July 2, 2015

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for June 21

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs took the final game of a three-game set against the Buffalo Bisons, 1-0, in 10 innings on Sunday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium. The game remained scoreless until the 10th when Tony Gwynn Jr. hit an RBI single to walk off the Bisons.

The game was a pitchers’ duel between Syracuse starter Taylor Jordan and Buffalo starter Jeff Francis. Neither starter surrendered a run in their outings on Sunday. Jordan completed seven innings and allowed only two hits and three walks while striking out two against the Bisons. Over his past two starts, Jordan has now thrown 14 consecutive scoreless innings.

Francis was just as dominant for Buffalo (34-37). The 34-year-old veteran hurled eight innings of shutout baseball for the Bisons. The left-hander allowed only three hits and one walk and struck out seven on Sunday. Francis lowered his ERA to 2.06 on the season after eight scoreless frames.

Syracuse (24-46) won and broke the scoreless tie in the 10th inning against Andrew Albers. Kevin Keyes continued his hot hitting and grounded a single into left field to lead off the inning. Ricky Hague followed with a sacrifice bunt that moved Keyes to second with one man out. Then, Gwynn Jr. lined an RBI single to right-center field, which scored Keyes and gave the Chiefs the 1-0 win.

The Chiefs open a four-game set against the Charlotte Knights on Monday night at 7:05 p.m. at NBT Bank Stadium. Syracuse sends right-hander Paolo Espino to the mound against a pitcher to be announced for Charlotte.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): A five-run fifth inning propelled the Altoona Curve to a 7-3 victory over the Harrisburg Senators Sunday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field. Altoona has taken two of the series’ first three games from Harrisburg (29-39).

Senators’ starter Austin Voth allowed two runs in the first inning, but appeared to settle in, retiring nine of 11 hitters in three scoreless innings that ensued. However, after the Senators took the lead in the fifth, Altoona loaded the bases against Voth via a single, error and a walk. Mel Rojas Jr.’s two-run double ended Voth’s day, but the right-hander’s two other runners also scored. Paul Demny relieved Voth and allowed an RBI single followed by a two-run double to blow the game open in favor of Altoona. Demny finished his evening by pitching 1.2 innings, allowing a run on two hits and two walks. All five outs he recorded were strikeouts. Abel De Los Santos pitched the final two innings, striking out five in two scoreless innings. The three Harrisburg pitchers struck out 16 batters and 11 of the last 12 outs recorded were via the punchout.

Matt Skole hit his fifth double of the year to start the top of the second inning, and came around to score on a Shawn Pleffner RBI groundout. Trailing 2-1 entering the fifth, Drew Vettleson doubled and Pleffner tripled on back-to-back hitters to tie the game. Harrisburg took the lead when Brian Jeroloman drove in Pleffner with a sacrifice fly. The Senators finished with five hits and five walks, but left just four runners on the base paths.

The Senators and Curve will play a doubleheader tomorrow to finish the series, beginning at 4:30 p.m.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina Legue): The P-Nats (33-37-Overall, 18-17-Home) picked up two wins, both shutouts, over the Carolina Mudcats (34-35-Overall, 14-19-Road) after Saturday night’s game was suspended 4-0 and 1-0 to win the series three-games-to-one at Pfitzner Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

RHP Reynaldo Lopez made the start for Potomac and cruised through three innings allowing two hits and no runs, he didn’t issue a free pass and struck out five in the outing.

Saturday night’s game was suspended after three innings with a 2-0 lead. Potomac, against RHP Andrew Waszak (4-5, 3.48), went six-up, six-down through two and busted through in the third against the righty. 2B Khayyan Norfork singled and moved to second on DH Jimmy Yezzo’s single. RF Estarlin Martinez hit a fielder’s choice ball on a bunt attempt that had Norfork put out at third base. CF Isaac Ballou then hit a fielder’s choice ball again where Martinez was put out at second base and Yezzo moved to third. 2B Adrian Sanchez then singled in Yezzo for a 1-0 lead. 1B John Wooten then singled and Ballou came home for a 2-0 lead and then the game went into a rain delay before being suspended. Waszak took the loss and for his three innings allowing four hits and two runs (both earned), he didn’t allowed a walk and he didn’t record a strikeout.

When play resumed on Sunday afternoon RHP Wander Suero (6-2, 2.50) entered the game for Lopez and pitched five scoreless innings recording the win while holding the Mudcats scoreless on just one hit, two walks and struck out three.

RHP Britt Robertshaw came in and Potomac added a run in his first inning of work. With two outs RF Brandon Miller doubled, his 11th two-bagger of the year. After a Norfork walk, DH Jimmy Yezzo singled in Miller for a 3-0 lead. Robertshaw pitched three innings and gave up two hits, the one run on two walks and he struck out six.

In the bottom of the eighth against RHP Mauricio Cabrera the P-Nats added their final insurance run. 2B Adrian Sanchez walked and then stole second and third base. Two batters later 3B Drew Ward brought him home with a sacrifice fly to centerfield for the 4-0 P-Nats lead.

RHP Manny Rodriguez came in for the ninth and pitched a one, two, three frame to seal the suspended game shutout victory.

The regularly scheduled game began just after two PM and it featured RHP Tyler Mapes (1-0, 2.12) for Potomac, who had his best outing of the season. Mapes hurled five shutout innings allowing just two hits to Carolina and he struck out two.

Potomac against Carolina’s starter RHP Seth Webster (3-3, 2.79), who lasted 4,2 innings relinquishing six hits and one run (earned) with one strikeout and no walks, scored their lone run in the bottom of the first when SS Stephen Perez singled. LF Isaac Ballou singled behind Perez moving him to second base and after a Miller flyout, Ward picked up his 29th RBI with a single driving in Perez for a 1-0 P-Nats lead.

LHP Matt Marskberry came in relief of Webster and pitched an inning and a third scoreless to finish the game for Carolina. He was perfect with two strikeouts.

RHP Justin Amlung, who made his Carolina League debut, and pitched a perfect sixth followed by LHP Nick Lee (8 SV) facing just three in the top of the seventh to close the 1-0 win for Potomac.

Potomac wrapped up the first-half of the 2015 season at 33-37 and earned their sixth and seventh shutout wins of the year.

With the back-to-back shutout victories Potomac has now gone 20.2 scoreless innings to end the series against Carolina. The streak is a new consecutive scoreless streak for Potomac in 2015.

The Carolina League now pauses for the All-Star break and Potomac will resume play to begin the second-half in Wilmington against the Northern Division Champion Blue Rocks.

First Pitch from Wilmington is set for 6:35 pm.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns (35-33) finished off the first half of the South Atlantic League season on Sunday afternoon with a decisive 6-3 victory over the Delmarva Shorebirds (33-35) in front of 997 at Municipal Stadium. The win evens the season series between the two teams at four wins apiece, and gives Hagerstown its first series sweep since a two-game series sweep at home against Hickory on June 3.

