By Michael Marzzacco
Your daily Nats minor league affiliates update.
From the wires:
SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs fell to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in extra innings, 3-2, on Friday night at NBT Bank Stadium. Jorge Alfaro’s RBI single in the top of the tenth inning was the game’s deciding run.
Syracuse (13-24) scored first in the bottom of the fifth inning. Grant Green walked and Adrian Sanchez singled.
Austin Voth laid down a sacrifice bunt to pitcher Jake Thompson. Thompson attempted to field the ball but bobbled it, allowing Voth to reach first on an error. After Rafael Bautista struck out, Andrew Stevenson reached on an infield single to shortstop to score Green. After Brandon Snyder struck out, Clint Robinson also singled on a ground ball to right field, plating Sanchez for a 2-0 lead.
Lehigh Valley (27-14) struck back in the top of the sixth. The IronPigs also loaded the bases on three singles off Voth to lead off the inning. Rhys Hopkins grounded into a fielder’s choice, which allowed J.P. Crawford to score. Nick Williams then singled on a ground ball that hit Voth in the foot, plating Alfaro and tying the game.
Voth pitched six innings and allowed two runs. The 24-year-old did not allow a hit until Pedro Florimon’s one-out single in the fifth.
The game eventually went into extra innings. Hector Gomez led off with a triple to right in the top of the tenth. After Mike Broadway struck out the next two batters, Alfaro chopped a short ground ball down the third-base line. By the time Broadway scooped it up, Gomez had crossed home plate, while Broadway had no play at first.
The Chiefs return to action Saturday afternoon at 1:05. A.J. Cole is set to start for Syracuse while Thomas Eshelman will pitch for Lehigh Valley.
HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Miguel Gomez tripled, doubled and singled twice, scoring two runs as the Richmond Flying Squirrels beat the Harrisburg Senators 10-7 on Friday.
Chris Shaw homered and singled twice with three RBIs and two runs for Richmond.
Richmond started the scoring in the second inning. After hitting a double, Brandon Bednar scored on an error.
The Flying Squirrels later added six runs in the third, two in the sixth, and one in the seventh to secure the victory.
Richmond right-hander Cory Taylor (2-3) picked up a quality start and the win after allowing two runs on five hits over six innings. Opposing starter Austen Williams (1-5) took the loss in the Eastern League game after a rough outing in which he allowed seven runs and 10 hits over three innings.
For the Senators, Jose Marmolejos doubled and singled twice, scoring two runs.
POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): Despite a season best four hits for CF Victor Robles on his 20th birthday, the Potomac Nationals (19-21) fell to a season worst two games under .500 with an 11-7 loss to the Lynchburg Hillcats (21-18). Paired with scores from around the rest of the league, the P-Nats ended the night in last place in the Northern Division, a first for 2017.
The Hillcats jumped out to an early 2-0 lead against RHP Wirkin Estevez (L, 2-3). 1B Sicnarf Loopstok put Lynchburg on top 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning with a two-run home run, his fourth home run of the season. It was the first of six extra-base hits on the night for the Hillcats, who set a 2017 single game high with five doubles.
RHP Matt Esparza (W, 3-3) worked himself in and out of trouble multiple times over the first five innings. The right-handed starter stranded men at first and second base in the first inning, men at the corners in the third frame, and a man on first base in the fifth. Esparza did not give up a run until the sixth inning, when the Hillcats already led 7-0.
Lynchburg turned a 2-0 lead into a 7-0 lead vs. Estevez with a single run in the fourth inning and another four runs in the fifth frame. C Daniel Salters made it 3-0 with an RBI double in the fourth inning, a wild pitch made it 4-0 in the fifth, CF Jodd Carter plated a run with a double, while 3B Claudio Bautista made it 7-0 with a two-run single. Estevez gave up seven earned runs for the second time in 2017, the first time he gave up more than three earned runs since his 2017 season debut.
The P-Nats mounted a comeback and scored in each of the final four frames, though they never pulled within four runs. RF Rhett Wiseman got the P-Nats on the scoreboard with a two-run home run in the sixth inning against Esparza. LHP Billy Strode entered for the Hillcats in the top of the seventh inning and failed to make it through the frame. Robles went to the opposite field for his fourth home run of the season, a two-run blast, while 3B Kelvin Gutierrez capped off the three-run inning with an RBI double. RHP Paul Hendrix entered with two men on and two outs and struck out SS Bryan Mejia.
In the eighth inning, Robles tallied his fourth hit of the game with a two-out RBI triple. Friday night was Robles’ first four-hit game since 7/23/15 when he 4-5 for the Auburn Doubledays. It matched his career high for hits in a single game. Potomac scored its final run in the ninth inning on a two-out RBI single by Mejia, but RHP Kieran Lovegrove entered for Hendrix and struck out DH Matt Page on three pitches to end the game.
Lynchburg’s 15 hits matched the most that the P-Nats have given up in a single game this season. 15 different players had at least one hit between the two teams, while nine players had a multi-hit effort. With home runs from Wiseman and Robles, Potomac remains in the league lead for home runs with 39.
Sitting at the bottom of the Northern Division for the first time all year, the P-Nats will aim to bounce back on Saturday night against Lynchburg. RHP Joan Baez (1-5, 5.29) is scheduled to start for Potomac. Baez has gone three consecutive starts of at least five innings and two or fewer earned runs, his best stretch of the season. For the Hillcats, RHP Shane Bieber (0-0, 1.50) will make his third start of the season. Bieber has gone six innings and allowed one earned run in each of his first two Carolina League starts.
First pitch is set for 6:00pm on Saturday night.
HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): Anderson Franco capped off a four-run bottom of the first inning with a two-run homer and Hagerstown pitchers tossed seven scoreless frames on Friday night in a 4-3 win over the Lakewood BlueClaws (22-19) that lasted a season-low two hours and two minutes for the Suns (25-15).
Hagerstown starter Sterling Sharp (Win, 2-2) gave up a two-run triple to Henri Lartigue in the first and a solo home run to David Martinelli in the second before tossing four scoreless innings to earn his second-straight win.
Jake Noll slapped his team-leading 23rd RBI on a single for the Suns in the bottom of the first before Franco hit his third home run in as many games against Lakewood starter Adonis Medina (Loss, 1-3), who set down 15 batters in a row after allowing all four runs in the first inning.
The first-place Suns are now a perfect 5-0 at home against division-rival Lakewood this season and improved to 14-0 when leading after eight innings.