Nationals Minor League Notebook: June 24

By Michael Marzzacco

Compiled via team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League):

Alejandro De Aza reached base three times and drilled a walk-off single Saturday. (Danny Tripodi | Syracuse Chiefs)

The Syracuse Chiefs defeated the Buffalo Bisons, 6-5, on another walk-off Saturday night at NBT Bank Stadium. The Chiefs walked off for the third time this year on an Alejandro De Aza RBI single.

John Stilson replaced Murphy Smith for Buffalo (34-40) in the bottom of the ninth. Stilson walked Brandon Snyder. Clint Robinson followed with a single to left, moving Snyder to third. Stilson intentionally walked Neftali Soto. And with the bases loaded, De Aza crushed a liner into right-center to bring in Snyder, giving Syracuse its fourth straight win and Buffalo its tenth straight loss.

Syracuse’s (26-46) bats initially exploded in the bottom of the second with five straight singles.  De Aza led off with a single off Brett Oberholtzer to left. Irving Falu and Spencer Kieboom singled as well. With the bases loaded, Emmanuel Burriss singled to left, plating De Aza. Falu then scored on an Andrew Stevenson single to center. Adrian Sanchez walked, scoring Kieboom. With the Chiefs up 3-0, Oberholtzer was taken out after just one inning. Chris Rowley replaced him and retired the side with no further damage.

Buffalo struck right back in the top of the third thanks to the bat of Raffy Lopez. With two outs, Christian Lopes singled to left. Greg Ross then walked Jon Berti. And on a 2-2 count, Lopez blasted a home run to right, tying the game.

Lopez hit another home run for the Bisons in the top of the sixth. He hammered the ball to deep center to lead off the inning. It was the catcher’s fifth home run and 15th RBI against Syracuse this season. But Buffalo wasn’t done yet. Jason Leblebejian followed with a double to right. He moved to third on a Rowdy Tellez groundout. Sammy Solis, on Major League rehab, replaced Ross. Leblebejian then scored on a Jarrod Saltalamacchia sacrifice fly.

The Chiefs tied things up in the bottom of the sixth. Burriss led off with a single off Rowley to left. With Stevenson batting, Burriss stole second, his first steal of the year. Stevenson then walked. Sanchez laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving the runners over. Snyder grounded out to second, but Burriss scored on the play. Robinson then singled to left, plating Stevenson and tying the game at five.

Syracuse will attempt to win its fifth straight game Sunday afternoon at 1:05. A.J. Cole is on the hill for the Chiefs while T.J. House will pitch for Buffalo.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern League): Raudy Read hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning, leading the Harrisburg Senators to a 6-5 win over the Portland Sea Dogs on Saturday.

The home run by Read scored Alec Keller and was the game’s last scoring play.

Ryan Brinley (4-4) got the win in relief while Taylor Grover (1-3) took the loss in the Eastern League game. Andrew Robinson retired the side in order for his second save of the season.

Henry Urrutia doubled twice, scoring two runs for the Sea Dogs.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The Potomac Nationals (34-39) fell 3-2 to the Carolina Mudcats (38-33) on Saturday night at Pfitzner Stadium. With the loss, Potomac now holds a record of 8-18 in one-run games in 2017. RHP Kyle Schepel tossed three perfect innings of relief while LF Jack Sundberg collected two hits and an RBI in the loss on Saturday.

For the third consecutive game, the Mudcats jumped out first against the P-Nats. Carolina scored it’s only three runs of the game in the first inning. The first four Mudcats hitters registered a hit against LHP Taylor Guilbeau (L, 1-1). 3B Lucas Erceg singled in the first run and 1B Jake Gatewood tallied the second with a double. LF Monte Harrison’s first Carolina League RBI capped the scoring for Carolina and gave the Mudcats a 3-0 lead.

Guilbeau settled in after the first and put up zeroes over the rest of his start. The left-hander finished six innings and allowed just the three runs on seven hits. He fanned five Mudcats en route to his first quality start in his third start of the season.

RHP Cody Ponce (W, 6-5) was a step better against the P-Nats on Saturday. The Southern Division All-Star allowed two unearned runs over 6.2 innings. Potomac only managed four hits and two walks against the right-hander.