The Suns took the lead for good on Sunday with a three-run fifth inning. Trailing 3-2 entering the frame, Hagerstown was able to get its first two hitters of the inning aboard thanks to a missed catch error on a play at first and a single to left. Then, 1B Jose Marmolejos came to the plate and he mashed a fly ball to center field just out of the reach of CF Jay Gonzalez, driving in 2B Osvaldo Abreu from third to tie the game. Designated hitter Grant DeBruin followed Marmolejos’ double with a single to short, driving in another run to put the Suns up for good. Catcher Matt Reistetter was next up to the plate, and he drove in Marmolejos from third with a sacrifice fly to right, making it 5-3 Hagerstown.

The Suns had taken an initial 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Three of the first four hitters in the inning singled to load the bases with one out. Then, CF Dale Carey came to the plate and he lifted a fly ball to center field deep enough for SS David Masters to tag up and score from third when the ball was caught for a sacrifice fly. Back-to-back walks followed, which pushed across the second run of the frame.

The final Suns run crossed the plate in the eighth thanks to an RBI single by Abreu. Abreu finished with his third straight multi-hit game, and the Suns as a team totaled 10 hits for the second consecutive game. Nine of the 10 hits by Hagerstown were singles.

RHP Lucas Long (2-2) allowed all three Hagerstown fifth inning runs, and thus he was tagged with the loss. He threw 2.1 innings in relief, giving up three hits and one walk while striking out one. RHP Mario Sanchez (4-2) earned the win for the Suns. He threw two perfect innings in relief, striking out one. LHP Jake Walsh gave up two hits in the ninth but still managed to pick up his third save in three tries this season.

The Suns now have three days off for the South Atlantic League All-Star break before beginning the second half of the season on Thursday June 25 at Delmarva. First pitch on Thursday is scheduled for 7:05pm. The South Atlantic League All-Star game will take place Tuesday June 23 in Asheville, North Carolina.

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for June 20

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs fell to the Buffalo Bisons, 5-3, in 11 innings on Saturday. First baseman Kevin Keyes drove in all three Chiefs runs with a bases-clearing double in the sixth inning. Chiefs starter Scott McGregor threw six and one-third innings, allowing three runs while striking out six.

Trailing 3-0, Syracuse (23-46) answered in the bottom of the sixth. Caleb Ramsey and Dan Butler both reached base to lead off the inning, putting runners on first and second. After Bisons starter Felix Doubront struck out the next two batters, Jason Martinson walked, loading the bases for Keyes. Keyes continued his Triple-A hot streak with a ground-ball double down the third-base line, scoring all three base runners and tying the game at three.

It took the Bisons 11 innings to beat the Chiefs. Andy Burns reached on a one-out single, but advanced to second on a throwing error by third baseman Ricky Hague. After Chiefs reliever Evan Meek intentionally walked Daric Barton, catcher Sean Ochinko doubled to right-center field, clearing the bases and putting the Bisons up for good, 5-3.

The Chiefs and Bisons will play the final game of a three-game set Sunday afternoon with first pitch slated for 1:05 p.m. Syracuse will send right-hander Taylor Jordan to the mound to face Buffalo’s Jeff Francis.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern):  The Harrisburg Senators beat the Altoona Curve 4-0 in game one of a doubleheader before the rains came and forced game two to be postponed. The postponed game will be made up on Monday with a doubleheader slated to begin at 4:30 p.m.

Senators’ starting pitcher Dakota Bacus shined Saturday, throwing a seven-inning complete game shutout. Bacus scattered six hits, walked two and struck out three. The win was his third of the year, and in the process, lowered his ERA with Harrisburg to 3.50.

Harrisburg supported Bacus early as Wilmer Difo and Trea Turner began the day with singles. Matt Skole upped his team-high RBI total to 38 with a two-run single that scored Difo and Turner later in the inning. The Senators then loaded the bases in the third inning with three consecutive singles by Brian Goodwin, Skole and Cutter Dykstra. Brian Jeroloman followed with an RBI single to make it 3-0, Senators. An inning later, Difo started the frame with a bunt single, stole second, moved to third on a Turner single and scored on a Goodwin groundout.

Difo and Turner combined to go 5-for-8 with three runs scored in the game. Skole and Dykstra also provided two hits for Harrisburg, which recorded 11 hits overall and left seven men on base.

The Senators and Curve remain on schedule for tonight’s 6:00 p.m. before playing a doubleheader on Monday.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The Potomac Nationals (31-37-Overall, 16-17-Home) plated two runs in the bottom of the third to take a 2-0 lead over the Carolina Mudcats (34-33-Overall, 14-17-Road) at Pfitzner Stadium before the rain came and the game was suspended after a fifty two minute weather delay.

The suspended game will be resumed in the top of the fourth with Carolina coming to bat and will be finished as a nine-inning contest with the originally scheduled game to follow the conclusion of the suspended game and be played as a seven-inning contest to wrap up the first-half of the 2015 Carolina League season.

First pitch for the resumption of the suspended game will be at 12:00 pm.

RHP Reynaldo Lopez made the start for Potomac and cruised through three innings allowing two hits and no runs, he didn’t issue a free pass and struck out five in the outing.

Potomac, against RHP Andrew Waszak, went six-up, six-down through two and busted through in the third against the righty. 2B Khayyan Norfork singled and moved to second on DH Jimmy Yezzo‘s single. RF Estarlin Martinez hit a fielder’s choice ball on a bunt attempt that had Norfork put out at third base. CF Isaac Ballou then hit a fielder’s choice ball again where Martinez was put out at second base and Yezzo moved to third. 2B Adrian Sanchez then singled in Yezzo for a 1-0 lead. 1B John Wooten then singled and Ballou came home for a 2-0 lead and then the game went into a rain delay before being suspended.

The suspended game will feature a pitcher to be announced for Potomac against RHP Britt Robertshaw (0-0, 5.11) for Carolina while the originally scheduled game sees RHP Tyler Mapes (0-0, 2.48) for the P-Nats vs. RHP Seth Webster (3-2, 2.91) for the Mudcats.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns (34-33) game against the Delmarva Shorebirds (33-34) scheduled for last night was cancelled because of rain. The teams will play the final game of a shortened two-game series at Municipal Stadium on Sunday June 21. First pitch on Sunday is scheduled for 1:05pm.

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for June 19

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs lost 8-6 against the Buffalo Bisons on Friday night at NBT Bank Stadium. The Chiefs hit two home runs and recorded 15 hits, but they trailed throughout after Luke Scott’s third-inning grand slam.

Syracuse (23-45) scored first in the bottom of the first inning against Matt Boyd. Darin Mastroianni led off the frame with a solo home run over the left-field fence. Emmanuel Burriss and Jason Martinson followed with back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners with no outs. Then, Kevin Keyes grounded into a double play to plate Burriss to give the Chiefs a 2-0 lead.

Buffalo (33-36) brought home five runs in the top of the third inning against A.J. Cole. The first three Bisons to the plate singled to open up the third inning to load the bases with no outs. With the bases loaded, Matt Hague blooped a single in front of Mastroianni in center field to cut the Chiefs lead in half. The next batter, Scott, blasted a grand slam over the right-field wall to cap off the five-run frame and give the Bisons a 5-2 lead.

