Nationals Minor League Notebook: June 2nd and 3rd

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Photo: @HagerstownSuns

By Michael Marzzacco

From the wires:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League):

Friday:

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Brandon Snyder hit his team-high tenth home run on Friday night. (Danny Tripodi | Syracuse Chiefs)

The Syracuse Chiefs fell to the Columbus Clippers, 11-5, on Friday night at NBT Bank Stadium. Brandon Snyder became the Chiefs’ home-run leader this year with a three-run shot in the third inning.

Columbus (25-29) opened the scoring in the top of the first inning. Yandy Diaz singled off Kyle McGowin’s first pitch. After Josh Wilson and Chris Colabello walked, Richie Shaffer grounded into a double play but Diaz scored on the play.

Syracuse (17-33) tied it up in the bottom of the first. With two outs, Ryan Raburn homered off Adam Plutko for his first time as a Chief to right.

The Clippers responded with a five-run third inning. Todd Hankins led off the inning with a double on a ground ball down the third-base line. Diaz walked. Wilson reached on a sacrifice bunt plus a throwing error by McGowin which loaded the bases. Colabello singled to right, scoring Hankins. Shaffer cleared the bases with a grand slam to left, his tenth homer of the year.

Syracuse narrowed the lead in the bottom of the third thanks to the bat of Snyder. Grant Green first reached on a throwing error by third baseman Diaz. Caleb Ramsey walked. And two batters later, Snyder crushed a shot to right-center to put the Chiefs within two. The home run was his team-leading tenth of the year.

In the top of the sixth, Adam Moore singled on a ground ball to right. After back-to-back wild pitches, Nellie Rodriguez walked. Jeremy Lucas then singled to left, scoring Moore. Cody Satterwhite came in immediately after the Lucas single. Diaz was hit by Satterwhite’s pitch. Rodriguez scored the play later on a sacrifice fly hit by Wilson. Colabello then doubled on a fly ball to center, scoring both Lucas and Diaz.

The Chiefs stole a run back in the bottom half of the sixth. Joey Butler walked with one out. One batter later, Irving Falu doubled to center, plating Butler.

In the top of the seventh, Wander Suero made his debut out of the bullpen with the Chiefs. Mike Papi walked to lead off the inning. After a strikeout, Nellie Rodriguez smashed a ground ball down the third-base line for a double. Papi scored on the play.

The Chiefs return to action Saturday night at 7:05 against the Clippers. Sean O’Sullivan will make his first Syracuse start while Shawn Morimando pitches for Columbus.

Saturday:

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​Matt Skole smashed his second home run in three games off the Disabled List on Saturday. (Herm Card | Syracuse Chiefs)

The Columbus Clippers edged the Syracuse Chiefs, 3-2, in ten innings in front of a sellout crowd at NBT Bank Stadium on Saturday night. Chris Colabello hit the game-winning home run off Rafael Martin. Matt Skole homered and doubled in the loss.

Columbus (26-29) scored first in the top of the fourth, when Cody Satterwhite replaced starter Sean O’Sullivan. Mike Papi led off with a walk. With Erik Kratz batting, a wild pitch by Satterwhite allowed Papi to reach second. After Kratz struck out and Nellie Rodriguez flied out to center, Jeremy Lucas singled to left, plating Papi and giving Columbus a 1-0 lead.

Syracuse (17-34) struck back in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Skole crushed a shot off Shawn Morimando to right for the first baseman’s seventh homer of the year.

The Clippers took the lead for in the top of the seventh. Todd Hankins led off with a single off Trevor Gott. Josh Wilson laid down a sacrifice bunt, allowing Hankins to reach second. Giovanny Urshela then grounded out which enabled Hankins to take third. Colabello singled on a line drive to right, plating Hankins and giving Columbus a 2-1 lead.

In the bottom of the ninth, Jhonatan Solano singled off Shawn Armstrong to center. Pedro Severino was called to pinch-run for Solano. A wild pitch by Armstrong allowed Severino to take second. Joey Butler singled him to third. Andrew Stevenson walked off on Wednesday with an RBI single to defeat the Charlotte Knights. This time, with a chance to tie, Stevenson grounded into a force out at second, but Severino scored on the play. Stevenson reached second on a throwing error by first baseman Rodriguez. The Chiefs stranded the tying run at second but the game was knotted up at 2-2.

