Nationals Minor League Notebook: June 25

By Michael Marzzacco

Compiled via team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs dropped the final game of a four-game series to the Buffalo Bisons, 7-5, Sunday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium. The Bisons scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to snap their ten-game losing streak and stop the Chiefs win streak at four. Andrew Stevenson had three hits and hit his first Triple-A home run in the loss.

Buffalo (35-40) grabbed the first two runs in the second inning. Gregorio Petit singled with one out against A.J. Cole. Roemon Fields followed with an RBI triple to give Buffalo a 1-0 lead. A batter later, Jon Berti’s at-bat was extended on a missed-catch error on Neftali Soto at first base. Berti then hit a ground ball to short, and Adrian Sanchez’s throw was wide of first, allowing Fields to score on the error.

In the third, the Bisons added two more. Jason Leblebijian singled to start the inning and Rowdy Tellez doubled home the run for a 3-0 lead. Mike Ohlman then singled, and Jake Elmore hit a ground ball to second, scoring Tellez on the force for a 4-0 Bisons advantage.
Syracuse (26-47) started its comeback in the bottom of the third. Stevenson hit a home run over the fence in right off T.J. House to get the Chiefs on the board. Sanchez then singled and House hit Neftali Soto with a pitch. After a pop out, Jhonatan Solano drilled a double off the wall in left to plate both runners and bring the Chiefs within one.
Stevenson helped the Chiefs tie the game in the fourth. The rally started with a one-out Caleb Ramsey walk followed by an Emmanuel Burriss single. Stevenson then poked a single to left field to score Ramsey and tie the score.
The Chiefs took the lead in the fifth. Alejandro De Aza singled with two outs and Irving Falu ripped a triple down the right field line to give Syracuse its first lead of the day at 5-4.
The score remained 5-4 until the ninth. Petit doubled to led off the ninth against Wander Suero, throwing his second inning of the day after picking up the win Saturday night. After Fields hit an infield single moving Petit to third, Christian Lopes doubled to deep left field bringing home the tying run and putting runners on second and third still with no-one out. Berti then singled off the mound and into center field to score both runners and give the Bisons the final margin of 7-5.
The Chiefs will open a second four-game series of this homestand against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders Monday night at 6:35 p.m. Edwin Jackson is scheduled to start for Syracuse opposite Ronald Herrera for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern League): Drew Ward homered and singled, scoring a pair of runs while also driving home a couple as the Harrisburg Senators defeated the Portland Sea Dogs 11-4 on Sunday.

Stephen Perez doubled and singled twice for Harrisburg.

Down 2-0 in the second, Portland cut into the lead when Henry Urrutia hit an RBI double, driving in Michael Chavis.

The Senators added to their lead with three runs in the fourth inning, including a single by Raudy Read that scored Darian Sandford.

The Senators later scored in three additional innings to put the game away, including three runs in the sixth.

Harrisburg right-hander Taylor Hill (3-1) picked up a quality start and the win after allowing three runs on eight hits over six innings. Opposing starter Elih Villanueva (1-3) took the loss in the Eastern League game after a rough outing in which he allowed five runs and seven hits over 3 1/3 innings.

For the Sea Dogs, Chavis homered and doubled, scoring two runs. Urrutia doubled and singled twice.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The Potomac Nationals (34-40) lost its third consecutive game 7-4 to the Carolina Mudcats (39-33) on Sunday afternoon to drop the first series of the second half. Carolina clobbered 15 hits for the second time in four games on the way to the three-run victoy. Despite the loss, six of nine Potomac starters registered a hit in the game.

For the fourth time in four games, the Mudcats jumped out first against the P-Nats. Carolina tallied three times in the top of the first against RHP Luis Reyes (L, 5-7). 1B Jake Gatewood singled in the first run of the game with runners on first and third and one out in the frame. RF Trent Clark plated the second run with a fielder’s choice groundout to first base. SS Luis Aviles added another with an RBI single to left to put the Mudcats up 3-0 after the first inning.

The Mudcats outscored The Red, White & Blue 8-1 in the first inning in the four-game series. Carolina collected 13 first-frame hits and finished with a .500 batting average in the inning. The Brewers Carolina-League affiliate scored eight runs in the first over the final three games of the series.

Carolina increased the lead to four off of another Gatewood RBI in the top of the second. With one out, LF Troy Stokes, Jr. and 3B Lucas Erceg both singled and advanced to second and third on a wild pitch from Reyes. Gatewood grounded to third, but the P-Nats could only get the out at first on the fielder’s choice, allowing the third Mudcats run to score.

