Nationals Minor League Notebook: May 12 and 13

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Courtesy of the Potomac Nationals

By Michael Marzzacco

Compiled via team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League):

5/12:

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Joe Ross threw six five-hit innings, allowing three runs Friday night (Herm Card).

The Syracuse Chiefs crushed the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, 10-3, on Friday night at NBT Bank Stadium, thanks to a second straight game scoring more than ten runs. The Chiefs have combined for 21 runs and 27 hits over the past two games.

Syracuse (12-18) scored first in the bottom of the first inning. The initial three Chiefs batters singled off Luis Cessa to load the bases. Brandon Snyder followed with a grounder to third. Ruben Tejada threw home for the force out, but Kyle Higashioka’s throw sailed over the first-baseman’s head, allowing Andrew Stevenson to score on the error. Next, Corban Joseph brought in a run on a groundout to short. Matt Skole scored on the play 2-0.

The bats continued to heat up in the bottom of the second. Grant Green, Adrian Sanchez, and Irving Falu singled to start the inning, loading the bases. Two batters later, Matt Skole doubled to right-center, plating all three baserunners. Snyder then drove in Skole on a single to left. Syracuse was up 5-0.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (16-16) got on the board in the top of the fourth. Dustin Fowler doubled off Joe Ross to lead off the inning and moved to third on a fly-out. Ji-Man Choi hit a sacrifice fly to score Fowler, to make the score 5-1.

The first three Chiefs hitters again loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth. J.R. Graham came out of the bullpen and walked Snyder to bring in Syracuse’s sixth run. Joseph then singled to right to score Stevenson. Pedro Severino  followed with a single to right, scoring both Skole and Snyder for a 10-1 lead.

The RailRiders scored again in the top of the sixth. Tyler Wade opened the inning with a double to right. One batter later, Clint Frazier crushed the ball over the left-field fence, to bring Scranton/Wilkes-Barre within 10-3. But that was as close as they would get.

Ross was strong for the Chiefs in his second start since his option from Washington, allowing just five hits and three runs in six innings.

Syracuse will try to win its third-straight game against the RailRiders Saturday at NBT Bank Stadium at 1:05. Greg Ross will start for Syracuse while Daniel Camarena will pitch for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

5/13:

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Brandon Snyder hit his seventh home run of the season in the bottom of the ninth, after pitching a scoreless top of the frame Saturday afternoon (Glen Gaston).
After the Syracuse Chiefs scored 21 runs in the previous two games, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders got some revenge with a 12-3 victory on Saturday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium. Irving Falu drove in two runs on the day for the Chiefs.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (17-16) started the scoring with a bang in the top of the first inning. After a Tyler Wade strikeout to lead off the inning, right fielder Dustin Fowler smacked a home run over the right-field fence off Syracuse starter Greg Ross. Two batters later, first baseman Ji-Man Choi hit a long ball of his own to center field, putting the RailRiders up 2-0.

The RailRiders added to their lead in the second inning. Following a Cito Culver strikeout to begin the inning, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre strung together three straight base hits. First, Eddy Rodriguez and Abiatal Avelino hit back-to-back singles. Wade then doubled to left field, plating both Rodriguez and Avelino. A Fowler strikeout broke up the stretch, but a new streak started with a Clint Frazier walk. With runners on first and second, Choi delivered a double to right field scoring Wade and advancing Frazier to third. Choi and Frazier scored in the next at-bat on a Rob Refsnyder double to right field putting the RailRiders in front 7-0.

More of the same came from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the fourth off Chiefs reliever Cody Satterwhite. With one out, Fowler hit a ground ball up the middle for a single. Frazier followed up the hit with a ground-rule double down the right-field line, advancing Fowler to third in the process. Two batters later, a Refsnyder walk loaded the bases for Mason Williams. The RailRiders’ center fielder slapped a line drive into center field, scoring Fowler and Frazier. In the next at-bat Culver singled into left field bringing in Refsnyder and extending the lead to 10-0.

