Washington Nationals Minor League Notebook April 8

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Courtesy of the Potomac Nationals

By Michael Marzzacco

The Chiefs began the season on Saturday and everyone else was in action as well. Here’s what happened yesterday.

Compiled via team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League):

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Joe Ross got the Opening Day start for the Chiefs on Saturday (Danny Tripodi)

The Syracuse Chiefs fell to the Rochester Red Wings, 10-0, on Saturday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium. Jose Berrios held the Chiefs to just four hits in six strong innings. He also struck out seven. Rafael Bautista and Grant Green each tallied hits in their Chiefs debuts.

Rochester (1-0) kicked off scoring in the second inning. Mitch Garver smacked a line drive double to deep left, scoring Daniel Palka to give the Red Wings a 1-0 lead.

Garver came up big for the Red Wings again in the third. The Rochester catcher doubled to left, bringing home two runs to extend the lead to three. Ben Paulsen then reached on an error on Corban Joseph, plating Palka for a 4-0 advantage.

Syracuse (0-1) saw its starter Joe Ross go two and one-third innings, allowing seven hits and three earned runs in his season debut.

The Red Wings’ bats broke the game open in the seventh. With the bases loaded, Palka knocked an RBI single against Dustin Antolin to make the score 5-0. After a bases loaded walk, the Chiefs turned to relief pitcher Michael Broadway. Paulsen met him with a grand slam to push the lead to 10-0.

The Chiefs finish their opening series against the Red Wings in a doubleheader Sunday afternoon with game one starting at 1:05 PM. Jacob Turner is scheduled to start for the Chiefs opposite Nick Tepesch in game one. Meanwhile, Taylor Hill is slated to start game two. Rochester’s game two starter has not been announced.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern):

Game 1: Osvaldo Abreu scored on a groundout in the fourth inning, leading the Harrisburg Senators to a 6-4 win over the Altoona Curve in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday.

Ryan Brinley struck Chase Simpson out with a runner on first to end the game for his first save of the season.

The run by Abreu, part of a four-run inning, gave the Senators a 1-0 lead before Adrian Sanchez hit a three-run home run later in the inning.

Following the big inning, the Curve cut into the deficit in the next half-inning when Kevin Newman hit an RBI single, bringing home Elvis Escobar.

The Senators later tacked on two runs in the fifth when Neftali Soto hit an RBI single and then scored on a double by Raudy Read to secure the victory.

Altoona saw its comeback attempt come up short after Kevin Kramer hit a three-run home run in the seventh inning to cut the Harrisburg lead to 6-4.

Harrisburg right-hander Erick Fedde (1-0) picked up the win after allowing one run on four hits over five innings. Opposing starter Brandon Waddell (0-1) took the loss in the Eastern League game after allowing four runs and three hits over four innings.

Game 2: Pablo Reyes hit a solo home run in the first inning, leading the Altoona Curve to a 5-1 win over the Harrisburg Senators in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday.

The home run by Reyes started the scoring in a three-run inning and gave the Curve a 1-0 lead. Later in the inning, Connor Joe hit an RBI triple and then scored on a double by Wyatt Mathisen.

The Senators cut into the deficit in the second inning when Alec Keller scored on a ground out.

The Curve added to their lead in the sixth when Tomas Morales hit a two-run double.

Sean Keselica (1-0) got the win with two innings of scoreless relief while Harrisburg starter Mark Blackmar (0-1) took the loss in the Eastern League game.

The teams split the doubleheader after Harrisburg won the first game 6-4.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): A back and forth battle early turned into a parade of zeroes on the scoreboard, as the Potomac Nationals (1-1) scored a single run in three of the first four innings, while the Wilmington Blue Rocks (1-1) came back and tied the game each time. After the Blue Rocks scored in the bottom of the fifth, the teams posted consecutive zeroes until SS Edwin Lora hit his first Carolina League home run, a solo blast in the 12thinning, which proved to be the difference in a 4-3 win for the P-Nats.

With veteran LHP Hector Silvestre (ND) on the mound, the P-Nats took an early 1-0 lead on a solo home run by 2B Bryan Mejia in the second inning. The Blue Rocks quickly answered with a pair of extra base hits in the home half of the frame, as CF Brandon Downes led off with a triple and later scored on a two-out RBI double by 3B Wander Franco.

