Nationals Minor League Notebook: May 2

​Andrew Stevenson singled in his first Triple-A at-bat on Tuesday. (Herm Card | Syracuse Chiefs)

By Michael Marzzacco

Compiled via team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs dropped the opener of a three-game series Tuesday night at NBT Bank Stadium to the Pawtucket Red Sox, 3-1. Center fielder Andrew Stevenson, the Nationals’ fifth-ranked prospect by Baseball America, singled in his first Triple-A at-bat in the loss.

Pawtucket (11-12) opened up the scoring in the second inning. Left fielder Steve Selsky led off the inning with a bang when he clobbered his first home run of the season over the left-field fence off of Syracuse (9-13) starter Austin Voth.

The PawSox added to their lead in the fifth. After Matt Dominguez led off the inning with a strikeout, second baseman Jantzen Witte followed with a double to center field. Dan Butler then walked. Voth threw a wild pitch to the next batter, Aneury Tavarez, and allowed Witte to advance to third. Tavarez made Voth pay when he doubled to left field, plating Witte and advancing Butler to third. Pawtucket went up 3-0 in the next at-bat when Deven Marrero singled to right field and brought Butler in to score.

The Chiefs finally got on the board in the bottom of the eighth inning. After catcher Pedro Severino grounded out to begin the inning, designated hitter Corban Joseph became just the third baserunner of the game after he drew a four-pitch walk from Pawtucket starter Brian Johnson. Second baseman Grant Green followed up the walk with a single to right field, moving Joseph to third. Joseph scored on the next play when shortstop Adrian Sanchez hit a sacrifice fly to center field and cut the Pawtucket lead to 3-1. Johnson recovered by inducing a fly-out from Stevenson to end the inning.

Voth pitched well for the Chiefs despite the loss. The right-hander gave up eight hits and struck out a season-high seven PawSox in seven innings of work.

On the other side, Johnson dazzled in an even better outing for Pawtucket. The left-hander tossed eight innings of one-hit baseball, giving up just two hits and striking out six Chiefs.

The Chiefs and PawSox square off in game two of a three-game set Wednesday afternoon at 1:05. Right-hander Taylor Hill is set to pitch for Syracuse opposite southpaw Henry Owens for Pawtucket.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Jorge Saez hit a three-run home run in the eighth inning, leading the Trenton Thunder to a 9-6 win over the Harrisburg Senators on Tuesday.

The home run by Saez scored Dante Bichette and Devyn Bolasky and was the game’s last scoring play.

Matt Wotherspoon (2-1) got the win with 1 2/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit relief while Ryan Brinley (0-1) took the loss in the Eastern League game. Cale Coshow retired the side in order for his eighth save of the season.

Drew Ward homered and singled, scoring a couple of runs while also driving home two for the Senators.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): For a second straight night, the Potomac Nationals (13-11) rallied in the late innings, but unlike the series opener on Monday night, the rally proved to be enough, as the P-Nats tallied a 4-2 win over the Down East Wood Ducks (12-14). Potomac trailed on two different occasions, but scored the final three runs of the game.

The Wood Ducks jumped out to an early lead, as RF Jairo Beras led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo home run. That was the only earned run that LHP Hector Silvestre (ND) allowed, as the left-handed starter tallied his third straight quality start. Silvestre allowed two runs, one earned, and struck out six over 6.1 innings.

Potomac tied the game on one swing in the bottom of the third inning. With two outs, LF Telmito Agustin hit his first home run of the season, Potomac’s league leading 25th home run of the year. Down East RHP Pedro Payano (ND) surrendered the home run, but allowed only one more run in a quality start.

An error by 3B Kelvin Gutierrez led to Down East’s run in the bottom of the sixth. C Josh Morgan led off with a bunt single, stole second base, and moved to third base on a groundout. With two outs, 3B Josh Altmann grounded out to Gutierrez, but the Potomac third baseman couldn’t handle it, as his error allowed Morgan to score, which gave Down East a 2-1 lead.

Payano pitched into the seventh inning, but gave up a leadoff single to Gutierrez. Gutierrez had what appeared to be an extra base hit, but Altmann robbed him on a diving stop. Altmann’s throw to first base however went up the right field line, as the E5 put Gutierrez at second base. After Payano got C Taylor Gushue to pop out, LHP Adam Choplick (BS, 1) entered from the Down East bullpen. Choplick walked RF Rhett Wiseman , before he got SS Edwin Lora to ground one right back to him. Choplick tried to get the out at second base, but his throw pulled SS Arturo Lara off the bag. Gutierrez took advantage, as he then beat Lara’s throw to the plate, which tied the game at two.

RHP Steven Bruce (L, 0-1) entered for the top of the eighth inning, and CF Victor Robles began the frame with a bunt single. Robles then stole second base and took third base on a wild pitch, while Bruce then struck out 2B Austin Davidson . 1B Ian Sagdal followed with an RBI single, which made it 3-2 and proved to be the game-winning hit. Two batters later, Gushue made it 4-2 with a two-out RBI single.

Out of the Potomac bullpen, RHP Kyle Schepel (W, 1-0) was perfect over 2.2 innings. Schepel stranded an inherited base runner at second base in the seventh inning, struck out the side in the eighth frame, and got the side in order in the ninth.

With the win Tuesday night, the P-Nats set up a rubber match Wednesday afternoon. RHP Jefry Rodriguez (2-1, 4.30) is set to make the start for the P-Nats. Rodriguez has two consecutive quality starts and has given up just three total earned runs over his last 13 innings. For the Wood Ducks, LHP Jeff Springs (0-2, 5.82) is set to get the start. Springs allowed just two earned runs over 5.2 innings in his last start. First pitch from Grainger Stadium is set for 11:00am.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): In a battle of first-place teams, the Rome Braves (17-8) rallied back to win with runs in the seventh and eighth innings to swipe the series opener from the Hagerstown Suns (15-10) at Municipal Stadium, 4-3.

Suns reliever Matthew DeRosier (Loss, 0-1) allowed a solo homer to Braves catcher Lucas Herbert that tied up the game in the top of the seventh, 3-3. Rome center fielder Cristian Pache led off the eighth with a triple and later scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by DeRosier.

The Suns scored all three of their runs in the bottom of the sixth. Shortstop Carter Kieboom led off with a double to the wall in left and right fielder Juan Soto followed with an RBI ground-rule double down the right field line. 

Soto later scored on sacrifice fly to center by second baseman Jake Noll , but Soto suffered a mild injury to his right ankle while sliding home. The 18-year-old Washington Nationals prospect was pulled from the game but is not expected to miss any more time.

Hagerstown left fielder Nick Banks added an RBI double in the sixth and finished 2-for-4 at the plate. Third baseman Sheldon Neuse went 2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk.

Ian Anderson, third-overall pick during the 2016 MLB Draft, started for the Braves on his 19th birthday and was charged with all three Hagerstown runs in the bottom of the sixth. Reliever Thomas Burrows (Win, 2-1) threw 2 2/23 scoreless innings and Adam McCreery (Save, 1) struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth. 

Suns starting pitcher Sterling Sharp racked up seven strikeouts, one shy of his career high, in six strong innings of work. He gave up just four hits and his only two earned runs against came on a two-run homer by Rome designated hitter Brett Cumberland in the fourth.

The Suns and Braves continue their series on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m.


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