Washington Nationals Minor League Notebook: April 15 and 16

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Courtesy of the Hagerstown Suns

By Michael Marzzacco

Compiled via team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League):

4/15: Rain out

4/16:

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Brandon Snyder homered and doubled twice as part of a four-hit Sunday. (Danny Tripodi / Syracuse Chiefs)

The Syracuse Chiefs and Rochester Red Wings split a doubleheader Sunday afternoon at Frontier Field in Rochester. The Chiefs won game two 7-6 after the Red Wings took game one 10-6. The two teams combined for 29 runs, 17 extra-base hits, and eight home runs between the two games. Clint Robinson and Brandon Snyder each tallied four hits between the two games for the Chiefs.

Syracuse (3-7) started the scoring in game one in the first inning. Brian Goodwin walked with one out against Jason Wheeler. Clint Robinson followed with a single and Brandon Snyder hit a ground-rule double to score Goodwin and give the Chiefs a 1-0 lead.
Rochester (6-4) answered with four two-out runs in the bottom of the frame. Tommy Field singled with one out against Austin Voth. Three batters later, after a Kennys Vargas walk, Daniel Palka singled home Field to tie the game. Mitch Garver followed with a single to load the bases. Ben Paulsen then doubled home all three runners to stretch the lead to 4-1.
The Red Wings added two more in the second on Tommy Field’s two-run home run to center to extend the lead to 6-1.
In the third, Garver doubled with one out and moved to third on a groundout. He scored on Leonardo Reginatto’s single to center to make the score 7-1 Red Wings.
The Chiefs got back on the board in the fourth. Matt Skole, Pedro Severino, and Joey Butler each singled to start the inning, with Butler’s plating Skole to cut the deficit to five.
But the Red Wings struck right back with three against Mike Broadway in the bottom of the fourth. After walks to Field and Matt Hague, Kennys Vargas hit his second home run against the Chiefs this year to push the lead to 10-2.
Goodwin scored the Chiefs’ third run against Wheeler in the fifth, after he walked and then moved to third on Robinson’s double. Wheeler then threw a wild pitch with Snyder batting, and Goodwin came in to score.
The Chiefs added three more in the sixth. Alan Busenitz walked three and struck out two in the first five batters of the inning, loading the bases with two outs. Robinson then hit his second double of the game, scoring all three runs and making the score 10-6. Robinson was thrown out trying to move to third on the play and the Chiefs would get no closer, going down 1-2-3 against Trevor Hildenberger in the seventh.
Syracuse got off to a fast start in game two. Rafael Bautista singled to start the game against Aaron Slegers. Bautista stole second and reached third on a groundout. Robinson then tallied his fourth hit of the doubleheader, a single to score Bautista. Snyder followed with his third home run of the season to push the lead to 3-0. Later with two outs, Jhonatan Solano doubled to left field, moved to third on a balk, and scored on Corban Joseph‘s single to make the score 4-0.
Rochester got on the board in game two in the bottom of the second. Vargas started the inning with a single against Taylor Hill. Palka followed with a double to score Vargas to cut the score to 4-1. Palka advanced to third on a groundout and scored on Niko Goodrum’s sacrifice fly to cut the Red Wings deficit to two.
Solano drove in the Chiefs’ fifth run in the fourth. After Snyder singled and Skole walked, Solano, making his 321st career start as Chiefs catcher, singled to left field to score Skole and make the score 5-2.
The Red Wings added a run in the bottom of the inning on Palka’s third home run of the season to lead off the inning.
The Chiefs continued the high-scoring contest in the fifth against Raul Fernandez. Adrian Sanchez hit his first career Triple-A home run to push the score to 6-3 Chiefs.
Rochester closed to within one run in the bottom of the fifth. First, J.B. Shuck homered with one out to bring the Red Wings within two. Then, with two outs, Hague singed and Vargas walked. The Chiefs turned to Matt Grace out of the bullpen. Palka met him with a single to right field, scoring Hague for Palka’s third RBI of the game.
But the scoring was not yet done, as the Chiefs got right back on the board in the top of the sixth, the fifth half-inning in a row with a run. Skole hit his second home run of the season to push the Syracuse lead back to two at 7-5.
The Red Wings would not go down quietly. With one out in the home seventh, Austin Adams was hit in the leg by a Vargas comebacker. He recovered to make the play, tagging Vargas out, but was removed from the game. Joe Nathan entered with two outs, and Palka continued his big day, greeting Nathan with his second home run of the game to cut the Syracuse lead to 6-5. Palka’s home run was the sixth in the second game of the doubleheader. Paulsen followed with a single to put the tying run on base, but Goodrum flied out to left field to end the game.
Syracuse is off on Monday before returning to NBT Bank Stadium on Tuesday to open a six-game homestand starting with a three-game series with the Toledo Mud Hens. A.J. Cole is scheduled to start for Syracuse opposite Buck Farmer for Toledo. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern League):