The Bisons added another run in the top of the sixth inning against Chiefs reliever Erik Davis. Josh Thole began the inning with a walk. With Diaz at the plate, Davis attempted a pickoff at first base, but the ball hit off the glove of first baseman Mario Lisson for an error and trickled into right field, which allowed Thole to move to second. Then, Diaz grounded out to second to move the runner over to third with one out. Two batters later, Caleb Gindl chopped a ground ball to the second baseman Ricky Hague, who overthrew Lisson at first for a throwing error. Thole came in to score on the error by Hague to make the score 6-2 Buffalo after six and one-half innings.

The Chiefs got one back in the bottom of the sixth inning against Rob Rasmussen. Keyes started the Syracuse half of the sixth with a ground-rule double down the right-field line. Two batters later, Tony Gwynn Jr. tapped a ground ball off of Rasmussen’s glove for an infield single. Then, Hague drove a deep fly ball to left that was caught by Gindl to score Keyes to cut the deficit to three after six.

Buffalo extended the lead back to five in the top of the seventh inning with two runs against Rich Hill. Andy Burns singled to start the inning. Daric Barton followed with a two-run home run over the right-center field wall. Barton’s second home run gave the Bisons an 8-3 lead.

Syracuse answered with two runs of its own in the bottom half of the seventh inning. Dan Butler blasted an opposite-field home run to right-field to lead off the inning for the Chiefs. Two batters later, Burriss lined a double down the right-field line. Jason Martinson followed with a single to left field to put runners on the corners with one out. Keyes drove in his fourth run as a Chief with an infield single to third base to cut the Buffalo lead to 8-5.

The Chiefs scored one more time in the bottom of the eighth inning against Gregory Infante. Caleb Ramsey walked and Butler and Mastroianni singled to load the bases with no outs. Burriss grounded into a fielder’s choice to the first baseman Barton who threw out Mastroianni at second base. Ramsey scored Syracuse’s sixth run to put the Chiefs down two heading into the final inning.

Syracuse takes on Buffalo in game two of a three-game set Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. at NBT Bank Stadium. The Chiefs throw right-hander Scott McGregor against left-hander Felix Doubront.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): The Harrisburg Senators extended their professional baseball lead in walk-off losses Friday, losing to the Altoona Curve, 4-3 in 10 innings at Peoples Natural Gas Field. Altoona won when Adam Frazier was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the 10th inning. Harrisburg (28-38) has now lost eight games by the walk-off variety this season.

Harrisburg scored two runs in the first inning as Trea Turner started things quickly with a double and a steal of third base. Following a walk of Matt Skole, Turner was driven in on a sacrifice fly by Drew Vettleson. Shawn Pleffner and Pedro Severino followed with singles, with the latter featuring an error by Bell that allowed Skole to score.

Richard Bleier turned his road woes around with an outstanding outing, lasting 7.1 innings and allowing two runs. Bleier scattered 11 hits, walked two and struck out four before being relieved by Sam Runion in the eighth inning. Runion stranded two of Bleier’s runners, keeping the game tied at 2-2 after eight innings. Sammy Solis struck out the first batter of the Altoona ninth, but then allowed the bases to become loaded with a pair of singles and a walk with two outs. Harrisburg’s catcher, Severino, turned in a huge defensive play by picking off Altoona’s Josh Bell at first base to send the game to extra innings.

Turner started Harrisburg’s 10th inning rally with a double down the left field line. Vettleson walked with two outs, and Pleffner put Harrisburg on top with an RBI single into center field, scoring Turner. However, in the bottom half of the 10th, Mel Rojas Jr. blooped a double into right field and Jose Osuna singled Rojas in to tie the game at three. Altoona then loaded the bases as Solis walked Sebastian Valle and hit Gift Ngoepe with a pitch. Solis then hit the next batter Adam Frazier with a pitch as well, allowing Osuna to trot home and win the game.

The Senators and Curve will play a doubleheader tomorrow, beginning at 4:30 p.m. with two seven-inning contests.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The Mudcats (34-32-Overall, 16-20-Road) broke a 3-3 tie with the P-Nats (30-37-Overall, 15-17 Home) in the top of the eighth, scoring twice and the Carolina bullpen made the 5-3 lead stand up for the win at PFitzner Stadium on Thursday night.

RHP John Simms got the nod in the series opener with Carolina and turned in his seventh quality start in his last eight outings, logging six innings and giving up three runs (all earned) on six hits, three walks and he tied his season high with four strikeouts, but did not factor into the decision.

Carolina sent LHP Blair Walters to the mound in his eighth start of the season and 15th appearance overall. Walters matched Simms every step of the way allowing three runs (two earned) in six innings on the mound on seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts. Walters did not factor into the decision either.

A scoreless first inning on both sides of the diamond led to the second. 3B Carlos Franco singled to begin the frame. With CF Connor Lien batting Potomac’s C Craig Manuel fired a bullet to first base and 1B John Wooten applied the tag on the pick-off courtesy of the strong right arm of Manuel for the first out of the inning. Lien then put a ball in the air in foul territory up the third base line that Manuel tracked down and made a basket catch with the glove out in front of him for the second out. After a two out double by DH Sal Giardina, C Jose Briceno struck out to end the frame.

Potomac missed a golden opportunity in the bottom of the second when Wooten singled, followed by a 3B Drew Ward single. RF Brandon Miller walked to load the bags and 2B Adrian Sanchez hit a fielder’s choice ball that Franco at third gloved and put Wooten at the plate on. Manuel came up and hit a floating line drive towards 2B Keith Curcio who made the catch in shallow right field. Ward had strayed too far from the third base bag and was doubled up by Curcio to end the threat.

Carolina scored three times in the top of the third to jump out in front. Beginning with a lead-off walk to SS Reed Harper. Two batters later Curcio walked and LF Dustin Peterson hit a fielder’s choice ball that Curcio was put out on at second base with Peterson moving to third. 1B Jacob Schrader came up and laced a two-run double to the left-centerfield gap and it was 2-0 Carolina. Franco followed with a dump-shot single into shallow centerfield for an RBI single scoring Schrader and the lead was 3-0.

Potomac answered in the bottom of the third. DH Khayyan Norfork doubled and moved to third on a passed ball. With one out SS Stephen Perez hit a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 3-1. For Perez it was his 27th RBI, tying Ward for the team lead and his fifth sacrifice fly, giving him the club lead in that category.

Simms turned in a one, two, three top of the fourth, his best inning of his six total innings of work. Potomac rewarded their starter with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Miller connected for a shot over two tiers of signage in left field for his seventh home run of the season and Sanchez doubled for his first hit as a P-Nat in 2015 right behind Miller. Manuel, who finished 2-for-4 with an RBI, knocked in Sanchez with an RBI single to tie the ballgame at 3-3.

RHP Tyler Mapes came in for Simms in the seventh and pitched a scoreless seventh frame dancing out of a bases loaded jam to preserve the 3-3 tie.

For Carolina it was RHP Jorge Zavala (1-0, 0.71) who threw a perfect bottom of the seventh. Zavala earned the win for his 1.2 innings of work allowing no runs on two hits, a walk and he struck one out.

RHP Derek Self (2-1, 4.34) entered for Mapes in the eighth after Mapes pitched one inning of one hit, no run ball adding two free passes and a strikeout.