Syracuse (12-19) finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth inning. Grant Green walked with one out and Jhonatan Solano broke up the no-hit bid of RailRiders’ starter Daniel Camarena with a single to left field. After an Adrian Sanchez strikeout, Caleb Ramsey singled off the glove of Wade, moving Green to third and Solano to second. The next batter, Falu, singled to center field and brought in both Green and Solano to score, cutting the RailRiders’ lead to 11-2.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre tacked on another run in the sixth versus Syracuse reliever Mike Broadway. Choi led off the inning with a line-drive single into right field and was then replaced by pinch-runner Ruben Tejada. Refsnyder followed that up with an infield single. After a Williams walk loaded the bases, Culver grounded into a double play, but Tejada scored from third to increase the RailRiders’ lead to 12-2.

In the top of the ninth inning, Brandon Snyder moved from third base to the pitcher’s mound, allowing just one hit and recording a strikeout in a scoreless inning of relief.

In the bottom half of the frame, Snyder got things done at the plate as well. The Chiefs’ home-run leader hit a high fly ball just over the left-center-field fence to cut the lead to 12-3.

The Chiefs and RailRiders finish up their four-game series Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. at NBT Bank Stadium. The Mother’s Day matinee sees Austin Voth take the mound for Syracuse opposite right-hander Chad Green for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern League):

5/12: Jake Cave had three hits and scored two runs, and Ronald Herrera allowed just five hits over seven innings as the Trenton Thunder topped the Harrisburg Senators 5-2 on Friday.

Herrera (3-0) allowed one run while striking out five and walking two to get the win.

Trenton started the scoring in the first inning when Cave hit an RBI triple and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Mike Ford.

The Senators cut into the deficit in the fourth inning when Raudy Read hit an RBI double, driving in Neftali Soto.

The Thunder later added two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh. In the sixth, Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar both drove in a run, while Thairo Estrada hit an RBI double in the seventh.

Austen Williams (1-4) went six innings, allowing four runs and seven hits in the Eastern League game. He also struck out four and walked one.

With the win, Trenton improved to 4-1 against Harrisburg this season.

5/13: Rainout.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League):

5/12: Rainout.

5/13: The Potomac Nationals (18-17) plated six runs with two outs in the third inning of a game one victory Saturday night over the Salem Red Sox (23-12), while the Red Sox escaped with a 3-2 win in game two.

In the game one victory, RHP Wirkin Estevez (W, 2-2) combined with RHP Ronald Pena for the shutout. The P-Nats scored all six runs in a single frame against LHP Daniel McGrath (L, 0-3), who has now given up six earned runs on four different occasions vs. Potomac in his career.

All six Potomac runs in game one came with two outs in the third inning. McGrath retired two of the first three hitters that he faced in the frame, as CF Victor Robles’ single split a pair of outs. 3B Kelvin Gutierrez reached on an infield single, which put runners on the corners for C Taylor Gushue. The Potomac catcher launched his league leading 11th home run of the season over the left field wall on a two-strike pitch. Already ahead 3-0, Potomac doubled its lead with another three runs in the inning. RF Rhett Wiseman plated two men with a double, while 2B Bryan Mejia capped the game’s scoring with an RBI single.

Estevez dazzled in his best start of the season. The right-handed starter scattered five hits and walks just one. The 25-year-old struck out a season high seven batters, the most he has struck out in a single game since 2012. A shutout frame from Pena closed the books on Potomac’s third shutout of the season.

In the back half of the doubleheader, Salem jumped out to an early lead, and despite a comeback effort, the P-Nats fell short. LHP Hector Silvestre (L, 3-1) tallied his first loss of the season, despite a three-run, five-inning performance. The Red Sox scored in the second, third, and fourth frames, while Potomac mustered just one run against Salem LHP Dedgar Jimenez (W, 4-1).

Salem struck first in the top of the second inning. Silvestre walked 3B Jose Sermo, while RF Trenton Kemp doubled just out of the reach of Robles and made it 1-0 in favor of the Red Sox. The P-Nats quickly answered in the bottom half of the frame. DH Austin Davidson began the inning with a walk and moved to third on a double by SS Edwin Lora. Two batters later, 1B Matt Page tied the game with an RBI groundout, though Potomac failed to bring the next man home. The P-Nats went 0-5 with RISP in the game two loss.

The Red Sox went ahead for good with a run in the third inning. SS Chad De La Guerra led off the third inning with a triple into the right field corner. Two batters later, 1B Josh Ockimey made it 2-1 in favor of the Red Sox with a sacrifice fly. In the fourth inning, Salem plated the eventual winning run with a two-out rally. 2B Nick Lovullo doubled, while CF Tate Matheny plated him with an RBI single to left field.

