Nationals Minor League Notebook: June 6

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Courtesy of the Harrisburg Senators
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Courtesy of the Syracuse Chiefs

By Michael Marzzacco

Compiled via team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): Tuesday’s scheduled 7:05 p.m. game between the Syracuse Chiefs and Pawtucket Red Sox at McCoy Stadium has been postponed due to persistent rain throughout the afternoon and expected to continue through the evening in Pawtucket. The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Wednesday, with game one starting as originally scheduled at 11:05 a.m.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern League): Wyatt Mathisen hit a solo home run in the third inning, leading the Altoona Curve to a 4-3 win over the Harrisburg Senators on Tuesday.

Tate Scioneaux struck Khayyan Norfork out with a runner on first to end the game for his fifth save of the season.

The home run by Mathisen gave the Curve a 1-0 lead.

Trailing 4-2, the Senators cut into the deficit in the seventh inning when Stephen Perez hit an RBI single, bringing home Corban Joseph.

Altoona right-hander Tanner Anderson (3-6) picked up a quality start and the win after allowing three runs on 10 hits over 6 2/3 innings. Opposing starter John Simms (2-4) took the loss in the Eastern League game after he allowed four runs on just five hits over seven innings.

Alec Keller singled three times for the Senators.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The Potomac Nationals (26-33) fell for the fourth straight game, as an eighth inning rally by the Frederick Keys (29-29) wrapped up a four-game sweep at Nymeo Field. The P-Nats lost two separate three run leads, and saw the Keys answer their four-run eighth inning with one of their own in the 9-8 loss.

A back and forth game throughout the Tuesday matinee, the teams tallied 28 total hits. Potomac surrendered a season high 16 hits, which included two home runs for the Keys, as Frederick leads the league with 56 home runs in 58 games. After each of the three half innings in which Potomac scored, Frederick responded with multiple runs.

Potomac struck first for the first time in the series, though they missed an opportunity in the first inning. The P-Nats loaded the bases with no outs in the first but came up empty. However, Potomac put three runs on the board in the second inning. LF Matt Page led off the frame against LHP Brian Gonzalez (ND) with a home run, his first of the season. CF Jack Sundberg made it 2-0 with an RBI single, while 3B Bryan Mejia’s RBI groundout gave Potomac a 3-0 lead.

The Keys responded right away and plated two runs against RHP Nolan Sanburn (ND) in the home half of the third inning. Frederick tallied four singles in the frame, as an RBI base hit by C Armando Araiza cut the deficit to two runs, while 1B Alex Murphy made it a one run game with an RBI single.

The Red, White, & Blue extended the lead back to two runs with a run in the fourth inning. C Jake Lowery walked with one out, and after Sundberg singled, Mejia tallied his second RBI of the game with a groundout.

Once again, Frederick answered right back, this time with a three-run fourth inning. Sanburn surrendered a leadoff home run to DH Yermin Mercedes. Araiza followed with a single, and after Sanburn retired the next two hitters, CF Austin Hays gave the Keys their first lead of the game with a two-run home run. Hays’ 11th home run of the season made it 5-4 Frederick.

The game remained 5-4 in favor of the Keys until the eighth inning, when both teams sent nine men to the plate in the frame. With both starters long gone, it became a battle of the bullpens, and though both struggled, it was the Frederick pen that did just enough to pick up the victory.

RHP Jay Flaa entered for the Keys for the top of the eighth inning and did not record an out. Flaa walked Page, SS Edwin Lora, and RF Rhett Wiseman. The right-handed reliever departed and saw all three runners eventually score against RHP Zeke McGranahan (W, 3-0). McGranahan struck out Lowery, but gave up an RBI single to Sundberg, the Potomac centerfielder’s fourth hit of the game. 2B Austin Davidson put Potomac on top 6-5 with an RBI single, while 1B Ian Sagdal’s two-run single made it 8-5 and appeared to put Potomac in line for a series salvaging victory.

After a scoreless seventh inning, RHP Mariano Rivera (L, 0-2) came back out and struggled in the bottom of the eighth, as he recorded just one out. The first five Frederick hitters reached against Rivera, as LF Randolph Gassaway and RF Ademar Rifaela singled, which put men on the corners. On ball four to 3B Shane Hoelscher, Rivera unleashed a wild pitch, which pulled the Keys within two. Mercedes followed with an RBI double, which made it 8-7, and Araiza kept the offense going with a game-tying RBI single. After Rivera struck out Murphy, LHP Jordan Mills made his Potomac debut. Pinch hitting for 2B Drew Turbin, Steve Laurino put the Keys ahead 9-8 with an RBI single to left field off of Mills.

Page notched his second hit of the game with a leadoff single in the ninth inning. A sacrifice bunt from Lora moved Page to second base, while a groundout by Wiseman put Page at third base with two outs. McGranahan escaped and tallied the victory, as he struck out Lowery, the fourth strikeout of the game for the Potomac catcher.

Off of their first four-game sweep of the season, the P-Nats will have Wednesday off and return to Pfitzner Stadium on Thursday night, where they will begin a seven-game homestand with four games against the Down East Wood Ducks (Texas Rangers) and three games against the Buies Creek Astros (Houston Astros).

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

HARRISBURG (Low-A South Atlantic League): Postponed.

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