Nationals Minor League Notebook: May 31

By Michael Marzzacco

Compiled via team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League):

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Andrew Stevenson lashed a walk-off single in game two on Wednesday. (Danny Tripodi | Syracuse Chiefs)

The Syracuse Chiefs split a doubleheader with the Charlotte Knights on Wednesday night at NBT Bank Stadium. The Chiefs dropped the first game, 12-5. They then rallied from a two-run deficit in game two to walk off on an Andrew Stevenson single, winning 3-2 in extra innings.

Charlotte (26-25) got off to a hot start in game one with a five-run first inning. Jacob May and Nicky Delmonico singled off Austin Voth to lead off the inning. Yoan Moncada then walked to load the bases. Danny Hayes then grounded into a fielder’s choice, which resulted in May being thrown out on the force at home. In the next at-bat, Cody Asche knocked in Delmonico and Moncada on a single to right. After Carson Blair singled to center, Rymer Liriano doubled to left, plating Hayes, Asche, and Blair to put the Knights up 5-0.

Syracuse (16-32) struck back in the bottom of the third. With two outs, Clint Robinson doubled to right off Lucas Giolito. Matt Skole then singled to right, scoring Robinson and putting the Chiefs within 5-1.

The Chiefs put together another two-out rally in the bottom of the fourth. After Caleb Ramsey singled to right, Adrian Sanchez doubled to right. Ramsey scored from first to make the game 5-2.

The Knights extended their lead on back-to-back home runs in the top of the fifth. Moncada walked with one out. One batter later, Asche blasted a shot to right for a two-run home run. The next batter, Blair, homered to center to put the Knights up 8-2.

In the bottom of the fifth, Robinson hit his ninth home run of the season on a shot to center. The 32-year-old went 3 for 4 in game one.

With one out in the top of the sixth, Everth Cabrera singled to left and May walked against reliever Michael Broadway. One batter later, Moncada walked as well. Hayes then crushed a grand slam to right, putting Charlotte up 12-3.

The Chiefs retrieved two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Robinson singled to left with one out. Skole then hit his sixth home run of the year on a blast to right-center.

In game two of the doubleheader, the Knights again got on the board first. Following a Hayes walk from starter Dustin Antolin to lead off the second inning, Asche hit a fly-ball double to deep right-center field, allowing Hayes to score from first. Asche pulled into third on the throw to the plate with his fifth RBI of the game. After a Liriano strikeout, Jason Bourgeois’ infield single plated Asche and put the Knights up 2-0.

The Chiefs got a run back in the third inning off former Chief Reynaldo Lopez. Ramsey and Sanchez led off the inning with back-to-back singles. After a force out at third on a bunt attempt from Irving Falu and an infield fly from Snyder, Robinson delivered his second RBI of the day on a single to left field, cutting the lead to 2-1.

Snyder led off the sixth inning with a double to deep right-center field. After Robinson grounded out and moved Snyder up to third, a Joey Butler double to the center-field wall scored Snyder and knotted the game at 2-2. In the next at-bat Jhonatan Solano reached second on a throwing error from the third baseman Delmonico, advancing Butler to third in the process. On the next play Stevenson hit a soft ground ball at Charlotte shortstop Jose Vinicio. The Dominican infielder came up firing to home plate and cut down Butler, who would have been the go-ahead run. Lopez then struck out Grant Green to end the inning with the score tied.

Chiefs reliever Rafael Martin then retired the side in order in the top half of the seventh inning, striking out two in the frame. The Chiefs couldn’t score in the bottom half of the seventh and the game went to extras.

After another two-strikeout inning from Martin in the top of the eighth, the Chiefs ended game two in the home half. With one out, Butler reached on an infield single to second base. The outfielder then advanced to second on a passed ball by Charlotte catcher Roberto Pena and to third on a groundout from Solano. Stevenson lined a walk-off single into right-center field, plating Butler and lifting the Chiefs to a 3-2 victory.

The Chiefs and Knights finish up a three-game series Thursday night at 6:35 p.m. at NBT Bank Stadium. A.J. Cole is scheduled to take the mound for Syracuse versus right-hander Tyler Danish for Charlotte.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern League): Richard Urena doubled and singled twice as the New Hampshire Fisher Cats defeated the Harrisburg Senators 6-3 in the first game of a doubleheader on Wednesday.

Harrisburg started the scoring in the first inning. After leading off the inning with a single, Alec Keller advanced to second on a groundout, went to third on a groundout, and then scored on a wild pitch.

The Fisher Cats took the lead for good with four runs in the fourth inning. Tim Lopes hit a two-run double en route to the three-run lead.

The Fisher Cats later tacked on two runs in the seventh when Urena hit an RBI single and Danny Jansen hit a sacrifice fly to secure the victory.

New Hampshire right-hander Conner Greene (2-4) picked up a quality start and the win after allowing three runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings. Opposing starter Austen Williams (1-6) took the loss in the Eastern League game after giving up four runs and seven hits over six innings.

Gunnar Heidt homered and singled, also stealing a base as the New Hampshire Fisher Cats defeated the Harrisburg Senators 5-4 in the second game of a doubleheader on Wednesday.

Richard Urena tripled and singled with three RBIs for New Hampshire.

Jose Fernandez got Isaac Ballou to fly out with runners on first and third to end the game for his third save of the season.

Trailing 2-0 in the third, Harrisburg tied it up when Jose Marmolejos hit an RBI double and then scored on a single by Neftali Soto.

New Hampshire answered in the next half-inning when Heidt hit a solo home run.

The Fisher Cats later tacked on two runs in the fifth when Urena hit an RBI triple and then scored on a single by Harold Ramirez to secure the victory.

