By Michael Marzzacco
From staff and wire reports:
Syracuse (AAA International League):
The Syracuse Chiefs fell to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, 4-3, in 10 innings Monday afternoon to complete their 2016 season. Joe Ross threw three innings of one-run ball on Major League rehab, and Austin Voth gave the Chiefs six and two-thirds innings pitched in relief. Jhonatan Solano drove in all three Chiefs runs Monday.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (91-52) started the scoring in the first against Ross. Clint Frazier hit a one-out solo home run to left field to give the RailRiders a 1-0 lead.
Syracuse (61-82) answered in the fourth. Neftali Soto singled against Richard Belier to start the fourth and Jason Martinson followed with a single two batters later. The runners moved up to second and third on a groundout to second, and with two outs, Jhonatan Solano singled down the right-field line, scoring both runners to give the Chiefs at 2-1 lead.
Solano added to his total in the sixth. Martinson singled with two outs, and after a walk, Solano knocked his second RBI hit of the game to center to score Martinson and give the Chiefs a 3-1 lead.
The RailRiders got back on the board in the seventh. After Voth retired nine straight in relief of Ross out of the bullpen, Chris Parmelee reached on an error on Wilmer Difo. Two batters later, Jake Cave replaced Parmelee at first base after a force out at second. Kyle Higashioka followed with the first RailRiders hit since the first inning, doubling home Cave with an unearned run. Then Voth walked Jose Rosario, and Cito Culver singled down the right-field line to score Higashioka and tie the game.
The game remained tied until the tenth. The RailRiders loaded the bases on a walk, intentional walk, and another walk. With two outs, Cesar Puello launched a ball off the wall in center field to score Culver for the walk-off win.
The Syracuse Chiefs finished the 2016 season with a 61-82 record. Syracuse opens the 2017 season on Thursday, April 6th at NBT Bank Stadium against the Rochester Red Wings.
Harrisburg (AA Eastern League):
In a game rendered meaningless to the playoff picture by the outcome 220 miles south in Richmond, the Harrisburg Senators had one last piece of magic left in them as they scored three runs for a 5-4 walk-off win over the Hartford Yard Goats in front of 4,369 fans at FNB Field. Harrisburg (76-66) became the first Eastern League team since 2002 to miss the playoffs with at least 76 wins.
In the ninth inning, the Senators loaded the bases off Hartford closer Jerry Vasto as Nick Rickles, Adrian Sanchez, and Khayyan Norfork each singled. Pinch-hitter Isaac Ballou evened the score at 4-4 with a single to right that scored Rickles and Sanchez. Two more singles, the last one by Jose Marmolejos, proved to be the difference as Ballou coasted home on the first baseman’s line drive.
The Yard Goats got to Harrisburg starter J.D. Martin in the first inning as they used a couple of flares and stolen bases to put up an early two-spot. But Martin, called up earlier in the day from Potomac, settled down and knuckled his way through an efficient eight innings while allowing four runs on seven hits (all singles) and two walks.
Harrisburg chipped away at the lead, scoring single runs in the fifth and seventh frames, but were unable to draw closer until the final inning that decided the game.
Rafael Bautista led the offense going 4-for-5 with two runs batted in, while Marmolejos and Sanchez chipped in with three hits apiece in the wining effort.
The Senators kick off the 2017 campaign on Opening Night, Thursday April 6th at 7:00 p.m. against the Altoona Curve at FNB Field.
Potomac (High-A Carolina League): Needing a victory to assure a home playoff game, the Potomac Nationals (73-65, 39-31) tallied a run in the first inning and took a shutout into the ninth inning in route to an easy 3-1 win over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (82-57, 46-23). RHP Whit Mayberry (W, 4-4) allowed a hit in the first inning and did not allow another base hit over seven-shutout frames.
After falling behind early in the first three games of the series, all losses, Potomac saw RF Daniel Spingola double with one out in the first inning, but Mayberry stranded the right fielder in scoring position. Stepping up to the plate not trailing for the first time in three days, the P-Nats tagged RHP Jeremy Null (L, 5-6) for a run in the bottom of the first. CF Victor Robles led off with a single and 3B Austin Davidson followed with a base hit. After Null retired DH Stephen Drew and SS Osvaldo Abreu, 2B Bryan Mejia made it 1-0 with a two-out RBI single to right field.
The sole run in the first was more than enough for Mayberry. Over seven innings, just four Myrtle Beach hitters reached base. Spingola doubled in the first, SS Andrew Ely drew a walk in the second, 3B Jesse Hodges reached on an error by Abreu in the fifth frame, and 1B Ian Rice reached on an error by Davidson in the seventh. Mayberry struck out a career high nine in the victory.