However, the tie didn’t last long. With one out in the top of the tenth, Chris Colabello hit a solo homer off Rafael Martin to right.

Syracuse went down in order opposite Jeff Johnson in the bottom of the tenth.

The Chiefs return to action Sunday afternoon at 1:05. Greg Ross will take the hill for Syracuse while Julian Merryweather will be on the mound for Columbus.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern League):

Friday: A.J. Ladwig and Jairo Labourt combined for a shutout as the Erie SeaWolves defeated the Harrisburg Senators 4-0 on Friday.

Ladwig (2-1) picked up the win after he struck out eight and walked one while allowing four hits over six scoreless innings. Taylor Hill (1-1) went six innings, allowing four runs and four hits in the Eastern League game. He also struck out one and walked four. Labourt pitched three scoreless innings for his first save of the season.

In the bottom of the second, Erie grabbed the lead on a double by Zack Cox that scored Mike Gerber. The SeaWolves then added a run in the third and two in the fourth. In the third, Harold Castro hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Ross Kivett, while Tim Remes hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Cox in the fourth.

The Senators were held scoreless for the fifth time this season, while the SeaWolves’ staff recorded their fourth shutout of the year.

Saturday: Myles Jaye tossed a three-hit shutout, leading the Erie SeaWolves to a 1-0 win over the Harrisburg Senators in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday.

Harrisburg had a runner on first in the top of the seventh, but Osvaldo Abreu grounded out to end the game.

Jaye (1-4) struck out four and walked one to pick up the win.

The game’s only run was scored in the third inning when Ross Kivett hit a solo home run.

Derek Eitel (1-2) went six innings, allowing one run and eight hits to take the tough loss in the Eastern League game. He also struck out eight and walked three.

The Senators were held off the scoreboard for the sixth time this season, while the SeaWolves’ staff recorded their fifth shutout of the year.

Christin Stewart hit a two-run homer in the third inning, leading the Erie SeaWolves to a 5-3 win over the Harrisburg Senators in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday.

The home run by Stewart scored Mike Gerber to give the SeaWolves a 4-2 lead.

The SeaWolves tacked on another run in the fifth when Dominic Ficociello stole home.

Harrisburg saw its comeback attempt come up short after Neftali Soto hit a solo home run in the sixth inning to cut the Erie lead to 5-3.

Ruben Alaniz (2-1) got the win with two innings of scoreless relief while Jimmy Cordero (1-2) took the loss in the Eastern League game. Sean Donatello retired the side in order for his fifth save of the season.

The SeaWolves swept both games of the doubleheader after winning the first game 1-0. With the win, Erie improved to 6-3 against Harrisburg this season.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League):

Friday: The Potomac Nationals (25-29) shut out the Lynchburg Hillcats (30-22) on Friday night at Pfitzner Stadium. RHP Luis Reyes (W, 4-5) fired six scoreless innings against the Hillcats and struck out seven in his eleventh start of the year. The right-handed pitcher is now averaging eight strikeouts per game over his last four starts for the P-Nats.

Potomac got on the board first in the bottom of the second against RHP Triston McKenzie (L, 3-3). 3B Kelvin Gutierrez, 1B Ian Sagdal and LF Jack Sundberg all reached base to begin the inning to set up the P-Nats with the bases loaded and no outs. RF Rhett Wiseman stepped in and lifted a fly ball to left to plate Gutierrez on a sacrifice fly to give The Red, White & Blue a 1-0 lead.

After that, McKenzie and Reyes battled in a pitcher’s duel through seven innings at The Pfitz. The Hillcats starter went seven innings allowing only the sacrifice fly on four hits and a walk. The Indians’ top prospect struck out five Potomac batters in his 10th start of the season.

For the P-Nats, Reyes was brilliant for the fourth start in a row striking out seven through six against the Hillcats. He allowed only four hits and did not walk a batter in his 11th start of the year. The last time Reyes started against Lynchburg on May 21st, the right-hander set a career high in strikeouts, fanning 10 Hillcats. Over the past four starts he has totaled 32 strikeouts over 24.1 innings, allowing just 18 hits and four walks against opponents. With six shutout innings on Friday night, Reyes has now lowered his ERA below five for the first time since May 1st.

