Washington Nationals Minor League Notebook April 11

Municipal Stadium

By Michael Marzzacco

Compiled via team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs fell to the Pawtucket Red Sox, 5-4, Tuesday night at McCoy Stadium. Brandon Snyder drove in two runs to give the Chiefs the lead in the fifth, but the PawSox answered with three in the bottom of the inning to earn the win.

Pawtucket (3-3) began the scoring on a first-inning home run for the second night in a row. Blake Swihart homered with one out off A.J. Cole to give the PawSox a 1-0 lead.
Syracuse (1-4) immedietly answered in the next half inning, also for the second night in a row. Matt Skole walked with one out against Hector Velazquez, followed by a Pedro Severino single. Grant Green then grounded to first base. Sam Travis fielded, but his throw to second to try and start the double play was wide and went into left field, allowing Skole to score on the error and tie the game.
The Chiefs grabbed another run in the third. Rafael Bautista walked with one out and stole second base. Bautista scored on a Clint Robinson single to give Syracuse the lead.
The PawSox tied the game in the bottom of the inning. Jantzen Witte walked with one out, reached second on Rusney Castillo’s single, and scored on an RBI single by Swihart to again square the game.
The fifth inning proved decisive. First for the Chiefs, Irving Falu and Rafael Bautista singled back-to-back. After a strikeout, the PawSox turned to Edgar Olmos out of the bullpen. Olmos walked Robinson, and Snyder singled home two runs to give the Chiefs a two-run lead. Olmos then walked Skole, but struck out Pedro Severino with the bases loaded to keep the lead at two.
The lead would be short lived. In the bottom of the fifth, Junior Lake and Witte each walked to start the frame. Syracuse turned to Dustin Antolin out of the bullpen, who allowed an RBI double to Castillo to cut the lead to one. Swihart followed with a sacrifice fly to tie the game, his third RBI on the day. Then after a walk, Matt Dominguez broke the tie with a single to give the PawSox the eventual final margin of 5-4.
The Chiefs and PawSox return to McCoy Stadium Thursday afternoon for a 4:05 p.m. start. Matt Grace will start for Syracuse opposite Shawn Haviland for Pawtucket.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Ryan Castellani, Austin Wright and Shane Broyles combined for a shutout as the Hartford Yard Goats defeated the Harrisburg Senators 4-0 on Tuesday.

Castellani (1-1) picked up the win after he struck out eight and walked two while allowing four hits over five scoreless innings. John Simms (0-1) went six innings, allowing two runs and two hits while striking out three in the Eastern League game. Broyles pitched three scoreless innings for his first save of the season.

Up 1-0 in the sixth, Hartford added to its lead when Max White hit a solo home run.

The Yard Goats later tacked on a run in both the seventh and eighth innings. In the seventh, Josh Fuentes hit an RBI triple, while Ryan McMahon hit an RBI single in the eighth.

White homered and doubled, scoring two runs in the win.

The Senators were blanked for the first time this season, while the Yard Goats’ staff also registered their first shutout of the year.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): One night after a rout offensively, the Potomac Nationals (3-2) had the tables turned on them by the Frederick Keys (2-3), as the hometown club tallied 16 runs and 15 hits in a 16-6 win. The Keys hit four home runs, which included a grand slam as part of a seven-run sixth inning.

Potomac loaded the bases with nobody out in the first inning but did not score, and then left runners in scoring position in each of the next two innings. On the opposite side, 2B Stephen Wilkerson led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo home run off of RHP Wirkin Estevez (L, 0-1). In the third inning, the Keys used a pair of two-run home runs, one by SS Ryan Mountcastle and one by 3B Jomar Reyes, as they took a 5-0 lead. Estevez, who allowed just six home runs in 59 innings in 2016, surrendered three home runs over 4.2 innings Tuesday night. The right-handed starter was charged with seven runs in his 2017 debut.

Down 5-0 after three innings, Potomac plated four consecutive runs between the fourth and fifth frames. RHP Ofelky Peralta (ND) struggled to throw strikes over four innings, but the starter gave up just one run. LF Telmito Agustin reached on a bases loaded fielder’s choice groundout, which made it 5-1 Frederick in the fourth inning.

