Nationals Minor League Notebook: May 14

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Courtesy of the Potomac Nationals

By Michael Marzzacco

Compiled via team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League):

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Matt Skole homered as part of a three-hit day on Sunday. (Danny Tripodi | Syracuse Chiefs)

The Syracuse Chiefs fell to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, 6-2, on Sunday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium. Matt Skole homered and picked up three hits in the loss.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (18-16) scored the game’s first run in the top of the fifth inning. After Mason Williams grounded out, Ruben Tejada and Mark Payton both singled off Austin Voth. Cito Culver then took first on a fielder’s choice. Tyler Wade doubled on a line drive to left, scoring Tejada. Culver also attempted to score but was thrown out at home by Adrian Sanchez.

In the top of the sixth, the RailRiders got on the board again. Clint Frazier singled on a bunt ground ball with one out. However, after a passed ball and a wild pitch from Voth, Frazier moved to third. Two batters later, Mason Williams singled on a ground ball to right, plating Frazier for a 2-0 lead.

Syracuse (12-20) finally scored in the bottom of the eighth. Skole led off the inning with a blast to right off Colten Brewer for his fifth home run of the year. The Chiefs were within 2-1.

In the top of the ninth, Austin Adams hit Tejada with a pitch. Culver then reached on a fielder’s choice and Wade walked, with Adams leaving in the middle of the walk due to an apparent injury.

After a pop-out, Neal Cotts threw a bases-loaded wild pitch which allowed Tejada to score. Frazier then singled to right, scoring Culver and Wade. After Mike Ford walked, Kyle Higashioka doubled on a ground ball to left, plating Frazier. The RailRiders were up 6-1.

The Chiefs got a run back in the bottom of the ninth. Sanchez led off with a single to right. Two batters later, he scored on a fielder’s choice by Rafael Bautista.

Syracuse goes on the road Monday night against Buffalo at 6:05. Taylor Hill will pitch for Syracuse while Cesar Valdez will pitch for the Bisons.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern League):

Game 1: Jorge Saez hit a run-scoring double in the second inning, leading the Trenton Thunder to a 2-1 win over the Harrisburg Senators in the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday.

The double by Saez, part of a two-run inning, gave the Thunder a 1-0 lead before Vicente Conde hit an RBI single later in the inning.

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

Trenton right-hander Brady Lail (1-0) picked up the win after allowing one run on five hits over 5 2/3 innings. Opposing starter Mark Blackmar (3-3) took the tough loss in the Eastern League game after allowing two runs and three hits over five innings. Matt Wotherspoon pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings for his second save of the season.

Trenton improved to 5-1 against Harrisburg this season.

Game 2Drew Ward hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning, leading the Harrisburg Senators to a 6-4 win over the Trenton Thunder in the second game of a doubleheader on Sunday.

The home run by Ward scored Jose Marmolejos to give the Senators a 5-3 lead.

The Senators tacked on another run in the sixth when Alec Keller hit an RBI double, bringing home Khayyan Norfork.

Jimmy Cordero (1-1) got the win in relief while Eric Ruth (0-1) took the loss in the Eastern League game. Wander Suero pitched two scoreless innings for his fifth save of the season.

The teams split the doubleheader after Trenton won the first game 2-1. Despite the loss, Trenton is 5-2 against Harrisburg this season.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The Salem Red Sox (24-12) took the final game of the series at Pfitzner Stadium on Sunday, as the Potomac Nationals (18-18) could not manage a second rally of the game in a 5-2 loss. The P-Nats went down 2-0 after half an inning, tied the game up over the next two frames, but gave up three runs in the fourth inning. RHP Jefry Rodriguez (L, 3-2) equaled his shortest outing of the season, as the right-handed starter allowed five runs, three earned, over four innings. The bullpen due of RHP Sam Held and RHP Mariano Rivera did not allow a hit over the final five innings for Potomac.