The P-Nats got two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning against RHP Jared Robinson who replaced McKenzie in the frame. Robinson loaded the bases with one out after hitting CF Victor Robles with runners on first and second. The right-hander got a strikeout, but could not escape The Red, White & Blue’s leader in RBIs, C Taylor Gushue. The switch-hitting catcher drove in his 42nd and 43rd runs of the season with a single on a ground ball to right field. The two-out, two-strike, two-RBI single gave Potomac a 3-0 lead heading into the ninth.

RHP Kyle Schepel finished off the Hillcats with a nearly perfect ninth inning. The Potomac closer hit C Sicnarf Loopstok to begin the inning. But, he got the next batter DH Connor Marabell to ground into a 3-6-1 double play to erase the Lynchburg threat. Schepel struck out RF Andrew Calica to end the game and close down his second save of the season.

Sundberg’s single in the second inning extended his hitting streak to a season-high nine games in a row. The Potomac outfielder began his Carolina League career with a nine-game hit streak and tied that mark with a hit in three trips tonight. Sundberg has been on fire over his past nine games. He is hitting .387 over that span with 11 runs scored.

The P-Nats try and salvage a split of a four-game set with the Hillcats on Military Appreciation Night on Saturday night at Pfitzner Stadium. After LHP Matthew Crownover received a promotion to Double-A Harrisburg on June 1st, LHP Grant Borne (1-1, 0.96) makes his second start of the season in his place. Borne threw 4.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen last time out against the Wilmington Blue Rocks at Frawley Stadium. He opposes RHP Shao-Ching Chiang (7-2, 2.70) for Lynchburg. Chiang is 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA in two starts against the P-Nats this season.

Saturday: Thanks to three solo home runs, the Potomac Nationals (26-29) wrapped up a series split with the Lynchburg Hillcats (30-23). Despite a loss in each of the first two games of the series, Potomac earned the split with a 3-0 victory Friday night and a 3-1 victory Saturday evening. LHP Grant Borne (ND) allowed just one run over six innings in his second start of the season, while Potomac tallied a solo home run in three separate frames.

In one of their quickest games of the season, the P-Nats held Lynchburg to just four hits. Borne allowed three, RHP Tyler Skulina (W, 1-0) did not allow a hit over two innings, while RHP Gilberto Mendez (SV, 6) surrendered a hit in a scoreless ninth frame.

The P-Nats got out front early against RHP Shao-Ching Chiang (L, 7-3), as 1B Ian Sagdal hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the second inning. Sagdal’s sixth home run of the season bounced off of the top of the yellow padding on the outfield fence and skipped out of Pfitner Stadium.

Lynchburg managed its lone run in the fourth inning. SS Willi Castro reached on a wild pitch/strikeout to begin the frame, and after a stolen base and two retired batters, 3B Yonathan Mendoza tied the game with a two-out RBI single. That was all that the Hillcats managed, as they went 1-9 with RISP and left nine men on base.

With the game tied, Potomac scored in the seventh and eighth frames. RF Rhett Wiseman hit his fifth home run of the season, a blast over the right field wall, while DH Austin Davidson hit a two-out home run in the eighth inning off of RHP Justin Garcia.

The Hillcats loaded the bases on three straight walks from Skulina in the seventh inning, but came up empty. Skulina hit a man and walked a batter in the eighth, but escaped. Mendez allowed a two-out single to pinch hitter Connor Marabell in the ninth, but the Potomac closer got 2B Sam Haggerty to ground out to end the game.

Off of two straight victories, the P-Nats will head to face off with the Frederick Keys. The teams will play four games spread over the next three days, Sunday night, a doubleheader Monday night, and the series finale at 11:00am on Tuesday.

First pitch on Sunday night is set for 6:00pm.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic):

Friday: After giving up three runs in the top of the ninth, the Suns hit back with three of their own to force extras, only to watch the Fireflies celebrate an 8-7 win after Brandon Brosher‘s go-ahead homer in the tenth inning on Friday night at Municipal Stadium.