LHP Luis Gonzalez (W, 1-0) struggled mightily on the mound in the fifth inning in relief for the Keys, his lone inning of work. Gonzalez allowed a leadoff single and walked the next two batters before he struck out 2B Bryan Mejia with the bases loaded. RF Rhett Wiseman made it 5-2 with an RBI single, and C Jake Lowery cut the deficit to one run with a two-out, two-run single, though Potomac left the tying run at third base.

Immediately after getting the deficit back to one, the Potomac pitching staff saw the Keys answer. CF Austin Hays led off the fifth frame vs. Estevez with a single, and after two groundouts, Reyes made it 6-4 with an RBI base hit. LHP Taylor Guilbeau replaced Estevez and allowed three straight men to reach base. DH Drew Turbin walked, 1B Alex Murphy walked, and C Stuart Levy made it 8-4 with a two-run single.

The P-Nats plated two runs in the sixth inning on an RBI triple by 3B Kelvin Gutierrez and a wild pitch, but the Keys exploded for seven runs in the home half of the frame. One run scored on an error by Gutierrez, another on a single by Reyes, and one more on a bases loaded HBP. With the bases full, Murphy hit a grand slam over the right field wall, as the Keys scored seven runs and sent 10 men to the plate in the frame. Frederick added a run in the seventh inning against RHP Kyle Schepel, which made it 16-6, the eventual final. RHP Cory Jones (SV, 1) allowed two runs over four innings for the Keys. Guilbeau was charged with eight runs, seven earned, over 1.1 innings.

All nine Frederick starters had at least one hit, while eight of the nine scored at least one run, as they flipped the script from what Potomac managed offensively Monday night. For Potomac, DH Austin Davidson had three hits, while Wiseman had his second straight multi-hit effort.

The rubber match on Wednesday will be a morning affair at Nymeo Field. RHP Luis Reyes (0-1, 3.60) will make his second start of the season for Potomac. He allowed just two runs on one hit in the season opener vs. Wilmington, but picked up the loss. For the Keys, LHP Keegan Akin (0-0, 81.00) will look to make it out of the first inning in the start, something he was unable to do last time out. Akin allowed six runs, two home runs, and recorded just two outs in a no-decision in his 2017 debut. First pitch is set for 11:00am.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): As rain and wind started blowing through Municipal Stadium in the 15th inning, Suns third baseman Sheldon Neuse looped a double into right field that bounced away from Lakewood outfielder Carlos Duran and scored Juan Soto from first base to secure a thrilling 4-3 walkoff win on Tuesday night.

The Suns and BlueClaws played for four hours and ten minutes; the longest game in the four-year tenure of Suns manager Patrick Anderson.

Hagerstown reliever Mick VanVossen suffered a blown save in the top of the ninth on an unearned run. With one out and Lakewood runners at first and third, VanVossen induced a double-play grounder, but alert base running by Duran during a rundown allowed David Martinelli to score the tying-run from third base before the third out was recorded.

For the first time this season, the Suns went to extra innings and enjoyed two scoreless frames from VanVossen, followed by three shutout innings from Sam Held and a perfect inning by Jordan Mills in the 15th.

Mills earned his first win after Soto led off with a walk in the bottom of the 15th and Neuse brought him home for a team-leading eighth RBI. It was the second straight day Neuse plated Soto for the go-ahead run.

The Suns took their first lead, 3-2, in the bottom of the sixth on back-to-back RBIs by left fielder Nick Banks and first baseman Aldrem Corredor, their first of the season. Banks finished 3-for-6 at the plate while shortstop Carter Kieboom went 3-for-7, improving his team-best batting average to .458 this season.

Suns pitchers held 2016 Philadelphia Phillies first-overall draft pick Mickey Moniak without a hit. The 19-year-old centerfielder is now just 1-for-11 at the plate in Hagerstown.

Sterling Sharp made his first start on the mound in the South Atlantic League and took a no-decision after giving up two runs in five innings while striking out four and James Bourque followed with three scoreless innings.

The Suns go for a three-game sweep of the BlueClaws on Wednesday night at Municipal Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.


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