The P-Nats plated a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. After RHP Craig Brooks struck out the side in the fourth in relief of Null, the righty gave up consecutive one-out singles to Robles and Davidson. After Robles reached on a bunt single, Brooks’ throw went past first base, which allowed the centerfielder to get to second base, and then score on Davidson’s single to left field. After Brooks hit Drew with a pitch, Abreu made it 3-0 with an RBI single. The P-Nats left two men on in the frame and nine in the game.
Mayberry turned the ball over to RHP Gilberto Mendez for the eighth inning, and despite a two-out single by LF Charcer Burks, Mendez put another zero on the scoreboard for Potomac. RHP Ryan Brinley (SV, 16) entered for the ninth inning against the heart of the Myrtle Beach lineup. 2B Bryan Flete reached on an error by Mejia to lead off the inning, Potomac’s third error of the game. After Brinley retired the next two hitters, CF Jeffrey Baez brought the tying run to the plate with a single to left field, and Ely made it 3-1 with an RBI single. With the tying runs on base, Brinley got Hodges to fly out to left field, which secured a victory and a home playoff game for the P-Nats.
Potomac is set to host the Lynchburg Hillcats Wednesday night in the first game of the Northern Division Championship Series. RHP Boone Whiting (11-3, 3.45) is slated to start the series opener for Potomac. Whiting has allowed one earned run in each of his last two starts, both victories. The righty is 4-0 with a 2.35 ERA in five starts this season vs. Lynchburg. For Lynchburg, RHP Matt Esparza (2-4, 3.92) is scheduled to start the first game of the series. Esparza has picked up the loss in each of his last two outings, as the righty has surrendered 10 earned runs in his last nine innings. Esparza is 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA in three starts vs. Potomac in 2016. First pitch Wednesday night at Pfitzner Stadium is set for 7:05pm.
The Potomac Nationals Baseball Network will carry live coverage beginning with the “P-Nats Leadoff Show” at 6:50pm. P-Nats Gameday Audio on the Potomac Nationals Baseball Network is available at www.potomacnationals.com or via the TuneIn Radio App.
Hagerstown (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns tuned up for the South Atlantic League playoffs on Sunday.
The middle of Hagerstown’s batting order accounted for 10 hits in a 9-5 win over Asheville in the final game of the regular season.
The Suns (83-57, 40-30) will face Lakewood in the best-of-3 Northern Division playoffs, beginning on Wednesday.
Rhett Wiseman and Jake Noll had four hits each for Hagerstown.
Noll had a hand in Hagerstown rallies in the sixth and ninth innings to help the Suns put the game away.
Hagerstown led 4-1 until adding three runs in the sixth.
Noll led off with a single off Asheville starter Drasen Johnson. He took second on Jakson Reetz’s single and scored when Tyler Beckwith reached on an error.
After Sam Thoele replaced Johnson, Jack Sundberg hit a two-run double to give the Suns a 7-1 lead.
The Tourists (66-72, 32-37) rallied to within 7-5 before the Suns put up two insurance runs in the ninth inning.
Grant DeBruin and Noll each singled against Asheville reliever Salvador Justo and they scored on a two-run double by Reetz.
Hagerstown scored two in the first and single runs in the second and third to take the early 4-1 lead. Telmito Agustin hit a solo home run in the second.
Hagerstown left-hander Grant Borne (5-2) picked up the win, allowing one run on five hits over five innings. Johnson (7-5) took the loss, allowing seven runs and 12 hits over 5 2/3 innings.
Sundberg, Wiseman and Reetz each drove in two runs for the Suns. Hagerstown collected 19 hits.
Hagerstown finished 13-7 against Asheville.
Auburn (Short Season-A New York Penn League): The Auburn Doubledays dropped their regular season finale on the road on Labor Day to the Batavia Muckdogs 4-3. Yonathan Ramirez got the loss dropping his record to 4-3. He gave up the game-winning run in the seventh inning.
The Doubledays took a 1-0 lead in the second with an RBI double by Ryan Ripken that scored Tres Barrera. After giving up 2 runs they tied the game in the fourth with a sacrifice fly by Barrera that scored Juan Soto. They tied the game again in the top of the seventh before giving up the eventual game-winner in the bottom of that inning on a home run by Daniel Johnson Jr. The Doubledays finish with a 28-47 record for fifth place in the six team Pickney division.