Nationals Minor League Notebook: August 9

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Courtesy of the Suns

Compiled via team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs dropped the final game of the series to the Toledo Mud Hens, 7-3, Wednesday night at Fifth Third Field. Neftali Soto went five-for-five on the day with a double and two RBIs. The two teams combined for 27 hits in the game

Toledo (55-61) scored first in the bottom of the second inning. JaCoby Jones and Jason Krizan singled back-to-back off Jacob Turner, putting runners on first and third. Bryan Holiday followed with a sacrifice fly to left to score Jones for a 1-0 lead.
Syracuse (45-72) took the lead with two runs in the top of the third. Two former Mud Hens each picked up hits, with Chad Huffman singling and Michael Almanzar doubling to start the inning off Anthony Vasquez. After a groundout, Irving Falu singled home Huffman to tie the game. Soto followed with a single to right center to plate Almanzar and give the Chiefs a 2-1 edge.
But the Mud Hens answered right back in the bottom of the third. Jeimer Candelario singled and Tyler Collins walked with one out. After a strikeout, Krizan lined a two-run double down the right-field line to plate both runners and give Toledo the lead back at 3-2.
In the fourth, Major-League rehabber Alex Presley singled with one out. Omar Infante followed with a double into the left-field corner, and Presley scored from first to extend the lead to 4-2.
The Mud Hens added two more runs in the sixth, Efren Navarro singled with two outs against Neil Ramirez, and scored on Jeimer Candelario’s RBI triple to right-center, giving Toledo a 5-2 advantage. Tyler Collins then reached on a chopper over the mound, scoring Candelario on the infield single for a 6-2 lead.
Candelario continued his big day with a solo home run off Kevin Jepsen to lead off the eighth inning for a 7-2 advantage.
In the ninth, Soto continued his huge day with a second RBI. After Zach Collier walked with one out, Soto singled off Zach Reininger with two outs to bring the Chiefs within four. But Syracuse would get no closer.
Syracuse will continue its road trip Thursday night in Indianapolis, opening up a four-game series against the first-place Indians. Phillips Valdez is scheduled to start for the Chiefs opposite Nick Kingham for the Indians. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Victory Field.

 

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern League): Austin Hays hit a grand slam in the sixth inning, leading the Bowie Baysox to a 14-2 win over the Harrisburg Senators on Wednesday.

The grand slam by Hays capped a five-run inning and gave the Baysox a 12-2 lead after Ryan Flaherty drew a bases-loaded walk earlier in the inning.

The Baysox later tacked on a run in both the seventh and eighth innings. In the seventh, Erick Salcedo hit an RBI single, while Anthony Santander hit a solo home run in the eighth.

Bowie right-hander David Hess (9-8) picked up a quality start and the win after allowing two runs on just two hits over six innings. Opposing starter Taylor Hill (4-4) took the loss in the Eastern League game after a rough outing in which he allowed seven runs and eight hits over 4 1/3 innings.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The Potomac Nationals (52-62) defeated the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (59-56) 3-1 on Wednesday night from Pfitzner Stadium. RHP Sterling Sharp (W, 1-1) finished six strong innings in his first Carolina League win. RF Rhett Wiseman  drove in two of the three runs in the fourth with a two-run, go-ahead double in the two-run triumph.

After a pitcher’s duel through the first three innings, Myrtle Beach struck first in the top of the fourth inning against Sharp. With one out, 2B Trent Giambrone singled and stole second base. Two batters later, DH Vimael Machin hit a ground-rule double that bounced over the center-field wall plating the runner from second and giving the Pelicans a 1-0 lead.

Potomac pounced back immediately in the bottom of the frame with it’s only offense of the night. The P-Nats scored three runs in the fourth. 2B Austin Davidson and 1B Ian Sagdal singled to begin the inning to put runners on the corners. The P-Nats tied the game after a wild pitch from RHP Thomas Hatch (L, 4-10). Then, with one out and runners on first and third again, Wiseman tripled to left-center field to score both runners and put Potomac ahead 3-1.

 

Myrtle Beach cut the deficit to one in the sixth. Giambrone bashed his 12th home run of the season with one out. The solo home run to left pulled the Pelicans within a run at 3-2.

Sharp’s night would finish up after six strong innings. The right-hander recorded his first Carolina League win and quality start in just his second appearance for Potomac. The 22-year old scattered six hits and struck out six in his 18th total start of the season between two levels.

For the second straight night, the bullpen was flawless for The Red, White & Blue. RHP Tommy Peterson and RHP Gilberto Mendez combined for three scoreless to finish off Myrtle Beach. Mendez allowed the tying run to reach second base in the ninth, but did not falter. He notched his team-leading 11th save of the year.

Potomac and Myrtle Beach wrap up a three-game set on Wednesday afternoon from Pfitzner Stadium. The P-Nats look to win a season-high four games in a row and record their first series sweep of the season. The Red, White & Blue pitches RHP Joan Baez (1-8. 4.80) in the finale against LHP Ryan Kellogg (3-7, 5.49) for the Pelicans.

First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 pm from Pfitzner Stadium.