Self, with one out, had Giardina reach on an infield single and on the play a throwing error charged to Perez at short gave Giardina the second base bag. For Potomac it was their 74th error in 67 ballgames this season. Briceno followed with an RBI single and it was 4-3 Carolina. After a hit batsman and another singled loaded the bases, Curcio hit an RBI fielder’s choice ball that scored Briceno for the insurance run and a 5-3 Mudcats lead.

In the bottom of the eighth still 5-3 in favor of Carolina, got a LF Isaac Ballou base on balls and Wooten singled behind him. The rally ended their as Carolina brought in RHP David Peterson (5 SV) and he struck out Ward to end the threat.

In the top of the ninth with one out and one on and Self still in the game a rolling brown out hit the Woodbridge, VA area causing the entire Stadium and the County Complex to lose power for roughly 20 seconds. Slowly but surely the lights came back on and the game suffered just a 21 minute delay. Lien was the hitter when play resumed and he fouled out followed by a Giardina strikeout to end the top of the ninth.

Potomac mustered a two-out Manuel single in the bottom of the ninth against Peterson who struck out all four men he retired to ink his fifth save in as many opportunities and seal the 5-3 Carolina victory in Game One.

Peterson pitched 1.1 innings and gave up just the one hit to Manuel and had the four strikeouts in his outing.

There are now just three games remaining in the first-half of the 2015 season before the All-Star break.
26-11 when scoring first and Potomac falls to 10-25 when the opposition tallies a run first.

Carolina improves 26-11 when scoring first and Potomac falls to 10-25 when the opposition tallies a run first.

Game Two of the four-Game Set features RHP Phillips Valdez (0-2, 7.94) for Potomac against LHP Yean Carlos Gil (1-8, 6.47) for Carolina.  First pitch is at 7:05 pm from Pfitzner Stadium.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns (34-33) took a three-run lead in the bottom of the first inning on Friday night and never looked back, notching a 5-2 win over the Delmarva Shorebirds (33-34) in front of 1,603 at Municipal Stadium. The Suns have now won four of their last five games to take over sole possession of third place in the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division.

It didn’t take long for the Suns to strike in the first. Right fielder Alec Keller led off with a ground ball single to right. Second baseman Osvaldo Abreu then came to the plate, and he hammered a pitch into the visitor’s bullpen beyond the center field wall for his fourth homerun of the season and his second in as many nights, making it 2-0 Suns. Later in the inning, 1B Grant DeBruin laced a two-out line drive double to left to extend his current hitting streak to 12 games. DeBruin scored from second when the next batter, CF Dale Carey, knocked a line drive single to center field, making it 3-0.

The lead increased to 4-0 in the fourth. With two outs and no one on Keller drew a walk to keep the inning alive. Then, Abreu sent a fly ball over the head of CF Jay Gonzalez and off the center field wall, driving in Keller from first to put the Suns up four. Abreu wound up with a double, making it his fourth extra-base hit over the last two games.

Hagerstown’s lead was sliced in half in the sixth. Second baseman Steve Wilkerson began the frame with a line drive double to left. Left fielder Conor Bierfeldt followed with a double of his own, driving in Wilkerson to make it 4-1. Bierfeldt moved from second to third on a wild pitch, and then scored from third when 3B Cameron Kneeland grounded out to short, making it a 4-2 game.

That’s as close as Delmarva would get, however, as catcher Raudy Read stretched the Suns lead back to three in the seventh with an RBI double to left. It was Read’s first hit of the night and fifth double of the season. Hagerstown finished the night with 10 hits, five of them for extra-bases.

Starting LHP John Means (5-4) allowed seven of those 10 Hagerstown hits over five innings as he suffered the loss. He was charged for four earned runs, as he walked two and struck out three. Starting RHP Drew Van Orden (4-1) earned the win for Hagerstown. He threw six innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits and one walk while striking out two. LHP David Napoli pitched the other three innings for Hagerstown to earn his third save of the season.

These teams will continue their three-game series at Municipal Stadium on Saturday June 20. The Suns will send LHP Matt Purke (1-2) to the mound for his fifth start and appearance this season. He will square off against RHP Lucas Long (2-1) for Delmarva. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm.

Harrisburg Senators Game 65 Review: Big Inning Key In Sens Win

SENS SIX-RUN FIFTH FUELS BIG WIN

Harrisburg (Nats AA Affiliate) sent 11 men to bat in the fifth inning and were able to push across six runs en route to a 7-6 victory over the Richmond Flying Squirrels (SF Giants AA Affiliate) Thursday night in front of 5,590 fans at Metro Bank Park.  The victory helped the Sens avoid the sweep.

After the top of the first two innings, the Flying Squirrels were able to score four runs off Harrisburg starter Matthew Spann.  Spann went three innings allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits.  He walked two and struck out three before exiting the game.  The Senators were able to get a run back in the bottom of the second in a two out rally.  With two out and none on, Pedro Severino reached first base on a throwing error by Richmond second baseman Myles Schroder.  Christopher Bostick drove Severino in with an RBI double to left field, making it a 4-1 game.  It was Bostick’s first RBI as a Senator.

Bryan Harper entered the game for the Senators in the fourth and fifth inning to begin a streak of five straight scoreless innings by the Sens bullpen.  Harper allowed just one hit in two innings with one strikeout and ended up with the win (1-1).  Paul Demny followed with two perfect innings and Gilberto Mendez pitched a perfect eight inning.

“We had a good feeling about our bullpen, even when we couldn’t put teams away the last few games.  Richmond scored four runs but it could’ve been worse but our pitching and defense came through when needed to keep this game in striking range.  Harper and Demny continued to do what they’ve been doing.  They’ve done a great job, Mendez has done a great job and we’re now in a situation where we can give these arms one inning at a time to keep them fresh.  It was a big win for us,” Harrisburg manager Brian Daubach said following the win.

The bottom of the fifth proved to be the difference for the Senators.  With one out, Cutter Dykstra got to first on a walk.  Jose Lozada, pinch hitting for Harper, singled to move Dykstra to third.  With Wilmer Difo batting, Lozada stole second, and Difo responded with an RBI single to score Dykstra.  Trea Turner followed with a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Lozada and Difo used his speed to advance to second base and beat the throw to second.  Brian Goodwin walked and Richmond changed pitchers.  Matt Skole came up and singled to centerfield to score Difo to tie the game at 4.  A Drew Vettleson single and a throwing error by right fielder Mac Williamson sent Goodwin and Skole across the plate to give Harrisburg their first lead of the game, 6-4.  The error also sent Vettleson to second base.  After Severino walked, Bostick reached first base on a throwing error by Schroder, his second error of the game.  Vettleson scored and it was a 7-4 game.

“We put some good at-bats together and fed off each other.  Once one guy got a hit, it kind of opened up the gates for everyone else.  We put together five or six good at-bats in a row and really put the pressure on them and we got some big hits tonight,” said Matt Skole.

Things got shaky in the top of the ninth inning as Harrisburg was trying to close out the game.  An error started off the inning and an RBI triple followed two batters later off Senators reliever Sam Runion.  Runion kept it a 7-5 game by striking out the next batter, but a dropped popup allowed Richmond to bring the game to within one run.  However, Runion induced a flyout to end the game.