Salem struck early with two runs in the top of the first inning, as an error by 2B Bryan Mejia led to two runs. Rodriguez walked a pair of Red Sox batters, and after 1B Josh Ockimey struck out, 2B Jose Sermo reached on a fielding error by Mejia. The error plated CF Trenton Kemp, while RF Kyri Washington made it 2-0 Salem with an RBI single.

The P-Nats cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the first inning. CF Victor Robles led off the frame with a double, and with two outs, 1B Ian Sagdal came through with an RBI single. RHP Daniel Gonzalez (ND) strike out RF Rhett Wiseman, as the P-Nats left the bases loaded in the frame. Potomac left 14 men on base in the loss and went just 2-14 with RISP.

In the bottom of the second inning, Potomac tied the game on yet another two-out RBI hit. With runners on the corners, 3B Kelvin Gutierrez plated DH Matt Page with a single, though once again, Potomac left two men in scoring position, as Gonzalez got C Taylor Gushue to ground out.

Rodriguez struggled to get through the fourth inning for Potomac, as Salem tagged the righty for three runs in the frame. SS Chad De La Guerra, who entered the game one inning prior after Sermo left with an injury, led off the inning with a single. Washington followed with a double, which put two men in scoring position with no outs. Rodriguez retired C Austin Rei, but 3B Jordan Betts plated both runners with a double to left field. 2B Nick Lovullo followed with an RBI single, which made it 5-2 Salem, the eventual final.

Gonzalez pitched just three innings in his Carolina League debut, but the Salem bullpen did not allow a run over the final six innings. RHP Jordan Weems (W, 4-1) allowed just one hit over three-shutout innings, RHP Austin Glorius gave up two hits and walked a pair over 1.1 innings of shutout baseball, while LHP Bobby Poyner (SV, 3) struck out four over 1.2 scoreless frames.

Off of the series loss, Potomac sits a season high six games behind the Red Sox in the Northern Division standings. Up next for the P-Nats is a four-game series vs. the Wilmington Blue Rocks, which gets underway Monday night. RHP Joan Baez (1-4, 5.74) will get the start for Potomac. Baez enters off of consecutive outings in which he surrendered just one earned run. For the Blue Rocks, RHP Scott Blewett (1-3, 4.05) is set to start in the series opener. Blewett allowed a season high six earned runs in his last start, a loss to Potomac on 5/10. First pitch is set for 7:05pm on Monday night.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): Daniel Johnson hit a go-ahead solo homer in the top of the ninth to put the Hagerstown Suns (22-14) ahead for good, 2-1, during a Mother’s Day matinee with the Asheville Tourists (16-19) at McCormick Field on Sunday.

Johnson’s line drive to center field cleared the fence for his third home run in the last three games. He sits second in the South Atlantic League with nine homers this season. The 21-year-old outfielder, ranked 28th among Washington Nationals prospects by MLB.com, went deep just once in 62 games with the Auburn Doubledays in Class A Short Season last year.

The Suns opened the scoring In the top of the sixth when newly-added infielder Tyler Beckwith launched his own solo homer to left field. The Mount Airy, Maryland native joined the Suns on Sunday, replacing injured shortstop Carter Kieboom , who was placed on the Disabled List. 

Hagerstown starter McKenzie Mills allowed one run on an RBI double from Eric Toole in the bottom of the sixth. Mills took the no-decision after 5 2/3 innings with seven hits, one walk, and three strikeouts. 

Steven Fuentes (Win, 2-0) allowed just one hit in 3 1/3 scoreless innings, matching his longest relief outing of the season. The 20-year-old from Panama struck out three Tourists and allowed no walks.

Hagerstown moved back into solo first place atop the SAL Northern Division by a full game over the Lakewood BlueClaws (21-15). The Suns are now 4-2 against Asheville this season and matched its longest road winning streak with a third consecutive victory away from Municipal Stadium in Hagerstown. 

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