Nationals Minor League Notebook: May 11

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Photo: @HagerstownSuns

By Michael Marzzacco

Compiled via team press releases:

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Rafael Bautista scored the first of 11 Syracuse runs on Thursday. (Danny Tripodi | Syracuse Chiefs)

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs trounced the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, 11-5, on Thursday night at NBT Bank Stadium. Eight of nine Chiefs batters collected a hit in the win. All nine of the Chiefs either scored or drove in a run.

Syracuse (11-18) got the scoring going right away in the bottom of the first inning versus Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (16-15) starter Bryan Mitchell. Center fielder Rafael Bautista led off the inning by reaching on a fielding error from RailRiders third baseman Ruben Tejada. Bautista moved over to second after an Andrew Stevenson strikeout and a Matt Skole single to center field. Two batters later, Clint Robinson hit a sharp ground ball to third base for a single, plating Bautista and moving Skole over to third. On the next play,Pedro Severino hit an RBI single off the glove of second baseman Rob Refsnyder. Right fielder Clint Frazier made matters worse when he attempted to throw out Robinson at third base. His throw skipped behind Tejada for an error and Robinson scurried home, making the score 3-0 Chiefs.

The RailRiders responded in the top of the third off Chiefs starter Kyle McGowin. With two outs, shortstop Tyler Wade singled to center field. During the next at-bat, Wade stole second base and then scored on a triple down the right-field line from center fielder Dustin Fowler. The triple was the league-leading sixth for Fowler.

The Chiefs broke the game open in the bottom half of the third. After Stevenson struck out to begin the inning, Skole doubled into the right-center-field gap. Following a Brandon Snyder walk, the RailRiders turned to reliever Jason Gurka. In the next at-bat Robinson singled to center to load the bases. Severino followed up the hit from Robinson with a single of his own, plating Skole and Snyder. RailRiders catcher Kyle Higashioka then tried to throw out Robinson at third, but the throw was errant and Robinson scampered home as Severino pulled into second base. After a passed ball moved Severino over to third, Caleb Ramsey singled into center, scoring Severino and extending the Chiefs’ lead to 7-1.

Syracuse continued to pour it on in the fourth. With one out, Stevenson singled to center field. He then advanced to third base on a single from Skole. On the next play, Snyder hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Stevenson. Robinson followed up the sacrifice fly with a double off the right-center-field wall, plating Skole and increasing the Chiefs’ lead to 9-1.

The Chiefs then hit double-digit scoring in the fifth inning off of Joe Mantiply. After a Ramsey fly out, Adrian Sanchez reached on a throwing error from Tejada, his second of the night. Sanchez then scored on a double to right-center field from Irving Falu. Falu scored on the next play when Bautista hit a bloop single into right field and put the Chiefs up 11-1.

The RailRiders attempted to mount a comeback against Rafael Martin in the top of the ninth. Refsnyder led off the inning with a single into right field. Mason Williams then slapped a double to right, advancing Refsnyder to third base in the process. A Higashioka single plated both Refsnyder and Williams cutting the Chiefs’ lead to eight. After Tejada and Cito Culver were retired, Tyler Wade doubled off the right-field wall and advanced Higashioka to third. Both RailRiders then scored on a double off the right-center-field fence from Fowler, making the score 11-5. Martin then settled in and struck out Frazier to end the game.

The Chiefs and RailRiders meet again on Friday night in the second of a four-game series at 6:35 at NBT Bank Stadium. Joe Ross will take the mound for the Chiefs opposite right-hander Luis Cessa for the RailRiders.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern League): Erick Fedde allowed just five hits over seven innings, leading the Harrisburg Senators over the Trenton Thunder in a 6-2 win on Thursday.

Fedde (2-3) picked up the win after he struck out seven and walked one while allowing two runs.

Harrisburg got on the board first in the third inning when Mario Lisson hit an RBI single and then scored on a two-run triple by Neftali Soto.

After Harrisburg added a run in the fourth on a single by Yadiel Hernandez, the Thunder cut into the deficit in the fourth inning when Miguel Andujar hit an RBI single and Mike Ford scored on a forceout.

The Senators added to their lead in the ninth when Raudy Read hit a two-run double.