HERO: Wilmer Difo, Matt Skole, and Drew Vettleson each contributing RBI singles in the big fifth inning for Harrisburg.

GOAT: Richmond starting pitcher Tyler Beede, second baseman Myles Schroder and right field Mac Williamson.  Entering the fifth inning with a 4-1 lead and only giving up one run and one hit, Beede struggled to retire the Senators as he gave up 4 runs (4 earned), two hits and two walks in the inning.  Two errors by Schroder resulted in two runs and Williamson’s error throw to third base in the fifth inning gave the Senators the lead for good and changed the momentum of the game.

SENS NOTES:

– Wilmer Difo was the only Senator with multiple hits in the game (2).

– The promotion at the game was the Cowboy Monkey rodeo.  Didn’t even know that was such a thing but it was funny and interesting.

NEXT UP: The Senators begin a nine-game, eight-day road trip, beginning in Altoona tonight at 7:00 p.m.  Richard Blier (4-2, 3.46 ERA) vs. Matt Benedict (2-2, 5.46 ERA).

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for June 17

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs won their fourth straight game en route to sweeping the Toledo Mud Hens, 13-5, on Wednesday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium. Darin Mastroianni and Emmanuel Burriss each homered and had three hits. Burriss led the team with four runs batted in after a three-run home run in the seventh inning.

Syracuse (23-44) broke open the scoring in its first inning at the plate. Mastroianni and Burriss led off the bottom of the first inning with back-to-back singles. The number three hitter, Jason Martinson, caught Toledo’s infield off guard and laid down a bunt single to load the bases with none out. Chiefs newcomer and first baseman Kevin Keyes singled, driving in Mastroianni and Burriss, and giving the Chiefs a 2-0 lead. Third baseman Ricky Hague continued the hit parade for Syracuse, singling and scoring Martinson to improve the Chiefs’ lead to 3-0. In the very next at-bat, designated hitter Mark Minicozzi hit Syracuse’s sixth straight single and fourth straight run. Caleb Ramsey, the right fielder, collected the Chiefs’ seventh single in a row and drove in Hague to improve the Syracuse lead to 5-0. Syracuse scored all five runs in the inning on seven consecutive singles, all with none out.

The Chiefs continued to score in the bottom of the second inning off of Toledo starter Buck Farmer. After batting through the order in the bottom of the first, Mastroianni led off the second inning, but did more damage than a single. Mastroianni connected for just his second home run of the season, and extended the Chiefs’ lead to 6-0.

After not scoring since the Mastroianni solo home run in the bottom of the second, the Chiefs responded in the bottom of the sixth. Ramsey started the rally with a one-out triple to left-center field. He scored on the very next batter when Dan Butler doubled. Following a Josh Johnson strikeout, Mastroianni singled and drove in his second run of the day. During Burriss’ following at-bat, Mastroianni stole second and then came around to score on Burriss’ single. The Chiefs were still not done in the bottom of the sixth as Martinson singled and drove in Burriss, extending the Chiefs lead to 10-4.

The Chiefs added three more runs off the bat of Burriss in the bottom of the seventh. Ramsey led off the inning with an infield single and advanced to third when Johnson reached first on a fielder’s choice. Two batters later, Burriss connected on a 1-1 pitch and hit a line drive over the right-field wall to increase the lead to 13-4.

The Mud Hens got one run back in the top of the ninth from a Marte solo home run, but it was not enough, as the Chiefs won 13-5.

Syracuse will start a three-game series on Friday against Buffalo at 7:05 p.m. after taking a day off on Thursday. Friday’s game will be the first of 21 games between the Thruway rivals and will see right-hander A.J. Cole take the mound for the Chiefs against left-hander Matt Boyd for the Bisons.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Stephen Strasburg allowed one earned run in five innings of work, but the Harrisburg Senators could not take advantage in a 4-3 loss to the Richmond Flying Squirrels Wednesday afternoon before 5,537 fans at Metro Bank Park. The loss drops the Senators back to 10 games under .500 at 27-37.

Strasburg allowed two runs overall, but just one was earned, while he walked none and struck out six in his rehab start with Harrisburg. Strasburg threw 71 pitches, 46 of which were strikes, in his five innings. Richmond’s Kelby Tomlinson hit an RBI double off Strasburg in the third inning and Mitch Delfino singled in a run in the fourth. Colin Bates relieved Strasburg and threw two innings, allowing two earned runs on two hits. Brian Dupra escaped a bases loaded, one-out jam in the eighth inning thanks to a fantastic play by Matt Skole. Harrisburg’s third baseman made a diving stop, stepped on third base and then threw across the diamond for the third out of the inning. The Senators’ Sammy Solis pitched a scoreless ninth inning while working around a pair of singles.

Cutter Dykstra put the Senators on the board with a solo home run in the fourth inning – his first with the Senators in 2015. Harrisburg then cut Richmond’s lead to one in the seventh inning when Trea Turner dumped a single into center field to score Brian Jeroloman and Derrick Robinson. Turner also doubled in the ninth inning following a Jose Lozada single to put runners on second and third with two outs, but Skole grounded out to end the game.

Tuner was 3-for-5 in his second game as a Senator with his first two RBI. Jeroloman also was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Robinson reached twice with a pair of walks in the game and Dykstra added a single in the eighth inning to go along with his dinger.

The finale of the three-game series will start Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. with the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo making its first appearance of the season.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): Potomac (30-36-Overall, 15-20-Road) let a 1-0 lead slip away in the bottom of the seventh inning leading to a 2-1 win for the Lynchburg Hillcats (32-34-Overall, 15-17-Home), who salvaged the finale of the three-game set at Calvin Falwell Field on Wednesday night.

RHP Lucas Giolito made his eighth start of the season and hurled four scoreless innings relinquishing five hits and no runs while walking four and striking out six and did not factor in the decision.

Potomac, in a scoreless ballgame through one inning took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second against Michael Peoples when C Spencer Kieboom led-off the frame with a double to the left-centerfield gap. Kieboom came to the plate when 3B Drew Ward traded places with Kieboom at second base after his RBI double to left field made it 1-0 Potomac.

The game remained 1-0 in favor of Potomac until the bottom of the seventh when Lynchburg claimed the lead for good. RHP Jake Johnasen replaced Giolito in the fifth inning and pitched two scoreless, hitless innings despite walking four ‘Cats and striking out two in his innings of work.

LHP Justin Thomas (0-4, 3.33) entered out of the bullpen in seventh and pitched two innings himself. He ran into trouble in the seventh when 1B Nellie Rodriguez singled to open the set. C Eric Hasse followed with a single of his own and Thomas, on a pick-off attempt threw the baseball down the right field line allowing both Rodriguez and Hasse to move up 90 feet. 3B Paul Hendrix then reached on an infield single that loaded the bases and the equalizer crossed the plate on a passed ball charged to Kieboom to tie the game at 1-1. LF Mike Papi then gave Lynchburg the lead with a single that brought home Hasse for a 2-1 Hillcats advantage. SS Ivan Castillo walked to reload the bases but the rally ended there and Lynchburg was forced to settle for a one-run lead heading to the eighth.