4/15Raudy Read hit a two-run home run and had two hits, as the Harrisburg Senators exploded for a season-high seven extra-base hits in a 7-4 win over the Bowie Baysox on Saturday.

Bowie started the scoring in the second inning when Adrian Marin hit an RBI single and Jay Gonzalez hit a sacrifice fly.

The Senators took the lead for good with six runs in the fifth inning. The Senators sent 10 men to the plate as Read hit a two-run home run en route to the four-run lead.

The Senators tacked on another run in the eighth when Zach Collier scored on a wild pitch.

Starter Greg Ross (2-0) got the win while Bobby Bundy (0-1) took the loss in relief in the Eastern League game. Wander Suero pitched two scoreless innings for his first save of the season.

Harrisburg had a pair of season bests in its victory, drawing seven walks and hitting six doubles.

4/16: OFF.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League):

4/15: In his second start of the season for the Potomac Nationals (5-4), RHP Joan Baez (L, 0-1) walked a 2017 P-Nats high seven batters in route to a 6-3 loss to the Wilmington Blue Rocks (4-5). Of Baez’s seven walks, five came around to score, while Wilmington’s sixth run initially reached on a HBP.

Baez walked the first batter of the game, hit the third batter, and loaded the bases with a walk to RF Anderson Miller, the fourth man to bat in the first inning. DH Chase Vallot made it 1-0 Wilmington with an RBI single. LF Roman Collins then grounded into what could have been an inning-ending double play, but after a force out at second base, Potomac SS Edwin Lora threw the relay into the Potomac dugout. Two runs scored on the play, as the Blue Rocks led 3-0 after half an inning.

Wilmington tallied two more runs in the second inning, as the Blue Rocks loaded the bases with no outs against Baez. 1B Travis Maezes and C Nate Esposito each drew a walk, while SS Nicky Lopez reached on an error by 2B Bryan Mejia. 2B DJ Burt and CF Elier Hernandez each followed with a sacrifice fly, as Wilmington took a 5-0 lead into the bottom of the second frame.

After the Blue Rocks added a run on another sacrifice fly in the third inning, Potomac finally got on the board against RHP A.J. Puckett (W, 1-1). Mejia led off the inning with a single, and after 1B Ian Sagdoll walked, 3B Kelvin Gutierrez drove in Mejia with an RBI single. After C Taylor Gushue walked, RF Rhett Wiseman grounded into a force out, which brought home one run, and Gutierrez crossed the plate on an error by 2B DJ Burt. Potomac cut the deficit in half in the inning, but failed to score after that. Puckett allowed three runs, two earned, over five innings in the victory.

Both bullpens worked shutout relief, as the Blue Rocks’ duo of RHP Yunior Marte and RHP Franco Terrero (SV, 1) allowed just one hit and struck out five over four shutout innings. After Baez allowed six runs, four earned, over 3.2 innings, LHP Taylor Guilbeau, RHP Ronald Pena, and RHP Mariano Rivera combined for 5.1 shutout frames.

Needing a win in the series finale to earn a series split, Potomac will turn to RHP Wirkin Estevez (0-1, 13.50). Estevez allowed seven runs on eight hits in his 2017 debut, a loss against Frederick. LHP Cristian Castillo (0-0, 0.00) will make his second start of the season for the Blue Rocks. Castillo allowed just one unearned run over five innings against Carolina. First pitch of the series finale is set for 1:05pm.

4/16: Playing at home on Easter for the first time in nearly a decade, the Potomac Nationals (5-5) lost two separate leads, and eventually fell victim to three straight 11th inning hits, as the Wilmington Blue Rocks (5-5) took the series finale 5-4 at Pfitzner Stadium Sunday afternoon.