RHP Scott Blewett (ND) settled down and retired the first two men that he faced in the third inning, but DH Austin Davidson had a two-out single, and 1B Ian Sagdal made it 2-1 Potomac with a two-strike, two-out, RBI double. Just as soon as Potomac had taken its second lead of the night, the Blue Rocks answered, courtesy of a leadoff home run from DH Colton Frabasilio in the bottom of the third.

With the game tied at two, Mejia led off the fourth frame with a single, and moved to third base on a single by Lora. C Jake Lowery made it 3-2 Potomac with a sacrifice fly. However, Silvestre was unable to hold the lead, as he was charged with a run in the fifth inning. The four-year Potomac player issued a leadoff walk to Frabasilio before LHP Grant Borne replaced him on the mound. Borne retired SS Nicky Lopez, got 2B DJ Burt to ground into a fielder’s choice, but surrendered a single to RF Elier Hernandez. With two men on and two outs, Downes hit a ground ball down the third base line. Potomac 3B Kelvin Gutierrez knocked it down, but his throw to first base pulled Sagdal off the bag, and Burt raced around third and scored on the throw. That was the final run of the night until Lora’s home run in the 12th inning.

Borne settled in after he allowed the inherited runner to score, as the left-handed reliever retired 12 of the next 13 Wilmington hitters that he faced. Borne allowed just four hits and struck out four over 4.2 innings.

The Blue Rocks threatened to walk-off with a win in the bottom of the ninth inning, as Borne gave up consecutive two-out singles to Frabasilio and Lopez. RHP Kyle Schepel came out of the Potomac bullpen to face Burt, who grounded out to second base, which ended the threat.

Wilmington threatened again in the 11th inning, again with two outs. Schepel walked 1B Roman Collins and gave up a single to DH Jonathan McCray, who had pinch run in the ninth inning. RHP Dakota Bacus (W, 1-0) entered to face Lopez. The Wilmington shortstop hit a line drive right at Mejia, who had to leave his feet to make the catch and save the game.

Still deadlocked at three a piece, RHP Andres Machado (L, 0-1) returned for his second inning of work in the 12th inning. After RF Rhett Wiseman struck out, Lora had just Potomac’s second hit since the fourth inning, a solo home run into the Wilmington bullpen beyond the left field wall.

The Potomac bullpen combination of Borne, Schepel, and Bacus tossed a combined eight shutout innings, while the Wilmington bullpen allowed just two hits over seven innings of relief.

With the series now level, the rubber match is set to take place on Sunday afternoon. RHP Jefry Rodriguez (0-0, 0.00) is set to make his Potomac debut, while LHP Emilio Ogando (0-0, 0.00) will make his first Carolina League start for Wilmington. First pitch is set for 1:35pm.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic League):

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Carter Kieboom. Photo courtesy of the Hagerstown Suns

Teen phenom Carter Kieboom launched the go-ahead home run in a 2-1 victory over the Asheville Tourists (1-2) and then combined with the rest of the Suns (2-1) for 14 hits in a 16-2 victory to complete a Saturday doubleheader sweep.

The first of two 7-inning games served as a makeup for the Suns season opener that was rained out on Thursday. Hagerstown took the lead in the bottom of the 6th with a two-run homer by Kieboom, his first in the South Atlantic League. The 19-year-old shortstop, drafted 28th overall by the Washington Nationals last year, is now batting .556 with the Suns this season.

Suns starter Carlos Acevedo threw five scoreless innings, allowing just three hits, before giving way to Sam Held (Win, 1-0) out of the bullpen. Trailing 2-0 in the top of the seventh, Asheville cut the deficit to one with an RBI groundout by Joel Diaz and moved the tying runner to third base, but Held slammed the door by striking out Max George to end the game.

In the second game, the Tourists jumped out to a 1-0 lead, but the Suns hit back with six runs in the bottom of the first, highlighted by a three-run homer from Daniel Johnson. The Suns centerfielder added another round-tripper in the fourth to reach a career-high five RBI.

Suns third baseman Sheldon Neuse also tallied five RBI with a grand slam during a six-run bottom of the fifth. The Suns added four more runs in the fifth when first baseman Anderson Franco ripped a two-run triple to the wall in center and took advantage of a throwing error to score on the play.

Southpaw starter McKenzie Mills (Win, 1-0) earned his first victory as a Sun by giving up just one run on two hits in five innings of work during the nightcap.

On Sunday, the Suns host the Tourists in Hagerstown for the final time during the 2017 regular season. Suns righty Weston Davis goes to the mound against 2016 Colorado Rockies first-round-pick Riley Pint.

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