The P-Nats scored both of their runs in the bottom of the third inning against Ponce. SS David Masters reached second to begin the inning on a catching error by Harrison in left. C Matt Reistteter took advantage of the defensive mishap with an RBI single up the right-field line. With two outs, Sundberg stepped in and drilled his first career Carolina League triple deep to center field to cut the deficit to 3-2 after three.

Both bullpens stifled any offense over the rest of the game. For Potomac, Schepel was perfect over three scoreless frames in his 17th outing of 2017. The right-hander retired all nine batters he faced in a row, striking out six in the process. Schepel struck out the side to begin his appearance in the seventh inning.

Meanwhile, RHP Nate Griep (S, 15) finished off the game for Carolina with a scoreless ninth. Masters sent a ball deep down the left-field line with two outs, but the 0-1 offering ended up in foul territory. Griep responded by punching out Masters to strike out the side and end the game.

Sundberg finished the game with two hits to extend his hitting streak to eight games. CF Victor Robles also extended his hitting streak to seven games with a double in the top of the first. Robles now has a team-high 18 two-baggers and 33 extra base hits in 57 games in 2017.

After dropping two in a row, Potomac looks to split the four-game series Sunday at 1:05 pm against the Carolina Mudcats at The Pfitz. The Red, White & Blue turn to RHP Luis Reyes (5-6, 4.75) to pick up the split in his first start of the second half. Carolina’s starter will be a game-time decision for Manager Joe Ayrault.

Coverage of the finale begins at 12:50 pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show on the Potomac Nationals Baseball Network. The game will be broadcasted live on or through the TuneIn Radio or MiLB First Pitch apps.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Suns ignited their league-leading offense with seven runs on eight hits through the first three innings before relievers Hayden Howard and Tommy Peterson combined for four scoreless innings in a 9-5 win over the Greensboro Grasshoppers on Saturday night at Municipal Stadium.

Peterson entered in a save situation with two runners on and nobody out in the top of the ninth. The 23-year-old South Florida alum slammed the door with a pop out and two strikeouts, earning his team-best fifth save of the year for the Suns (2-1, 40-32). Peterson replaced Howard, who earned his second hold by pitching three hitless innings with three strikeouts before allowing the tying run to reach the on-deck circle in the ninth.

The Grasshoppers (1-2, 38-33) went 2-for-14 at the plate with runners in scoring position as Hagerstown pitchers held them to just one hit through the final five innings.

Five Suns tallied multi-hit games as Sheldon Neuse and Jakson Reetz led with two RBIs each. The Suns erased a 2-0 deficit in the first inning after Neuse opened the scoring with a sac fly RBI and Reetz followed with his second home run of the year on a 414-foot shot over the 30-foot wall in center field.

The hit parade continued in the second inning with an RBI single by Blake Perkins and Neuse drove in his second run with a base knock to center. Perkins scored later from third on a double steal with Neuse, who stayed alive long enough in a rundown between first and second base to let the speedy Perkins scamper home for a 6-2 lead.

Jake Noll wasted no time adding another run in the third inning with a leadoff moonshot that carried 424 feet over the bullpen in right-center field for his sixth homer this season and the seventh earned run of the game given up by Greensboro starting pitcher Dylan Lee (Loss, 3-7).

Hagerstown starter James Bourque (Win, 2-3) allowed three earned runs through the first four innings and a pair of fielding errors by the Suns cost him two more runs. The 23-year-old from Ann Arbor, Michigan steadied the ship in the fifth with his only two strikeouts of the game in a 1-2-3 frame.

The Suns bought insurance in the eighth when Beckwith scored on a wild pitch and Daniel Johnson drove in Angelo La Bruna on an RBI single that padded the lead, 9-5.

On Sunday, the Suns swing for the four-game series victory over their division foes as the Grasshoppers wrap up their first trip to Hagerstown this season. Left-handed Suns starter Tyler Watson (4-2, 3.29) goes to the mound first at 2:05 p.m. in a matchup with Greensboro righty Kolton Mahoney (2-2, 1.88). It’s a Bark in the Park Day at Municipal Stadium with dogs invited to the ballpark as a companion to any ticket-holding fan. The Suns will also hand out 250 patriotic Woolie B. caterpillar mascot posters.


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