Harrisburg saw its comeback attempt come up short after Drew Ward hit a two-run single in the seventh inning to cut the New Hampshire lead to 5-4.

Andrew Case (3-0) got the win with three innings of scoreless, two-hit relief while Harrisburg starter John Simms (2-3) took the loss in the Eastern League game.

For the Senators, Marmolejos tripled and doubled, scoring two runs.

The Fisher Cats swept both games of the doubleheader after winning the first game 6-3.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): In their final game in the month of May, the Potomac Nationals (24-28) erased three separate one-run deficits, but lost a 5-4 lead in the top of the ninth inning, as they came within one strike of a victory in an 8-7 loss to the Lynchburg Hillcats (29-21). The Hillcats scored four runs with two outs in the top of the ninth inning, while Potomac left the tying run at third base and the winning run at second base in the bottom of the ninth.

After seven innings of back and forth baseball, the P-Nats and Hillcats went into the eighth inning with the game tied at three. Following six innings of one-run pitching from RHP Wirkin Estevez (ND), the Potomac bullpen surrendered seven runs, six earned, over the final three frames. RHP Jorge Pantoja (BS, 1) allowed two runs in the seventh inning, which gave Lynchburg the lead, but Potomac answered immediately against RHP Shane Bieber (ND), who tossed a career high 7.1 innings.

RHP Ronald Pena entered for Potomac in the top of the eighth inning, and despite a double play after a leadoff walk, failed to get through the frame scoreless. With two outs and the bases empty, CF Andrew Calica hit his second home run of the season, which gave Lynchburg its third one-run lead of the night.

As the teams scored in each of the final seven half innings of the night, Potomac answered right away. Bieber, who had never pitched into the eighth inning as a pro, struck out DH Matt Page to begin the bottom of the eighth. LF Jack Sundberg walked, and CF Victor Robles followed with his second double of the night. After 2B Austin Davidson got intentionally walked, C Taylor Gushue tied the game at four on a grounder to 1B Anthony Miller, which the Lynchburg infielder misplayed. That did it for Bieber, as RHP Kieran Lovegrove (W, 2-1) inherited a bases loaded, one out situation in a tie game. Lovegrove gave Potomac the lead, as he hit 3B Kelvin Gutierrez with a pitch, which forced in Robles, though the right-handed reliever stranded the bases loaded. 1B Ian Sagdal struck out, while RF Rhett Wiseman ended the frame with a fly out.

In the final frame, Potomac turned the ball over to RHP Gilberto Mendez (BS, L, 1-1), who entered the night a perfect five for five in save situations. The first two men singled in the inning, though Mendez then retired both 2B Sam Haggerty and SS Willi Castro. On a 3-2 pitch to DH Sicnarf Loopstok, Mendez unleashed a wild pitch, which plated LF Jodd Carter and tied the game. With two men on and two outs, RF Connor Marabell gave Lynchburg its largest lead of the night at 8-5 with a three-run home run.

The P-Nats didn’t go quietly in the bottom of the ninth, as they forced the Hillcats to go back to the bullpen. After Lovegrove struck out SS Edwin Lora, he issued consecutive walks to Page and Sunberg. With the tying run stepping into the batter’s box, the Hillcats called upon RHP Dominic DeMasi (SV, 1), who immediately hit Robles with a pitch, which loaded the bases. A run scored on a fielding error by Haggerty, and Gushue made it a one-run game with an RBI single, but Gutierrez struck out looking, and Sagdal flied out to centerfield, as the Hillcats escaped with a one-run win.

Off of a third one-run loss in the past four games, the P-Nats will turn to RHP Joan Baez (1-5, 5.03) on Thursday night. Baez has gone five consecutive starts in which he has not allowed more than two earned runs, something he did just once in his first four starts of the season. For the Hillcats, RHP Aaron Civale (Debut) is set for his first Carolina League start. Civale picked up the loss in each of his last two starts for Class-A Lake County, as he surrendered 14 earned runs over 9.2 innings.

First pitch Thursday night is set for 7:05pm.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic League): Trailing 4-1 after four innings, the Delmarva Shorebirds (21-29) scored eight straight in the late innings and the Hagerstown Suns (31-21) dropped the rubber match of a three-game series, 10-6.

Preston Palmeiro, son of former Baltimore Orioles slugger Rafael Palmeiro, launched two homers for the Class A affiliate of the Orioles on Wednesday night at Municipal Stadium. The 22-year-old first baseman went 3-for-5 with four runs batted in.

Delmarva right fielder Jake Ring added his fourth RBI of the series in the ninth, adding to his extra-base hits lead in the South Atlantic League on a solo homer against Hagerstown reliever Kyle Simonds .

Sam Held (Loss, 1-3) began the sixth inning for the Suns and allowed four earned runs on five hits before he was pulled three batters into the seventh.

The Suns manufactured a lead through the first four innings with sac fly RBIs by Anderson Franco in the second and Angelo La Bruna in the fourth. La Bruna followed his clutch performance during Tuesday’s win with another productive night, finishing 2-for-2 with a run scored and a walk.

A.J. Bogucki made his second start in a Suns uniform and gave up just one earned run through five innings, moving his ERA to 2.89. He allowed four hits and one walk while striking out three Shorebirds.

Despite the loss, Hagerstown maintained a half-game lead over the Lakewood BlueClaws (31-22) for first place in the SAL Northern Division standings.

On Thursday, Tim Tebow and the Columbia Fireflies begin their first and only visit to Municipal Stadium this season for a four-game series beginning at 7:05 p.m.

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