Nationals Minor League Affiliate Report: June 16

By Michael Marzzacco

Compiled via team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs exploded for ten runs in the ninth inning on the way to a 17-9 victory over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs Friday night at Coca-Cola Park. It marked a season-high for runs in an inning (10), runs in a game (17) and hits in a game (18) this year for the Chiefs, and Syracuse’s most runs in a game since July 26th, 2012, a 17-9 win at Rochester. Brandon Snyder drove in six runs, a season-high for RBIs by a Chief this year. The Chiefs finished 13-for-21 with runners in scoring position on the night.

Syracuse (21-42) entered the ninth down 9-7 and faced Pedro Beato, who entered the game having converted 20 of 21 save opportunities this season for the IronPigs. Beato started by walking Alejandro De Aza on eight pitches and then walked Snyder. After Clint Robinson singled to load the bases, Beato walked Joey Butler to bring in a run and cut the lead to one. Andrew Stevenson then hit a ground-rule double down the left-field line to plate both Snyder to tie the game and Robinson to give the Chiefs the lead, 10-9. From there, Beato walked pinch hitter Caleb Ramsey and allowed an RBI single to Spencer Kieboom for an 11-9 Chiefs lead. The IronPigs turned to Jesen Therrien and he allowed a two-run single to Emmanuel Burriss to push the lead to 13-9. After a strikeout and RBI single by De Aza, Snyder capped the inning with a three-run home run, his 13th of the season, to cap the scoring at 17-9 after the ten-run inning.
The Chiefs grabbed the lead first way back in the first inning. Wilmer Difo led off the game with a double against Cesar Ramos and two batters later, Snyder hit one off the wall in right to score Difo for a 1-0 lead.
Lehigh Valley (43-24) would make it a short-lived lead as Rhys Hoskins homered with two outs, his league-leading 15th of the season.
The IronPigs added another run in the second. Nick Williams doubled to right center off Chiefs starter Austin Voth. Williams moved to third on a groundout and scored on Logan Moore’s single to right for a 2-1 lead.
Stevenson helped the Chiefs grabbed a two-out run to tie the game in the fourth. Stevenson tripled for the second time in three games with two outs, and scored on Adrian Sanchez‘s single to tie the score.
But the IronPigs answered right back. Voth walked Dylan Cozens to start the inning. After a flyout, Hector Gomez doubled down the left-field line to put runners on second and third. Moore then picked up his second RBI on a sacrifice fly to right to give the IronPigs the lead back at 3-2. Angelo Mora then extended the inning with a single to right to score Gomez for a 4-2 advantage. Syracuse committed two straight errors, first Ramos hit a grounder to third off of Snyder, and then Cam Perkins reached on an error on Difo at short, and Mora scored to push the lead to 5-2.
The Chiefs answered in the back-and-forth affair in the fifth. Voth helped his own cause and singled to start the inning, followed by a Difo single and De Aza walk to load the bases with no-one out. The IronPigs turned to Michael Mariot out of the bullpen, and after he struck out Snyder, Robinson hit a sharp ground ball to the left side. Gomez knocked it down at third, but couldn’t get an out on an infield single that cut the deficit to 5-3. Mariot then induced a double play to end the threat.
In the bottom of the fifth, Cozens tied his teammate Hoskins for the league lead with his 15th home run, the one over the left-center field fence on a line drive, bringing the IronPigs lead to 6-3.
Syracuse took the lead back with a four-run sixth. Stevenson singled and Sanchez walked to begin the inning. Kieboom then singled through the vacant hole on the right side of the shift, bringing home Stevenson and cutting the score to 6-4. After a flyout, Difo hit a hard line drive to right that fell just in front of Cozens, scoring Sanchez to bring the Chiefs within one. After De Aza singled to reload the bases, Snyder doubled to deep left-center field, bringing home Kieboom and Difo to give Syracuse the lead back at 7-6. De Aza was thrown out at the plate trying to score on the play.
The IronPigs squared the game at seven in the seventh. Hoskins singled against Erick Fedde, and Cozens drove Hoskins in with a double to right center. Fedde allowed three hits and a run in two innings in his second Chiefs outing.
Lehigh Valley broke the tie in the eighth against Neal Cotts. Mora singled and pinch hitter Jorge Flores walked while trying to lay down a bunt. Cam Perkins then successfully sacrificed the runners over on a bunt to back to Cotts. Pedro Florimon followed with an RBI single to right to score Mora, and then Hoskins hit a sacrifice fly to left against Rafael Martin to plate Flores and give the IronPigs a 9-7 lead, that would evaporate in the ninth.
The Chiefs and IronPigs play game two of the three-game weekend series Saturday night at 6:35 p.m. Dustin Antolin is scheduled to start for Syracuse opposite Tom Eshelman for Lehigh Valley.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Osvaldo Abreu homered and doubled, driving in three runs and scoring a pair as the Harrisburg Senators topped the Richmond Flying Squirrels 9-6 on Friday.