Thomas finished the ballgame pitching a scoreless bottom of the eighth but ultimately took the loss in two innings of work he gave up two runs on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts.

Despite Wilmington losing tonight as well, the loss was enough and Potomac became the second team behind the Winston-Salem Dash to officially be eliminated in the first-half Northern Division Title race.

Potomac heads home and opens up a four-game series to wrap up the first-half at home against the Carolina Mudcats at Pfitzner Stadium. Game One features RHP John Simms (3-5, 3.7.70) for Potomac against LHP Blair Walters (2-2, 2.89) for the Mudcats.  First pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm from Woodbridge, VA.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns erupted for three runs in the top of the 11th inning to win their third straight South Atlantic League game, 4-1, Wednesday night at Kannapolis.

After failing to get a hit in the previous four innings, Hagerstown (32-32) got four in the 11th against losing pitcher David Trexler (0-2).  After Alec Keller singled, moved to second on Raudy Read‘s sacrifice bunt and scored the go-ahead run on a single by Jose Marmolejos, two more insurance runs came across as Grant DeBruin and Jeff Gardner hit back-to-back doubles.

In the bottom of the 11th, Jake Walsh earned his second save, setting the Intimidators down 1-2-3.  It was a night of stellar pitching for the Suns as starter Austen Williams didn’t allow an earned run in his six innings, lowering his ERA to 1.77.  Justin Amlung and Robert Orlan (2-0) then contributed two scoreless innings apiece. Orlan was particularly nasty in gaining the victory as he didn’t allow a baserunner, fanning five.

Hagerstown got its first run in the sixth inning, Read singling home Brennan Middleton who had reached on a single and advanced on a walk to D.K. Carey.

The Suns will try for a sweep of the three-game set Thursday night but will have to deal with one of the SAL’s top pitchers, Thad Lowry (7-2, 3.66). Hagerstown answers with SAL All-Star Drew Van Orden (3-1, 1.60).  First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.

 

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for June 16

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs defeated the Toledo Mud Hens, 3-2, in ten innings on Tuesday night at NBT Bank Stadium. Syracuse used a strong outing from Paolo Espino, a game-tying double by Ricky Hague and a walkoff sacrifice fly by Jason Martinson to defeat the Mud Hens in extra innings.

The game was a pitcher’s duel through the first five innings in which there were a combined six base runners, three for each team. Espino, the Syracuse starter, tossed seven strong innings against Toledo. The right-hander gave up two runs on five hits in his fifth start for the Chiefs. Espino has now thrown seven innings in every start he has made for Syracuse this season. Toledo starter Shane Greene pitched seven and one-third scoreless innings in a no-decision.

Toledo (28-38) finally opened the scoring in the top of the sixth inning against Espino. Second baseman Brendan Harris led off the inning with a single to left field. Miguel Gonzalez dropped down a bunt back to Espino. The pitcher fielded and threw to first but Gonzalez collided with the second baseman Ricky Hague at first and knocked the ball out of his glove. The ball trickled into right field, which allowed Harris to move to third. With none out and runners on the corners, Victor Martinez doubled on a line drive off the right-field wall to plate Harris. Dixon Machado added another Mud Hens’ run with a sacrifice fly to center field to give Toledo a 2-0 lead.

Syracuse (22-44) squared the score in the bottom of the ninth inning against Alberto Cabrera. Kevin Keyes and Mario Lisson both singled to open up the inning to put two on with no outs. Then, Tony Gwynn Jr. tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but the Gonzalez throw forced out Keyes at third base. With Hague at the plate, Cabrera threw a wild pitch, which allowed pinch runner Josh Johnson and Gwynn Jr. to move up to second and third respectively. Later in the at-bat, Hague lined a double to left field to tie the game at two and send the game to extra innings.

The Chiefs took the game in the tenth against Angel Nesbitt. Darin Mastroianni led off the inning with a walk. Then, Emmanuel Burriss bunted back to the pitcher. Nesbitt one-hopped the first baseman Mike Hessman for a throwing error to allow the runners to move up to second and third with no outs. Two batters later, Martinson skied a sacrifice fly to left field to give Syracuse the 3-2 victory.

Syracuse seeks a sweep and its fourth win in a row on Wednesday afternoon against Toledo. It will be a matchup of right-handers as P.J. Walters takes the mound for Syracuse against Toledo’s Buck Farmer. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Despite outstanding pitching by Austin Voth, the Harrisburg Senators fell 1-0 to the Richmond Flying Squirrels in the opener of a three-game series Tuesday at Metro Bank Park. The loss snapped a win streak of five for Harrisburg (27-36).

Voth turned in seven shutout innings, in which he allowed just three hits, walked one and struck out three. Voth allowed a runner to reach third base just once in Tuesday’s outing. James Simmons followed with a scoreless eighth, but in the ninth Richmond was able to score an unearned run off Paul Demny to take the lead. Eliezer Zambrano’s bounced into a fielder’s choice that scored Angel Villalona as the Senators were unable to turn a 3-6-1 double play in time.

Harrisburg managed just two hits off Flying Squirrels’ starter Joe Biagini – a blooper by Pedro Severino and an infield single by Derrick Robinson. Drew Vettleson walked after Robinson’s single in the first inning, but Harrisburg left runners on first and third as Shawn Pleffner flied out deep to left-center field. Biagini retired the final 21 he faced, and Richmond closer Josh Osich pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Game two of the three-game series will begin Wednesday at noon. Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg is expected to make a rehab start for the Senators against Richmond’s Adalberto Mejia.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The Potomac Nationals (30-35 Overall, 15-19 Road) edged the Lynchburg Hillcats (31-34 Overall, 14-17 Home) 4-3 on Tuesday night at Lynchburg City Stadium in Game Two of the final road series of the first half to take a series triumph.

P-Nats 2B Adrian Sanchez made a stupendous defensive play to clinch the Nationals’ 30th victory of the season on a ball smoked on the ground towards the second base bag by Lynchburg DH Luigi Rodriguez in the bottom of the 9th inning with the game-tying run headed towards home plate. Sanchez ranged far to his backhand side to the middle of the infield diamond, collected the baseball, and slung an off-balanced throw to first base in time to cut down Rodriguez and seal the Red, White, and Blue “W.”

On Calvin Falwell Field, Nationals starter, RHP Nick Pivetta (6-4) pitched through 7.0 innings for the third time this season and the 2015 Carolina League Mid-Season All-Star allowed just two runs (one earned run) on six hits and one walk while tying his season-high in strikeouts (seven) en route to the Potomac staff ace’s sixth win.

Lynchburg RHP Dace Kime surrendered two earned runs on four base knocks in 5.1 frames while walking three, plunking one batter, and fanning five in the no-decision.

Kime hit the first batter of the game, Potomac CF Narciso Mesa, on the opening pitch of the contest. Mesa stole second base and came around on an RBI single grounded into center field by Nationals LF Isaac Ballou.

The Hillcats answered with two runs to take a 2-1 lead in the last of the 1st inning as 1B Nellie Rodriguez lifted an RBI sacrifice fly and C Eric Haase cranked an RBI double to the left field wall.