Potomac chipped into the lead with two runs in the bottom of the second. 3B David Masters began the inning with a single to left. With one out, SS Edwin Lora reached on an infield single to third base to put two runners on. 2B Bryan Mejia singled in Masters with a two-out hit to center field. CF Victor Robles followed immediately with an RBI single to cut the deficit to 4-2 after two innings.

The P-Nats pulled within one in the bottom of the fifth inning. Robles recorded his team-leading sixth triple of the season with one out. LF Jack Sundberg knocked in his 10th RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly to left field. The Mudcats were clinging to a 4-3 lead after five.

LHP Frank Lopez (W, 1-2) allowed only three earned runs and earned the win in his first start with the Carolina Mudcats. Lopez signed with the Breweres on June 22nd. He previously posted an 11.70 ERA in six games for the Down East Wood Ducks in 2017.

The Mudcats would not allow Potomac to get any closer. They added insurance runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to pull away from the P-Nats in the finale. Stokes, Jr. drove in two of the final three runs in the sixth and the eighth. DH Cooper Hummel tripled in the third as Carolina finished off it’s series victory.

The P-Nats finished with eight hits on Sunday. Robles registered his 17th multi-hit game of the season finishing 2-5 at the plate. 1B Ian Sagdal, who recently entered MLBPipeline.com’s Top 30 prospects list, finished 2-3 at the plate as well. Despite taking the loss, seven of nine Potomac starters reached base and six recorded a hit.

Over the four game series, Robles and Sundberg each put in fantastic efforts. Robles went 7-for-17 (.412) with four runs, six runs batted in, three doubles, two triples and a home run. Sundberg finished 6-for-15 (.400) with two runs, three runs batted in, a double and a triple.

Potomac hits the road for an eight-game road trip against Southern Division foes. The trip begins with a four-game set against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The P-Nats and Pelicans face off on Monday night at 7:05 pm at TicketReturn.com field. RHP Nolan Sanburn (2-1, 3.81) starts the opener for Potomac against RHP Adbert Alzolay (6-1, 2.83) for Myrtle Beach.

Coverage of the opener begins at 6:50 pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show on the Potomac Nationals baseball network. The broadcast will air live on potomacnationals.com and can also be accessed using the TuneIn Radio and MiLB First Pitch apps.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic League): South Atlantic League home run leader Daniel Johnson went deep twice as the Suns tallied five home runs and starting pitcher Tyler Watson recorded a new career-high with 10 strikeouts during an 8-3 win over the Greensboro Grasshoppers on Sunday afternoon at Municipal Stadium.

Johnson ripped a two-run homer to put the Suns up 2-0 in the bottom of the first and lofted his 16th round-tripper of the year during the fourth inning to lead all hitters in the league by three home runs over former Kannapolis catcher Seby Zavala, who was promoted to A-Advanced Winston-Salem last week.

On Sunday, Johnson went 3-for-5 at the plate with three runs batted in and finished 8-for-17 with 7 RBIs in the series against Greensboro as the Suns won three out of four games.

Johnson hit one of three home runs for the Suns in the fifth inning. Blake Perkins led off with his sixth home run of the year before Johnson’s 407-footer and a 420-foot poke by Nick Banks for his third homer this season.

SAL Home Run Derby champion Sheldon Neuse lifted the fifth home run of the game with a two-run bomb in the seventh as the Suns finished one homer shy of their season-high. On April 30 at Lexington, Hagerstown bashed six home runs with an SAL-record 30 hits in a 22-4 win.

Jake Noll nearly hit a sixth home run for Hagerstown in the seventh inning on Sunday but settled for a pair of doubles off the wall with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate.

Watson (Win, 5-2) retired the first eight batters he faced with five strikeouts before allowing his first hit on a double by Luis Pintor. The 20-year-old southpaw gave up three consecutive hits including an RBI single by Eric Gutierrez in the sixth but finished with his first double-digit strikeout performance after allowing four hits and no walks in six complete innings.

Jacob Howell tossed two innings of relief and allowed a two-run homer to Gutierrez in the eighth inning before Sam Held slammed the door in the ninth with a perfect inning and two strikeouts.

Next up, the Suns hit the road for an eight-game road trip across the SAL Northern Division. A four-game series at Delmarva begins on Monday at 7:05 p.m. with right-handed starter Carlos Pena (3-3, 5.85) going to the mound against Shorebirds righty Lucas Humpal (4-5, 4.15). The Suns return home to Municipal Stadium on July 4 for an Independence Day matchup with the Greensboro Grasshoppers at 4:05 p.m.

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