For the first time in the four game series, the P-Nats scored the first run of the game. SS Edwin Lora drew a one-out walk against RHP Cristian Castillo (ND) in the first inning, and after a double by 1B Ian Sagdal, 3B Kelvin Gutierrez made it 1-0 Potomac with a sacrifice fly.

After a perfect first inning, RHP Wirkin Estevez (ND) gave up a leadoff home run to CF Anderson Miller, which tied the game at one in the top of the second inning. Estevez gave up just one run on two hits over six innings, the best start from a starting pitcher for Potomac through the first 10 games of 2017.

Potomac tagged Castillo for a run in the fourth inning and a pair of runs in the fifth. Castillo issued a leadoff walk to LF Dale Carey in the fourth inning, and he later scored on an RBI single by 2B Bryan Mejia. In the fifth frame, Gutierrez reached on an error by 2B DJ Burt, and RF Rhett Wiseman followed with a single. Carey made it 4-1 Potomac with a two-run triple, the first of two hits on the day for the outfielder. Potomac did not score after that, as the P-Nats went just 2-15 with RISP and left 14 men on base, nine in scoring position.

In relief of Estevez, RHP Kyle Schepel (BS, 1) walked two and gave up three hits in a three-run seventh inning for Wilmington. C Chase Vallot drew a one-out walk, while RF Roman Collins followed with a single. 3B Wander Franco made it a two-run game with an RBI single, before Schepel struck out LF Jonathan McCray. After 1B Colton Frabasilio walked, SS Nicky Lopez tied the game with a two-out, two-run single, though Wilmington left the go-ahead run at third base.

The two teams traded zeroes after that, as RHP Jacob Bodner and RHP Jared Ruxer (W, 1-1) tallied 5.1 combined shutout innings for Wilmington, while LHP R.C. Orlan notched three-shutout innings for Potomac.

After Wilmington stranded two men in scoring position in the 10th inning, the Blue Rocks rallied with one out in the 11th frame against RHP Whit Mayberry (L, 0-1). Collins and Franco singled, while McCray’s RBI double made it 5-4 Blue Rocks. The first two Potomac hitters reached against Ruxer in the bottom of the 11th inning before he retired Sagdal. RHP Andres Machado (SV, 2) relieved Ruxer and retired Gutierrez on a groundout, which moved the runners to second and third base. After Wilmington intentionally walked Wiseman, Carey grounded out to Franco to end the game.

The loss for Mayberry was the first loss for a Potomac relief pitcher this season. Sunday was the second straight game in which Potomac outhit the Blue Rocks yet ended up with the loss.

Off of their first series loss of the season, the P-Nats will welcome in the Down East Wood Ducks, who will visit Pfitzner Stadium for the first time in franchise history. First pitch of the series opener is set for 7:05pm Monday night.

Hagerstown (Low-A South Atlantic League):

4/15: Alex Wells, Jake Bray and Zeke McGranahan combined for a shutout as the Delmarva Shorebirds defeated the Hagerstown Suns 6-0 on Saturday.

Wells (1-1) picked up the win after he struck out three while allowing seven hits over six scoreless innings. Weston Davis (0-2) went five innings, allowing six runs and seven hits in the South Atlantic League game. He also struck out two and walked one.

Delmarva scored two runs in the first, including a ground out by Collin Woody that scored Jake Ring. The Shorebirds scored again in the third inning, when they put up four runs, including a single by Cole Billingsley that scored Woody.

The Suns were held scoreless for the first time this season, while the Shorebirds’ staff also registered their first shutout of the year.

4/16Daniel Johnson hit a two-run homer in the third inning, and Aldrem Corredor had three hits and scored two runs as the Hagerstown Suns topped the Delmarva Shorebirds 15-6 on Sunday.

The home run by Johnson scored Jorge Tillero to give the Suns a 2-0 lead.

Trailing 7-1, the Shorebirds cut into the deficit in the seventh inning when Jake Ring hit a three-run triple and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Chris Shaw.

The Suns later scored four runs in the eighth and ninth innings to complete the blowout. In the eighth, Johnson hit an RBI single, while Jake Noll hit a two-run home run in the ninth.

Hagerstown right-hander Carlos Pena (1-0) picked up the win after allowing one run on five hits over five innings. Opposing starter Lucas Humpal (0-1) took the loss in the South Atlantic League game after he allowed four runs on just three hits over five innings.

Hagerstown hit a season-high five doubles in its victory.

For the Shorebirds, Ring was a home run short of the cycle, driving home four runs.

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