The Red, White, & Blue mounted a comeback in the final frame against RHP Trevor Kelley. Lora began the frame with a single, and a one-out base hit from Page put men on the corners. C Jake Lowery made it a one run game with a sacrifice fly, while Robles followed with a single. With the tying run in scoring position and the winning run on first, Kelly got LF Jack Sundberg to take a called third strike, as Salem held on for a 3-2 win.

The set between the P-Nats and Red Sox is set to conclude on Sunday. RHP Jefry Rodriguez (3-1, 3.16) is set to take the ball for Potomac. Rodriguez has now allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last four starts (1.67 ERA). For Salem, RHP Daniel Gonzalez (Debut) is set to make his Carolina League debut. Gonalez opened the season with the Greenville Drive, where he went 4-0 with a 1.85 ERA in eight relief outings. First pitch of the series finale is set for 1:05pm on Sunday afternoon.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic):

5/12: Washington Nationals prospect Carter Kieboom suffered an apparent right leg injury while running through first base against the Rome Braves (19-15) during a 12-4 victory for the Hagerstown Suns (20-14) on Friday night at State Mutual Stadium.

The 19-year-old shortstop, ranked fourth among Nationals minor leaguers, dropped to the ground after trying to beat out a groundball in the top of the third. There was no collision with Rome first baseman Kurt Hoekstra during the play. Suns athletic trainer Don Neidig and manager Patrick Anderson attended to the former first-round pick as he sat on the infield dirt. He was helped off the field and replaced by Angelo La Bruna at shortstop before the bottom of the third.

Kieboom’s injury ended a three-run inning for the Suns that included the first of two RBI singles for Blake Perkins and a team-leading seventh home run this season for Daniel Johnson , who drove in a pair of runs to give the Suns a 3-0 lead. Johnson added a sac fly in the eighth to finish with 3 RBI.

La Bruna made the most of his shot to replace Kieboom’s bat in the three-hole by plating two runs with a double against Rome starter Jeremy Walker (Loss, 0-3) in the fifth. The 25-year-old utility infielder from Southern Cal finished 3-for-3 at the plate following another run-scoring double in the eighth.

Hagerstown took a 12-0 lead after batting around to score seven runs in the eighth. Sheldon Neuse tallied an RBI triple and Anderson Franco drew a three-base, three-run error on a groundball to Braves reliever Adam McCreery.

Nick Banks extended his hit streak to 16 consecutive games with a single in the ninth. The Texas A&M alum is ranked 24th among Nationals prospects and holds the longest hit streak by any South Atlantic League hitter this season.

19-year-old starter Tyler Watson (Win, 2-1) matched his career-high with eight strikeouts in six complete innings for the Suns. Reliever Hayden Howard gave up four runs in the eighth but Kyle Simonds stifled the Rome comeback by recording the final four outs without allowing a hit.

The Suns snapped their season-worst, four-game losing streak and traveled to Asheville, North Carolina immediately following Friday’s victory. On Saturday at 6:05 p.m., Hagerstown opens a four-game series against the Tourists (16-17). Right-handed starter Sterling Sharp (0-2, 4.73) will throw for his first win of the season against fellow righty Alejandro Requena (1-1, 1.45) for Asheville.

5/13Nick Banks hit a run-scoring single in the second inning, leading the Hagerstown Suns to a 9-5 win over the Asheville Tourists on Saturday.

Tommy Peterson struck Robbie Perkins out with the bases loaded to end the game for his first save of the season.

The single by Banks, part of a three-run inning, gave the Suns a 1-0 lead before Oliver Ortiz hit a two-run double later in the inning.

Trailing 8-2, the Tourists cut into the deficit with three runs in the eighth inning, including a ground out by Carlos Herrera that scored Max George.

The Suns tacked on another run in the ninth when Daniel Johnson hit a solo home run.

Hagerstown right-hander Sterling Sharp (1-2) picked up the win after allowing two runs on seven hits over five innings. Opposing starter Antonio Santos (1-3) took the loss in the South Atlantic League game after giving up eight runs and eight hits over 2 2/3 innings.

For the Tourists, George homered and singled, scoring two runs. Colton Welker doubled twice and singled twice, scoring two runs.

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