Washington Nationals Minor League Notebook: April 14

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Courtesy of the Syracuse Chiefs

By Michael Marzzacco

Compiled via team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International):

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Brian Goodwin’s RBI single led a two-run rally in the third inning on Friday. (Rick Nelson)

The Syracuse Chiefs nicked the Rochester Red Wings, 3-2, Friday afternoon at Frontier Field. Corban Joseph doubled in the winning run in the ninth inning, while three Syracuse relievers combined for four nearly perfect innings in back of Jacob Turner. The win snapped the Chiefs’ three-game losing streak overall and six-game losing streak against the Red Wings.

Rochester (5-3) started the scoring in the first inning. J.B. Shuck singled to lead off against Turner. Two batters later, after Tommy Field replaced Shuck at first on a fielder’s choice, Matt Hague singled to put runners on first and second. Kennys Vargas then grounded a single down the third-base line, scoring Field for a 1-0 Red Wings lead.
Syracuse (2-6) posted two runs in the third. Joseph doubled to start the inning against Nick Tepesch. After a strikeout, Rafael Bautista picked up his first Chiefs RBI with a double to left field, tying the game at one. Brian Goodwin followed with an RBI single to score Bautista and give the Chiefs the lead.
The Red Wings tied the game in the fifth. John Ryan Murphy singled to center to start the inning against Turner and moved to second on a wild pitch. Shuck followed with a single to right to put runners on first and third. Field then hit a sacrifice fly to left, plating Murphy to tie the game.
The game remained tied until the ninth. After five innings of two-run ball, Turner gave way to Neal Cotts, who retired all six batters he faced in a perfect sixth and seventh. Dustin Antolin followed with a scoreless eighth, erasing a Hague single with a Vargas double play.
On the other side, Tepesch recovered nicely from a rocky third, tossing eight innings for the Red Wings. The right-hander threw 71 strikes in 96 pitches, allowing just one hit after the third inning while posting eight strikeouts.
The Chiefs grabbed the lead in the ninth. Matt Skole singled to center field off Drew Rucinski to start the inning. Two batters later, Caleb Ramsey walked. Joseph then doubled for the second time, scoring Skole to give Syracuse a 3-2 lead.
New Chiefs right-hander Joe Nathan shut the door with a 1-2-3 ninth. Nathan picked up his 382nd career save and first in a Syracuse uniform.
The Chiefs and Red Wings will tussle Saturday in the middle game of a three-game set. Right-hander Taylor Hill and left-hander Jason Wheeler, a pair of former I.L. All-Stars, will match up at 1:35.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Sean Coyle homered and had two hits, and David Hess allowed just two hits over six innings as the Bowie Baysox topped the Harrisburg Senators 3-2 on Friday. Garrett Cleavinger got Mario Lisson to ground out with a runner on first to end the game for his first save of the season.

Hess (1-0) allowed two runs while striking out four and walking one to pick up the win. Bowie started the scoring in the first inning when Coyle hit a solo home run. Trailing 3-1, the Senators cut into the deficit in the sixth inning when Alec Keller hit an RBI single, scoring Andrew Stevenson.

Austen Williams (1-1) went five innings, allowing three runs and seven hits in the Eastern League game. He also struck out three and walked two.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina): Despite a home run and three RBIs from C Taylor Gushue, the Potomac Nationals (5-3) dropped the second game of a four game series to the Wilmington Blue Rocks (3-5) Friday night. The Blue Rocks jumped out to a 4-0 lead and held on for a 4-3 win, as Potomac got as close as the tying man at third base in the bottom of the eighth inning.

For the second straight night, the Blue Rocks scored first. After Potomac RHP Jefry Rodriguez (L, 0-1) struck out the first batter of the game, he gave up two straight singles and then walked RF Anderson Miller. With the bases loaded, C Chase Vallot made it 1-0 with a sacrifice fly, and the Blue Rocks left men at second and third base in the frame.

In the third inning, the Blue Rocks got a leadoff single by SS Nicky Lopez. After a sacrifice bunt by 2B DJ Burt, CF Elier Hernandez made it 3-0 with a two-run home run, his first home run of the season. Wilmington capped off its scoring with a single run against Rodriguez in the sixth inning, as Vallot and LF Roman Collins hit back-to-back doubles, the latter made it 4-0.

Potomac managed very little offense against Wilmington LHP Emilio Ogando (W, 1-0). After tallying six runs on nine hits over four runs against Ogando less than a week ago, the P-Nats had just two runs on four hits against the left-handed starter Friday night. Ogando shut out Potomac through the first five frames, but surrendered a pair of runs in the sixth inning. 2B Bryan Mejia led off with a single, and after Ogando retired the next two hitters, Gushue hit his league leading fourth home run. The catcher’s two-run blast cut the Potomac deficit in half.

While the P-Nats’ bullpen due of LHP Matthew Crownover and LHP RC Orlan tossed three combined shutout innings, it was not enough, as Potomac managed just one run on three hits against the Blue Rocks’ bullpen. RHP Jared Ruxer worked a perfect eighth inning, while LHP Richard Lovelady struggled in the eighth frame. CF Telmito Agustin led off the inning with a single, before Lovelady retired the next two batters that he faced. With two outs, 3B Kelvin Gutierrez and Gushue hit consecutive singles. Gushue’s RBI single made it 4-3, but Potomac left the tying run at third base. RHP Andres Machado (SV, 1) struck out two batters in a perfect ninth inning, as Wilmington leveled the series at one game apiece.

The third game of the four game series gets underway at 6:35pm Saturday night at Pfitzner Stadium. RHP Joan Baez (0-0, 6.23) is set to make his second start of the season for Potomac. The righty allowed four runs, three earned, over 4.1 innings vs. Frederick in his 2017 debut. 2016 second round pick A.J. Puckett (0-1, 1.80) is set to start for the Blue Rocks. Puckett allowed two runs, only one earned, on just two hits over five innings in his debut, a loss to the Carolina Mudcats.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): Collin Woody hit a run-scoring single in the fifth inning, leading the Delmarva Shorebirds to a 7-2 win over the Hagerstown Suns on Friday. Jake Ring scored on the play to give the Shorebirds a 3-2 lead after he reached base with a double and advanced to third on a groundout. Ring doubled twice and singled twice for Delmarva.

Delmarva left-hander Travis Seabrooke (1-1) picked up the win after allowing two runs on four hits over five innings. Opposing starter McKenzie Mills (1-1) took the loss in the South Atlantic League game after allowing three runs and six hits over five innings. Delmarva took advantage of some erratic Hagerstown pitching, drawing a season-high six walks in its victory. Juan Soto was a triple short of the cycle, driving home two runs for the Suns.

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