By Michael Marzzacco
Compiled via team press releases:
SYRACUSE (AAA International League):
The Syracuse Chiefs fell 6-2 to the Pawtucket Red Sox on a rainy Thursday evening at NBT Bank Stadium. Clint Robinson doubled twice and drove in a run in the loss.
Pawtucket (33-29) opened up the scoring immediately in the top of the first inning. With major-leaguer Sammy Solis making a one-inning rehab start for the Chiefs, Rusney Castillo smacked an 0-2 offering over the right-field fence to put the PawSox up 1-0.
Syracuse (20-41) responded with a long ball of its own in the bottom half of the first frame. After Wilmer Difo and Emmanuel Burriss grounded out against Jalen Beeks to lead off the inning, Brandon Snyder crushed a fly ball off the batter’s eye behind the center-field fence at an estimated 430 feet to tie the game at 1-1.
The PawSox regained the lead in the top of the fourth. Following an Allen Craig groundout against Sean O’Sullivan, Jantzen Witte doubled into left field. Just one batter later, Deven Marrero, in his first game back with the PawSox after a major-league promotion, doubled over the head of Andrew Stevenson in center field, plating Witte. Following a Mike Miller walk, former Chief Dan Butler slapped a line-drive single into left field, scoring Marrero and increasing the Pawtucket lead to 3-1.
That lead continued to grow in the sixth. With one out, Miller ripped a hard ground ball at third baseman Adrian Sanchez. Sanchez fielded the ball cleanly, but his throw to first was low and Brandon Snyder couldn’t pull it out of the dirt, allowing Miller to reach on the throwing error. In the next at-bat, Dan Butler singled into right field as Miller advanced to third. Austin Adams came in to replace O’Sullivan on the mound, but the PawSox didn’t stay off the board for long. Castillo hit a sacrifice fly into right field, bringing Miller in to score and putting the PawSox in front 4-1.
Syracuse recovered one run in the bottom half of the same inning. Burriss led off the inning with a pop-up single into center field that Castillo lost in mid-air. After a Snyder strikeout and a Joey Butler strikeout, Clint Robinson hit his second double of the game on a 3-2 pitch, bringing Burriss around to score and cutting the PawSox lead to 4-2.
Pawtucket added a pair to its lead in the eighth. With Neal Cotts on the mound for the Chiefs, Marrero hit a leadoff double into center field. Marrero advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from Mike Miller and then scored on a sacrifice fly from Dan Butler. One batter later, Castillo cranked his second home run of the day over the right-field fence, swelling the Pawtucket lead to 6-2.
The Chiefs hit the road for a six-game road streak that begins with a three-game set versus the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Fridaynight at 7:05 p.m. in Allentown, PA. Austin Voth is set to start for the Chiefs while left-hander Cesar Ramos is scheduled to take the mound for the IronPigs.
HARRISBURG (AA Eastern League): Eric Haase hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning, leading the Akron RubberDucks to a 7-4 win over the Harrisburg Senators on Thursday.
Cameron Hill got Jose Marmolejos to hit into a double play with runners on first and second to end the game for his second save of the season.
The home run by Haase started the scoring in a four-run inning and gave the RubberDucks a 5-4 lead. Later in the inning, Yu-Cheng Chang scored on an error and Jordan Smith hit an RBI single.
Robbie Aviles (2-1) got the win in relief while Braulio Lara (0-2) took the loss in the Eastern League game.
Yadiel Hernandez tripled and singled twice, scoring a run and also driving one home for the Senators. Raudy Read homered and singled, driving in two runs.
POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): With three separate two-out RBI hits spread over the first five innings, the Potomac Nationals (32-35) emerged victorious over the Carolina Mudcats (34-31) in the first matchup between the teams in 2017. LHP Taylor Guilbeau (W, 1-0) tossed five-shutout innings, while the P-Nats tagged LHP Kodi Medeiros (L, 3-5) for four runs over just 4.2 frames.
Potomac led from the get go on Thursday night, as the P-Nats plated a run in each of the first two innings. CF Victor Robles got hit by a pitch to begin the game, his league leading 13th HBP. A wild pitch moved Robles to second base, and after Medeiros tallied two strikeouts, RF Dale Carey put Potomac on the board with a two-out RBI double to the right field corner.
In the top of the second inning, DH Rhett Wiseman walked with one out, 3B David Masters followed with a single, and after Medeiros got 2B Bryan Mejia on a fly out, Robles made it 2-0 with a two-out RBI single. Robles departed the game after the RBI single.