Justus Sheffield (1-2) went 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs and nine hits while striking out four in the Eastern League game. Ryan Brinley pitched two scoreless innings for his fourth save of the season.

Despite the loss, Trenton is 3-1 against Harrisburg this season.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): With an 8-4 win on Thursday night, the Potomac Nationals (17-16) managed a series split with the Wilmington Blue Rocks (14-20). Potomac plated eight runs in the first four innings, seven against Wilmington RHP A.J. Puckett (L, 3-3). RHP Luis Reyes (W, 2-5) threw 30 pitches in a tough first inning, but settled in and needed just 89 pitches over six innings.

Potomac scored early and often. After two quick outs in the top of the first inning, Puckett surrendered a solo home run to 3B Kelvin Gutierrez. It was Gutierrez’s second home run of the season, though the lead didn’t last through the frame.

Reyes struggled in the first inning, as the Blue Rocks plated a pair of runs. SS Nicky Lopez and 2B D.J. Burt singled, while LF Anderson Miller turned a deficit into a lead with a two-run double. Reyes walked two of the next four hitters, but the righty got 3B Travis Maezes to take a called third strike, as Wilmington left the bases loaded.

The P-Nats answered right back with two runs in the second inning. RF Rhett Wiseman and DH Matt Page each drew a walk against Puckett, and LF Telmito Agustin turned Potomac’s deficit into a lead with a two-run double to left field. Potomac led 3-2 after 1.5 innings and led from that point forward, as the P-Nats scored seven consecutive runs.

With the lead heading into the third inning, Potomac broke the game open. Gutierrez led off with a walk, and C Taylor Gushue tallied the first of his two RBI’s on the night with a double. After 2B Austin Davidson walked, Wiseman grounded out to first, but 1B Chris DeVito mishandled it, and Gushue crossed the plate. With a three run lead, SS Edwin Lora tallied his 10th RBI of the season with a single. CF Victor Robles capped off the scoring in the inning with an RBI groundout. The P-Nats led 7-2 after 2.5 innings.

After Potomac made it 8-2 with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning against RHP Jacob Bodner, the Blue Rocks scored the final two runs of the game. CF Cody Jones hit a solo home run off of Reyes in the bottom of the fourth inning, while Miller tallied his fifth home run of the season in the fifth frame. Miller’s solo shot made it 8-4, the eventual final.

Despite the rough first frame for Reyes, the right-handed starter snapped his four-game losing streak with the victory. Thursday night was the sixth time in seven starts that Reyes has pitched at least five innings.

Off of the series split, the P-Nats will return home and begin a seven game homestand. The week-long stint at Pfitzner Stadium begins Thursday night, as the Salem Red Sox (Boston) come into town. In the series opener, RHP Wirkin Estevez (1-2, 4.91) will get the start for Potomac. Estevez had his longest start of the season last time out, though he picked up the loss vs. Lynchburg. Estevez allowed three earned runs over seven innings. For the Red Sox, LHP Daniel McGrath (0-2, 6.15) enters off of his shortest start of the season. The left-handed starter went just 3.1 innings in a no-decision last time out against the Winston-Salem Dash. First pitch of the series opener is set for 7:05pm on Friday night.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): Carlos Pena held Rome hitless through four innings before the Braves (19-14) scored five runs in the sixth to take the lead for good as the Hagerstown Suns (19-14) fell 6-2 on Wednesday afternoon at State Mutual Stadium.

Pena (Loss, 1-2) carried a shutout into the fifth before Rome second baseman Kevin Josephina tallied an RBI single. The 23-year-old starter began the sixth but was pulled after allowing two singles. Reliever Yonathan Ramirez allowed both runners to score and then walked two with the bases loaded in a five-run, four-hit inning.

Jake Noll put the Suns up 1-0 with an RBI groundout in the first and Matt Reistetter put Hagerstown back in front, scoring Anderson Franco on a groundball to second in the top of the sixth.

Sheldon Neuse led the Suns with a 2-for-4 day at the plate and Nick Banks increased his league-best hitting streak to 15 straight games with a single in the sixth.

Hagerstown dropped its fourth straight game and will try to snap its longest losing streak of the year during the series finale in Rome on Friday at 7 p.m. Suns LHP Tyler Watson (1-1, 4.13) gets the start against Braves RHP Jeremy Walker (0-2, 4.68).

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