson was thrown out trying to steal third base and Adrian Sanchez struck out with the bases loaded to end the threat.
Burke settled down and the Yard Goats chipped away at the lead against Tyler Mapes scoring a single run in the second and third innings to tie it up. It would remain that way until the sixth when Hartford pulled off its second successful suicide squeeze bunt of the night to score the eventual game winner.
Mapes (12-10) tossed a complete game, his league-leading fourth of the season, scattering eight hits and walking two while striking out just one.
Rafael Bautista went 4-for-4 but the rest of the lineup struggled as the Senators failed to advance a baserunner past first base after the first inning.
In the nightcap of the doubleheader, the Senators once again jumped out to an early 2-0 lead as Nick Rickles launched a solo homer and Bautista singled home Sanchez. Rickles and Sanchez would once again factor into the scoring as they plated an insurance run in the sixth inning as the Senators increased their advantage to 3-0.
Unlike the first game, the Senators were able to hang on to the lead as John Simms and Wander Suero combined for the shutout against the Yard Goats. Simms (8-5) went five strong innings allowing four singles while striking out three and Suero locked down the victory.
The Senators once again square off against Hartford on Sunday afternoon at FNB Field as Phillips Valdez will be opposed by Zach Jemiola.
Potomac (High-A Carolina League): In the longest game of the season for the Potomac Nationals (72-64, 38-30), the visiting Myrtle Beach Pelicans (81-56, 45-22) celebrated a second half Southern Division title with a 5-4 14-inning win at Pfitzner Stadium. On their home soil, the P-Nats stranded eight runners on base in extra innings and left the winning run at third base in three straight frames. It was the second straight one-run loss for Potomac to the Pelicans.
The second game of the four-game series between the two squads got off to a disastrous start for LHP Matthew Crownover (ND) and the P-Nats. Crownover, who had given up just two earned runs in total over his past three starts, gave up a single to LF Charcer Burks to open the game and a base hit to CF Donnie Dewees one batter later. With two men on and no outs, 3B David Bote cleared everything in left field, as the third baseman’s sixth home run of the season made it 3-0 Myrtle Beach. Crownover settled in after that and struck out five straight in route to a career high nine strikeouts. The left-handed starter retired 16 of the next 17 Myrtle Beach batters after Bote’s first inning home run.
Potomac clawed its way back into the game with four runs spread over the first four innings against RHP Erick Leal (ND). Leal, who had given up just two total runs in his first three starts vs. Potomac, struggled to command his fastball and had trouble putting hitters away. After 17 strikeouts in his first three starts vs. the P-Nats, all victories, the righty did not strike out a single hitter over four innings. C Raudy Read got Potomac on the board with a two-out RBI double in the first inning, while LF Matt Page made it a one run game with an RBI groundout in the second frame.
Down 3-2 after 3.5 innings, the P-Nats’ bottom half of the order turned a deficit into a lead. After RF Drew Vettleson grounded out, SS Osvaldo Abreu and 2B Bryan Mejia each singled. Page lined out to centerfield, but with two strikes and two outs, 1B David Masters plated both runners with a double down the left field line. The P-Nats took a 4-3 lead into the fifth inning, their lone lead of the night.
A sloppy defensive sixth inning for Potomac allowed the Pelicans to get back into the game and score the final run until the final frame. 3B David Bote singled with one out. After Crownover struck out 1B Yasiel Balaguert, DH Ian Rice singled to centerfield, and a bobble by CF Victor Roblesallowed Bote to get to third base. The first error of the year for Robles proved to be costly, as with the tying run at third base, Read failed to handle a pitch up high from Crownover and was charged with a passed ball that allowed Bote to score. The defensive misplays made it 4-4, the score the teams took into extra innings and eventually the 14th frame.
After leaving a man in scoring position in the seventh and eighth innings, Potomac went quietly in the ninth and 10th against the Myrtle Beach bullpen. RHP Daniel Lewis entered to pitch the 11thinning and gave up a leadoff single to Vettleson. A sacrifice bunt by Abreu moved Vettleson to second base, while a groundout by Mejia put Vettleson at third base. With the winning run at third, the Pelicans intentionally walked Page, but Masters grounded out to SS Andrew Ely. In the 12th, DH Austin Davidson pinch hit for Dale Carey and walked. 3B Kelvin Gutierrez followed with a walk, and after Read popped out to Bote at third base, both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Myrtle Beach issued an intentional walk to Vettleson, which loaded the bases, but Abreu grounded into a force out at third base to end the inning.
Potomac’s best chance to win came in the 13th inning, as Mejia led off the frame with a single against Lewis. A successful hit and run put Mejia at third base and Page at first. With men on the corners and no outs, Masters grounded out to Ely, who threw Mejia out at the plate by a good margin. The Pelicans went back to the bullpen, as RHP Scott Effross (W, 1-0) got Robles to fly out. Narciso Mesa pinch ran for Page at second base and promptly stole third base, while Effross walked Davidson, which loaded the bases once again. For the third straight inning, Potomac came up short, as Gutierrez grounded out to Ely to end the frame.