Guilbeau withstood the few challenges by the Mudcats in his second start of the season. CF Corey Ray led off the bottom of the first inning with a single, but Carolina stranded him at third base. 3B Lucas Erceg began the bottom of the second inning with a base hit, but never made it beyond first base. Ray singled in the third inning, but DH Troy Stokes Jr. grounded into a double play.
The Mudcats finally managed to put multiple runners on base in the fourth inning, as two straight batters reached with two outs, but Guilbeau got 2B Luis Aviles to fly out. In the bottom of the fifth, a pair of singles from RF Carlos Belonis and Stokes Jr. put men on first and second base, while a wild pitch put two men in scoring position. Guilbeau finished off the outing and stranded the runners, as he retired SS Isan Diaz on a ground ball.
The P-Nats plated the eventual winning runs with two outs in the top of the fifth inning. Medeiros quickly retired the first two hitters of the inning, but then walked both Carey and 1B Ian Sagdal. RHP Jordan Yamamoto entered from the Carolina bullpen and immediately walked SS Edwin Lora, which loaded the bases. Wiseman lined a two-out single to right field, which plated both Carey and Sagdal, and made it 4-0.
The Mudcats threatened in the seventh inning against RHP Kyle Schepel, but the right-handed reliever worked out of a bases loaded, one-out jam. RHP Gilberto Mendez retired Carolina in order in the eighth inning, but ran into trouble in the final frame. C Max McDowell drew a one-out walk, while Belonis followed with a single. After Mendez struck out Ray, Stokes Jr. drove home two runs with a double off the left field wall. Representing the game-tying run, Diaz took a called third strike from Mendez, which ended the game.
The victory for Potomac was the sixth in the past eight games. Seven different P-Nats hitters recorded at least one hit, while Page and Wiseman tallied a multi-hit effort. The P-Nats won despite just three hits in 17 chances with RISP and 13 men left on base. Carolina left 10 men on and went just 2-11 with RISP.
Friday night, RHP Tyler Skulina (1-0, 1.59) is set to make his first start for the P-Nats. Skulina made 27 starts in Double-A in 2016. For the Mudcats, RHP Cody Ponce (5-5, 3.70) is set to try to level the series. Ponce has given up more than three earned runs in just one of his last seven starts.
First pitch on Friday night is set for 7:00pm.
HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic League): In a Thursday evening doubleheader that could prove pivotal in deciding a South Atlantic League Northern Division first-half champion, Kannapolis outfielder Micker Adolfo walked off with an RBI single in a 5-4 victory before the Intimidators shut down the Suns in a 9-1 romp to leapfrog Hagerstown and grab first place by one game in the standings with just three left to play before the All-Star break.
The Suns (37-30) fell out of first place for the first time since May 12 as the Intimidators (37-28) erased a three-game deficit in less than 30 hours, thanks to a four-game sweep in back-to-back doubleheaders at Intimidators Stadium.
In Game 1 on Thursday, Sheldon Neuse hit a two-run homer to center field in the top of the sixth, tying things up at 4-4. But Kannapolis rallied in the bottom of the seventh against Suns reliever Jacob Howell (Loss, 0-1) with a single, a sacrifice bunt, and a walk, leading to Adolfo’s fly ball to center that scored Joel Booker and awarded the decision to pitcher Mike Morrison (Win, 1-0).
Corredor went deep again with a first-inning, solo shot in Game 2, but the Intimidators scored nine unanswered runs as the Hagerstown bats went down quietly with just three base hits sprinkled across seven innings. Spot-starter Yonathan Ramirez (Loss, 0-2) exited after giving up eight earned runs on 11 hits in four innings of work.
Kannapolis first baseman Brandon Dulin finished the series 5-for-12 at the plate with six RBIs and four home runs after tagging three round-trippers on Wednesday followed by another two-run shot in Game 2 on Thursday.
The Intimidators, who began the season with a 1-7 record and haven’t reached the SAL postseason since 2009, control their own destiny with a one-game lead over the Suns and three home games left against the West Virginia Power.
Hagerstown will continue its chase of a fifth division title in six years as the final first-half road trip continues with three games against the Lexington Legends beginning Friday at 7:05 p.m. Hagerstown righty Carlos Pena (3-3, 5.89) matches up against right-handed starter Ofreidy Gomez (2-7, 4.55) for the Legends.