The Nationals tied the affair at 2-2 in the 3rd on an RBI single lined by SS Stephen Perez into center field that chased home the triple of 3B Khayyan Norfork.

Neither club scored in Act Two (innings four through six) before Potomac pushed across a pair of runs in the 7th stanza on a two-run single lashed into right-center field by Perez to take a 4-2 advantage off the eventual losing pitcher, RHP Justin Brantley (1-2), who suffered his second loss of the current campaign.

Potomac RHP Derek Self sidestepped a walk issued to Nellie Rodriguez to hang a zero in the 8th and Self was the bridge set-up man to get to Nationals closer, LHP Nick Lee (7 SV), who gutted out his seventh save in eight save opportunities.

Lee started off the bottom of the 9th by issuing back-to-back walks to Haase and LF Mike Papi before Hillcats 2B Joe Sever ripped a single through the deep hole at shortstop to loaded the bases with no outs. Lee then induced Lynchburg SS Ivan Castillo into a 4-6-3 double play which scored Haase to yield a skinny 4-3 Potomac lead. Papi, the contest-tying run was then 90 feet away with one of the most dangerous hitters in the CL, Luigi Rodriguez coming to the plate.

Rodriguez then stroked the ball up the middle on the ground and Sanchez, a four-time Potomac National, flashed his defensive wizardry to rush the ball to 1B Jimmy Yezzo just ahead of the incoming Rodriguez to tie the ribbon on the P-Nats’ victory.

Potomac is now (12-10) in one-run games in 2015 and the team is still alive in the 2015 First-Half Northern Division Championship race trailing the first place, Wilmington Blue Rocks (Kansas City Royals) by 5.0 games with five clashes left in the first half. The Nationals’ elimination number will remain at one the rest of the way before the 2015 Carolina League All-Star Break.

The P-Nats look for their second series sweep of 2015 with a win over the Lynchburg Hillcats (Cleveland Indians) tonight in series Game Three set for 6:30pm at Lynchburg City Stadium.

Recently announced number one overall prospect in all of Minor League Baseball per MLBPipeline.com, Nationals RHP Lucas Giolito (2-4, 4.08) will hurl against Hillcats RHP Michael Peoples (4-3, 6.27) in the series finale and last road game of the first half.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns have struggled to produce runs for much of June.  But on Tuesday, they put a dent in the scoreboard early.

Raudy Read hit an RBI single in a three-run first inning, and Jose Marmolejos’ two-run single in the second gave the Suns a 5-0 lead on the way to an 8-4 South Atlantic League victory at the Kannapolis Intimidators.

Hagerstown (32-32) produced five hits in the first two innings off Yelmison Peralta (2-6) and benefited from a first-inning error by Kannapolis (32-33).  Jeff Gardner doubled and scored on David Masters’ double in the sixth for a 6-1 lead.

The Intimidators rallied for three runs off reliever Andrew Cooper in the seventh, cutting the lead to 6-4.  The Suns answered with two runs in the eighth.  Masters led off with his second double of the game and scored on Cody Dent’s single, capping his three-hit night. Raudy Read added a two-out RBI double for an 8-4 advantage.

Luis Reyes (3-4) had one of his best starts of the season for the Suns, allowing one run on six hits and three walks over six innings.  Drew Van Orden worked a scoreless final two innings.  Hagerstown continues their series at Kannapolis tonight at 7:05 p.m.

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for June 15

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs won the first game of a 10-game homestand, 8-1, against the Toledo Mud Hens at NBT Bank Stadium. Taylor Jordan hurled seven strong innings for Syracuse, while new Chiefs Kevin Keyes and Rick Hague combined to drive in four runs on Monday night.

Syracuse (21-44) jumped out early and often against Toledo. The Chiefs scored five runs in the bottom of the first against Mud Hens starter Tim Melville. Tony Gwynn Jr. walked with one out but was forced out at second on a Jason Martinson fielder’s choice to the shortstop Dixon Machado. With Martinson on first, Keyes – making his Triple-A debut – chased him around with a double to right-center to give Syracuse its first run. Mario Lisson followed with an RBI single to left field to make it 2-0. The next batter, Caleb Ramsey drew a walk to put runners on first and second with two men out. In his first Triple-A at-bat, Hague launched a three-run home run just inside the foul pole down the right-field line. Hague’s first home run since June 27, 2014 with Double-A Harrisburg gave the Chiefs a 5-0 advantage after the first inning.

The Chiefs also scored in the bottom of the third inning. With one out, Keyes doubled to the left-center field gap. The next batter, Lisson, lined a single up the middle to plate the sixth Syracuse run.

Syracuse scored one run in both the sixth and seventh innings to increase its lead over Toledo. With two outs in the sixth, Hague recorded his second hit of the game to give the Chiefs a base runner. Dan Butler lined a double into left field that deflected off the glove of Daniel Fields, which allowed Hague to score all the way from first to give Syracuse a 7-1 lead.

Lisson tallied his third RBI of the game to give Syracuse an 8-1 lead in the seventh against Guido Knudson. Jason Martinson singled with one out in the frame. Then, Keyes reached base on an error by the second baseman Jones to put runners on the corners with one out. Lisson followed with a sacrifice fly to right field to give the Chiefs an 8-1 heading into the eighth.

Syracuse takes on Toledo in game two of a three-game set on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. at NBT Bank Stadium. The Chiefs throw right-hander Paolo Espino against right-hander Shane Greene.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): OFF.  The Senators host Richmond tonight at 7 p.m.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The Potomac Nationals (29-35 Overall, 14-19 Road) clipped the Lynchburg Hillcats (31-33 Overall, 14-16 Home) 6-4 in the series opener of a three-game road set on Calvin Falwell Field at Lynchburg City Stadium Monday evening to remain mathematically in the Carolina League’s First-Half Northern Division title race.

The Nationals’ elimination number is one with six contests to play before the 2015 Carolina League All-Star Break.

Potomac starter, RHP Reynaldo Lopez (4-3) won his fourth decision this season after going 5.1 innings and surrendering just two runs (both earned runs) on six hits and two walks. Lopez fanned eight Hillcats while overcoming one hit batter and service of a home run ball.

Nationals closer, RHP Manny Rodriguez (SV 2) closed out the two-run win to catalyze a (5-7) club record in two-run contests in ’15.

Hillcats starting arm, RHP Mitch Brown (2-7), who took his seventh losing decision, allowed five runs (four earned runs) on six base knocks including one home run and five free passes. Brown struck out four men and his two wild pitches both led directly to runs.

Lynchburg RF Clint Frazier got the scoring started with a lead-off solo home run off Lopez cranked over the 390-foot marker in dead center field over the green batter’s eye. The P-Nats answered with two runs in the 3rd inning on a wild pitch from Brown (the lead-off walk of 2B Adrian Sanchez scored) and an RBI single grounded into right field by SS Stephen Perez.

Potomac pulled ahead 3-1 in the 4th courtesy of a another wild offering from Brown that summoned home Nationals 1B John Wooten, who had reached on a fielder’s choice groundball and advanced into scoring position on an errant throw into the reserved seating bowl by Hillcats 2B Joe Sever on a double-play attempt.