In the top of the 14th inning, LHP RC Orlan (L, 5-6) became the fifth pitcher of the night for the P-Nats. C Tyler Pearson, who came in as a defensive replacement in the 10th inning, reached on an infield single to third base to start the frame. A wild pitch by Orlan allowed Pearson to get to second base, while a fly out to right field from Burks got Pearson to third base with one out. With the infield drawn in, Dewees singled sharply through the right side of the infield, which plated Pearson and put the Pelicans on top 5-4. Orlan stranded a man at third base, though the P-Nats went quickly in the bottom of the frame. Read began the bottom of the 14th with a bloop single to centerfield, but after Vettleson struck out, Abreu grounded into a game-ending double play.
In a matchup that took 4:42, the two teams left 25 total men on base and went a combined 5-31 with RISP. Myrtle Beach’s only hits with a man in scoring position were Bote’s first inning home run and Dewees’ 14th inning go-ahead RBI single. The Pelicans guaranteed themselves a game one at home in the first round of the Southern Division playoffs vs. the Salem Red Sox with a win, while a loss by the Lynchburg Hillcats dropped Potomac’s magic number to host game one of the first round of the Northern Division playoffs to two.
Down in the series two games to none, Potomac is set to start RHP Austen Williams (4-5, 4.75) Sunday night. Williams has given up six earned runs on eight hits in each of his last two starts, both Potomac losses, and the righty is 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA in two starts vs. the Pelicans. For Myrtle Beach, RHP James Pugliese (6-5, 3.87) is set to start the third game of the series. Pugliese pitched one inning out of the bullpen on Thursday and did not allow a run, nor did he allow a run in his last start, as he gave up just two hits over six-shutout frames in a win over Wilmington. Pugliese is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in three relief outings vs. Potomac this season. First pitch Sunday night is set for 6:05pm.
Hagerstown (Low-A South Atlantic): Scott Burcham singled four times as the Asheville Tourists defeated the Hagerstown Suns 5-2 in the South Atlantic League on Saturday.
Chris Rabago tripled and doubled with two RBIs for Asheville (66-70, 32-35).
Hagerstown (81-57, 38-30) started the scoring in the second inning when Rhett Wiseman hit a solo home run and Edwin Lora added a sacrifice fly.
After Asheville scored a run in the second on a ground out, the Tourists took the lead for good with two runs in the fourth. Mylz Jones and Chris Keck hit RBI singles en route to the one-run lead.
The Tourists tacked on a run in both the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, Rabago hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Burcham, while Carlos Herrera hit an RBI single in the sixth.
Asheville right-hander Trey Killian (12-6) picked up the win, allowing two runs on seven hits over seven innings.
Tyler Watson (1-1) took the loss after giving up four runs and nine hits over five innings.
The Suns and Tourists will play today and Monday to close the regular season.
Hagerstown will then play in the best-of-three Northern Division championship series, traveling to Lakewood for Game 1 on Wednesday.
Auburn (Short Season-A New York Penn League): The Auburn Doubledays, Single-A Short Season affiliate of the Washington Nationals, lost to the West Virginia Black Bears, 5-0, on Saturday night at Falcon Park. Oliver Ortiz had the only hit of the game for the Doubledays.
West Virginia (37-37) scored first in the top of the second inning. Albert Baur began the inning with a single. With Chris Harvey batting, a wild pitch allowed Baur to move to second base. Harvey followed with a ground out to shortstop, but Baur moved to third base on the play. Baur then scored on a Hunter Owen ground out to shortstop to give West Virginia a 1-0 lead.
The Black Bears added to their lead in the fourth inning. With two outs Owen doubled. Nick King followed with a double to right field that allowed Owen to score to put the Black Bears up 2-0.
West Virginia scored again in the sixth inning. Kevin Krause walked to begin the inning. Albert Baur then hit an infield single. On the play, a throwing error allowed Krause to advance to third base and Baur to move to second. After a Harvey strikeout, Owen hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Krause for a 3-0 West Virginia advantage.
The Black Bears extended their lead in the seventh inning. Erik Forgione walked to lead off the inning. With Sandy Santos batting, Forgione stole second base. Santos then struck out for the first out of the inning. Ty Moore followed with a base hit to center field that scored Forgione to give the Black Bears a 4-0 lead.
West Virginia capped off the scoring with a run in the eighth. Krause singled to start the inning. Baur then grounded into a fielder’s choice in which Krause was out at second base, but Baur was safe at first. Harvey followed with a single to put runners on the corners. Owen then grounded into a fielder’s choice that scored Baur to extend the Black Bears’ lead to five.
The Doubledays (28-44) couldn’t find a rhythm on the offensive end. Auburn collected just one hit in the game en route to the 5-0 loss.
Auburn goes on the road for the final two days of the season. On Sunday the Doubledays play the Muckdogs in Batavia. The teams will conclude a game that was suspended from August 13th. The game will resume at 2:05 p.m. on Sunday with Auburn batting in the bottom of the third inning. The teams will then play a seven-inning game that will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the suspended game. Right-hander Dane Dunning will continue as the pitcher for the suspended game, while right-hander Steven Fuentes will start the second game.