 

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic League): The Hagerstown Suns have played in so many doubleheaders, one might have lost track (we didn’t: 14). That has not stopped the Suns from rising in several occasions where their backs might be up against the wall. Another new hero emerged on Tuesday night against the Delmarva Shorebirds, and his name is Paul Panaccione. He only recorded two hits over the two games, but both left the yard, and he drove in a whopping seven runs. His efforts, along with clutch hitting up and down the Suns lineup, fueled a seven-run comeback in game one, and a confident victory in game two, sweeping the doubleheader with 9-8 and 8-5 wins. The Suns are now 62-50 and the Shorebirds have lost 11 in a row, at 49-63. More importantly, the sweep put the Suns back into a first-place tie with the Hickory Crawdads with less than four weeks remaining in the second half.

The Suns completed the seven-run comeback in game one in the top of the sixth inning, still trailing 8-5. Steven Klimekwas still on the mound for the Shorebirds, and with one out he walked Anderson Franco. After a coach’s meeting at the mound, he struck out the next better, bringing up Paul Panaccione. Having already hit his first home run of the season, he decided that one more sounded nice. A blast to centerfield for his fourth and fifth RBIs of the night made it 8-7, but the Suns were not done there. Blake Perkins followed with a walk, forcing Shorebirds manager Ryan Minor to bring in Jake Bray (2-4) out of the bullpen. Perkins stole second with Tyler Beckwith batting, and then Beckwith smacked a triple to center field, tying the game at eight and officially sending all of the momentum over to the Suns dugout. That was channeled by Aldrem Corredor, who knocked home the go-ahead run with a single to shallow center field, putting the Suns up for good, 9-8.

Sam Held pitched the final six outs to record his second save of the season, but the Shorebirds put runners aboard in each inning. Stuart Levy singled with one out in the bottom of the seventh against Held, but he induced a fly out and a groundout to second to end the ballgame and give the Suns the victory, tying their season-best for largest comeback of the year. The Suns previously came back from down seven against the Hickory Crawdads in a 10-9 May 6th victory.

Panaccione helped things continue in the right direction for the Suns in the fourth inning, down 8-2. Nick Banks walked to lead off the frame against Delmarva starter Matthias Dietz, and with one out, Oliver Ortiz reached on a line drive single to center. Panaccione hit his first homer of the season a deep drive to left field, scoring a trio of Suns and making it 8-5.

It was all Delmarva early in the ballgame, scoring four runs in each of the first two innings against Suns starter Ben Braymer. Making his second start for Hagerstown, he got off to a shaky beginning by allowing the first five men to reach base. The Shorebirds went single, walk, single, hit by pitch (Collin Woody, scoring the game’s first run), and double (Jake Ring, scoring all three runners on base). He would settle down and prevent Ring from scoring, taking the four-run deficit into the second. After the Suns got on the board thanks to an Anderson Franco RBI single, the long ball hurt Braymer again. He allowed a double to Ryan McKenna to put a pair of runners aboard before allowing a run-scoring single to Preston Palmeiro, and a two-run home run from Woody before it was suddenly 8-1 Delmarva.

Corredor and Panaccione were the lone Suns to record multiple hits in the opener of the doubleheader, while Kyle Simonds (5-0) and Sam Held (2nd save) pitched five total innings of scoreless relief.

Paul Panaccione continued his hot start to the series by driving in two more runs in Game 2, giving him a grand total of seven over both ends of the doubleheader. He walked to kick start the six-run third inning, and drove in a run via a sacrifice fly in the fourth. Entering the day, Panaccione only had four RBIs the entire season.

Six runs were put up in the third inning for the Suns, who initially trailed 1-0 at that point. Following the bases loaded walk by Panaccione, Jake Noll struck a sacrifice fly to center field to score Blake Perkins from third. This meant yet another two-out rally was coming for the Suns, something that has been so crucial to their recent success. Nick Banks provided a big blow with a triple to center field, scoring Panaccione and Aldrem Corredor, doubling the Suns run total and making it 4-1. After a walk from Tyler Beckwith forced Travis Seabrooke (3-6), the Shorebirds starter, out of the game, Oliver Ortiz greeted reliever Cody Dube with a double to right field, scoring Banks from third and making it 5-1. Adderling Ruiz wanted to make sure six was the lucky number in this inning, and he hustled out a grounder to third for an infield single, scoring Beckwith and capping off the inning with a 6-1 lead.

The Suns piece mealed the game from a pitching standpoint by switching things up, giving Steven Fuentes the start. He allowed a pair of runs through two-plus innings of work, but struck out four. Jake Barnett (1-0), was the next man in and his job was to hold the Suns lead, which he did successfully. He tossed 3.1 innings and scattered six hits across that time on the mound, striking out three. He was pulled in the bottom of the sixth with a sticky situation arising: the bases loaded, no outs, and a run already home thanks to a ground-rule double from Daniel FajardoPhil Morse came in while he allowed a single to Ryan McKenna to score one and a groundout from Palmeiro that scored another, he got out of the inning with a three-run lead intact and held down the fort in the seventh to complete the doubleheader sweep and earn his fourth save.

Speaking of doubleheader sweeps, it marks the third of its kind this season for the Suns, and the first time in eight tries on the road. Several men played key roles in this second game, highlighted by the big day from Adderling Ruiz, who went 3-3 with a run scored and two runs batted in. Panaccione drove in two and Banks drove in two with his triple. Blake Perkins and Tyler Beckwith were the two Suns to score a pair of times.

The series and the road trip wraps up tonight for the Hagerstown Suns, with a 7:05 EST start time against the Delmarva Shorebirds. Brigham Hill (0-0, 3.60) makes his second start for the Suns and he will be opposite of Jhon Peluffo (6-5, 3.66).

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