Tied 4-4 with the Fireflies entering the ninth, Suns reliever Tommy Peterson (Loss, 0-1) allowed an RBI fielder’s choice on a looper into shallow center, followed by a two-run double down the left field line by Michael Paez.

Columbia closer Max Kuhns (Blown Save, 1) struck out four Suns in the ninth but still gave up the lead after walking two batters and hitting another. Nick Banks tallied a two-run single with two outs and Jakson Reetz followed with a strikeout that could’ve ended the game, but the wild pitch rolled to the backstop and Jake Noll raced home to tie it up, 7-7.

Brosher led off the tenth with a 424-foot bullet over the left field fence, tagging Peterson for his only earned run. Angelo La Bruna singled in the bottom of the inning but moved no further as Joseph Zanghi (Save, 3) struck out a pair to end the game.

Hagerstown designated hitter Telmito Agustin reached base four times with three singles and a hit-by-pitch. The 20-year-old from the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Thomas finished with an RBI with two runs scored, including one during the ninth-inning comeback.

All three Suns pitchers struck out Tim Tebow during his second game in Hagerstown. The Fireflies designated hitter went 0-for-5 at the plate with looking strikeouts against James Bourque, Steven Fuentes, and Peterson, who struck him out again on a swing in the tenth.

Tebow is now 2-for-8 in the series after slapping two singles on Thursday.

A sellout crowd of 5,894 packed into Muni on Friday and another huge turnout is expected for Saturday’s game beginning at 6:05 p.m. Suns righty Carlos Pena (1-3, 4.87) starts against fellow righty Harol Gonzalez (2-4, 5.19) for Columbia. VIP seats are sold out for the series and only a few general admission tickets are still available.

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday: It all came down to a throw by Tim Tebow. In a tie game with two outs and a runner on second in the bottom of the ninth, Suns first baseman Aldrem Corredor lined a single to the quarterback-turned-left-fielder, who came up throwing but couldn’t beat the speedy Telmito Agustin to the plate as Hagerstown walked off with a 4-3 win over the Columbia Fireflies on Saturday night at sold-out Municipal Stadium.

Corredor’s third walk-off base hit of the year followed a leadoff double by Agustin against Fireflies reliever Darwin Ramos (Loss, 0-1) and a two-out walk drawn by Blake Perkins from Adam Atkins, who allowed Corredor’s second RBI of the game on the game-winning hit. 

In the bottom of the eighth, Corredor scorched his eighteenth double of the year, good for third-most in the South Atlantic League, to drive in Perkins for the tying run. The 21-year-old Venezuelan finished 3-for-5 at the plate with two runs batted in. 

Agustin went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. In his first week back with the Suns since 2016, the 20-year-old left fielder from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands is now 7-for-12 at the plate against the Fireflies.

The Suns trailed 3-0 in the middle of the seventh after six scoreless innings by Columbia starter Harol Gonzalez. Back-to-back RBI doubles by Anderson Franco and Agustin spoiled the shutout and cut the Hagerstown deficit to 3-2.

Mick VanVossen (Win, 3-0) kept the Suns within striking distance by shutting down Columbia for three scoreless innings with just two hits allowed, no walks, and a pair of strikeouts. Hagerstown starter Carlos Pena left in the third inning after he gave up a two-run homer and loaded the bases, but Yonathan Ramirez stranded three Fireflies in the third and again left them loaded in the fourth. He tossed 3 1/3 innings of relief with just one run allowed on a solo homer by Columbia catcher Ali Sanchez.

Tebow pulled a grounder into right field during the sixth inning for his lone hit of the night. He’s now 3-for-12 against the Suns with three singles and five strikeouts in Hagerstown. 

Another sellout crowd of 6,351 fans filled historic Municipal Stadium on Saturday for the third of four games against Tebow and the Fireflies. The Suns set a new three-day attendance record with 18,462 total spectators packed into the 87-year-old ballpark in downtown Hagerstown.

On Sunday, the Suns and Fireflies begin their final regular-season matchup of the year with first pitch at 2:05 p.m. Hagerstown strikeout leader Tyler Watson (4-1, 3.05) draws the start against Columbia righty Gabriel Llanes (3-3, 3.11). VIP seats are sold out and only a few general admission tickets are still available.

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