Jose Marmolejos homered and singled with two RBIs for Harrisburg.

Harrisburg went up 3-0 in the second after Abreu hit a two-run home run.

Richmond answered in the top of the next frame when Slade Heathcott hit a two-run home run to cut the deficit to one.

The Senators later added three runs in both the third and sixth innings. In the third, Raudy Read hit a two-run home run and Marmolejos hit a solo home run, while Abreu hit an RBI double and then scored on a single by Stephen Perez in the sixth.

Harrisburg starter Wirkin Estevez (1-0) picked up the win despite allowing three runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings. Opposing starter Jordan Johnson (4-4) took the loss in the Eastern League game after a rough outing in which he allowed eight runs and eight hits over 5 1/3 innings.

For the Flying Squirrels, Heathcott homered and singled twice, driving in two runs. C.J Hinojosa doubled and singled three times, scoring a run and also driving one home.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The second game of the four-game series between the Potomac Nationals (32-35) and Carolina Mudcats (34-31) has been suspended due to rain. The game got underway but the teams made it just two batters before the skies opened up and steady rain stayed overhead for the better part of an hour. The game is scoreless with the bases empty and two outs in the top of the first inning.

The teams will resume Friday night’s matchup on Saturday and finish the nine innings. Approximately 30 minutes after that game wraps up, the two squads will play a seven-inning affair at Five County Stadium, the third game of the series.

First pitch from Zebulon, NC is set for 4:00pm Saturday night.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns entered Friday night’s game against the Lexington Legends looking to hit the reset button after a four-game sweep at the hands of the Kannapolis Intimidators. With Kannapolis winning on Friday, the Suns had to win to keep their first-half title hopes alive, which would earn an automatic South Atlantic League playoff berth. An early back and forth game wound up going the way of the home team, with a 14-3 victory being earned by Lexington. The loss drops Hagerstown to 37-31 in the first half and Lexington is now at the .500 mark, 34-34.

Things got started early for the Suns, an encouraging sign given how the road trip began. With one down, Aldrem Corredor ripped his 19th double on the season to left field to get the first baserunner of the game for Hagerstown. Daniel Johnson followed on a 1-1 count and did the same, with his double to right field. Ordinarily this would score a run, but Corredor had to wait to make sure the ball was not caught, and could only advance to third. Sheldon Neuse made sure the run would score, and did so with a groundout to shortstop, pushing across the first run of the game for the visitors. Lexington quickly had an answer against Suns starter Carlos Pena, who allowed the tying run in the second. A hit batter, soft single, and walk loaded the bases with just one out, and Rudy Martin hit a sacrifice fly to left, tying the game at 1-1.

The Suns recaptured the lead in the fourth and did so completely on the back of two-out hitting. Jake Noll knocked his tenth double of the season to center field, and Nick Banks singled back up the middle to score Noll and put the Suns in front 2-1. Again, an answer would be found by Lexington, scoring twice in the fourth. Pena hit another batter and allowed a single to lead off the inning, forcing a brief meeting at the mound. After rebounding with a strikeout, he allowed a triple off the bat of Marten Gasparini to score both men on base and put the Suns behind 3-2.

The sixth inning began with a Corredor walk and a Neuse single with one out, and once again the Suns were threatening with men on. With two down, things looked grim again Ofreidy Gomez (3-7), the starter for the Legends, but Banks came through again. He doubled to left field to drive home Corredor and tie the game up with his second RBI of the night.

Steven Fuentes (2-3) came on in relief of Pena, who finished the night after going five innings, allowing six hits, three runs, one walk, and four strikeouts. Entering in a tie game, Fuentes only needed to keep things at bay and give his bats a chance in the later innings. Unfortunately for Hagerstown, the Lexington bats were the ones awoken. John Brontsema mashed his second homer of the season to left center on the first pitch of the inning, putting the Legends in front 4-3. Two more runs would score in the inning with two outs after a double from Khalil Lee and a single from Angelo Castellano made it 6-3. To put the game away, four more runs were pushed across in the bottom of the seventh for the Legends, highlighted by a three-run home run from Rudy Martin to make it 10-3. Yeison Melo cleared a bases loaded situation in the eighth with a double, pouring it on at 13-3.

With the Kannapolis Intimidators winning their game against West Virginia, the Suns are two games behind Kannapolis with two games to play. The Intimidators own the head-to-head tiebreaker, eliminating the Suns from first-half title contention. Game two of the series is on Saturday at 6:35 PM, and the series wraps up on Sunday at 2:05 PM.

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