Nationals DH Brandon Miller later gashed his sixth longball of the season, a two-run shot on a pitch from Brown, over two tiers of signage in left field in the 7th to up the Nationals’ advantage to 5-2.

The home club scored an individual run in the last of the 7th via a wild one from Potomac RHP Wander Suero to yield a 5-3 score. Lynchburg SS Ivan Castillo rapped an infield single to get aboard leading off the frame and scored on Suero’s misfire.

Suero had already stranded the bags jacked in the 6th despite Lopez allowing a single to CF Bradley Zimmer, a double to Rodriguez to the left field wall, and a single off the stick of Sever served into right field. Zimmer was thrown out attempting to steal by C Spencer Kieboom, who caught two potential basestealers in the contest. Suero walked Lynchburg LF Mike Papi to put three ‘Cats aboard before DH James Roberts popped out on one pitch and C Juan De La Cruz flew out to center field to end the threat.

The righty reliever, Suero gunned through 2.1 innings in relief of Lopez and gave up two earned runs on one base hit, two walks, and two hit batters. Suero fanned one in the outing.

In the bottom of the 8th, after the Nationals had already scored in their half of the stanza on an RBI sacrifice safety squeeze bunt deadened by Potomac 3B Drew Ward, the Hillcats loaded the bases against Suero and forced his exit. Sever was plunked on the lead arm, Papi walked, and pinch-hitter C Eric Haase was hit in the back to pack the bags. Against Rodriguez, Castillo worked an RBI base-on-balls to cut the Nationals’ lead to 6-4 but the next swinger, Frazier, struck out hacking to leave the bases loaded for the second time in the affair.

The Hillcats left a whopping 10 men on base during the game.

After failing to provide further insurance in the top of the 9th, Potomac sent Rodriguez out to finish the job. “Man-Rod” induced a 6-3 groundout off the bat of Hillcats 3B Paul Hendrix, Zimmer laced a single on the infield towards Perez at shortstop, Rodriguez struck out looking, and the fateful last out for Sever came on a grounder to Perez who tossed cap-high to Wooten at first base which inked Rodriguez’s second save in as many save opportunities this year.

The P-Nats clash with the Lynchburg Hillcats (Cleveland Indians) tonight in series Game Two scheduled for 6:30pm at Lynchburg City Stadium.

Nationals RHP Nick Pivetta (5-4, 2.58) deals against Hillcats RHP Dace Kime (2-2, 4.55) in the divisional standoff.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): On a long day when the Hagerstown Suns struggled to push runners home, ninth-place hitter Cody Dent finally showed them the way.  The left fielder had a bases-loaded, two-run single in the fourth inning, the key hit in a 4-3 South Atlantic League win as Hagerstown earned a doubleheader split against the Lakewood BlueClaws Monday at Municipal Stadium.

In the first game, Ricardo Pinto (6-2) scattered seven hits and two walks in six innings, pitching Lakewood to a 5-1 win.  It was the third straight victory for the BlueClaws (32-29) over the Suns before Hagerstown (31-32) salvaged the final game of the series.

Hagerstown went 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position on Monday, making Dent’s hit a relief.  It came with the score tied 1-1 and after singles by Jeff Gardner and David Masters and a walk to Brennan Middleton by losing pitcher Josh Taylor (3-5).

Mario Sanchez (3-2) picked up the win in the second game, giving up five hits in five innings and not walking a batter.  Justin Amlung went the final two innings, allowing an RBI double by Rhys Hoskins in the sixth inning, but then retiring the last five BlueClaws he faced.

Grant DeBruin — who went 4-for-6 on the day — figured in the rest of the scoring for the Suns in the nightcap, driving in D.K. Carey with a single in the first inning, then singling in the fifth inning and coming home after a wild pitch, a passed ball and an infield error.

In the opening game, Hagerstown starter Matt Purke allowed just one run in five innings, leaving with the score tied 1-1. But Lakewood had much more success against reliever David Napoli.

In the sixth inning, Herlis Rodriguez delivered a two-out, two-run tiebreaking triple.  In the seventh, Gustavo Martinez added an RBI triple and then scored on a single by Hoskins.

Hagerstown travels to Kannapolis (32-32) for the first of a three-game set on Tuesday.  It will be a short road trip as the Suns will be back at Municipal Stadium on Friday, opening a three-game series with Delmarva before the SAL All-Star Game next Tuesday.

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for June 14

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs beat the Columbus Clippers, 7-4, Sunday afternoon in a seven-inning game, after Columbus won the completion of yesterday’s suspended game 3-0. Jason Martinson homered twice in the second game, upping his team-leading total to nine.

Columbus (34-30) took a 3-0 lead Saturday night on a three-run home run by Lonnie Chisenhall. The game was suspended Saturday night in the bottom of the third inning due to rain and lightning. After the game resumed Sunday , it held at 3-0 all the way to the end. The Chiefs did rally in the seventh, loading the bases with no one out, but did not score. Bruce Billings threw four and two-thirds innings of scoreless ball in the loss.

Syracuse (20-44) stuck first in the regularly-scheduled contest. Jason Martinson hit his eighth home run of the year in the second inning off Jhoulys Chacin to give the Chiefs a 1-0 lead.

The Clippers answered right back in the bottom of the frame. Tyler Holt singled off Scott McGreogr, followed by a bunt single by Michael Martinez. Adam Moore then drove in Holt with a double to tie the game at one. Carlos Moncrief followed with a sacrifice fly to give Columbus a 2-1 lead.

The Chiefs took the lead for good in the fourth. Dan Butler started the inning by reaching on an error on Jose Ramirez at shortstop. Chacin walked Jose Lozada to put two on. Darin Mastroianni doubled in the first two runs, giving Syracuse the lead back at 3-2. Mastroianni reached third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch to extend the lead to two. Syracuse continued to rally as Emmanuel Burriss walked, and Mark Minicozzi singled to put runners on first and second. The runners each moved up on a error on Chacin on a pickoff attempt to second. Caleb Ramsey singled in Burriss to cap the inning with a 5-2 Syracuse lead.

Syracuse added a sixth run in the fourth. Syracuse loaded the bases on a Lozada walk, Mastroianni single, and Burriss walk. Mark Minicozzi then hit a ground ball to short. Ramirez flipped to second for an out, but the double-play chance at first was late to bring in the sixth run.

Martinson helped Syracuse grabbed some insurance in the seventh. The shortstop drilled his second home run of the day, hitting a long fly ball into the left-field seats, to push the Chiefs’ lead to 7-4.

Syracuse returns home Monday to open a three-game set against Toledo. Taylor Jordan is scheduled to start for the Chiefs opposite Tim Melville for the Mud Hens. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m

 

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Backed by more outstanding pitching, the Harrisburg Senators completed a three-game sweep of the Trenton Thunder, winning 4-2 Sunday afternoon before 4,080 fans at Metro Bank Park. The win also extended Harrisburg’s (27-35) season-high winning streak to five.

Following a first inning in which he allowed two runs, Dakota Bacus retired 14 of the last 15 batters he faced to earn his second win of the season. Bacus allowed just three hits in five innings and struck out a pair. Bryan Harper then retired the next five batters, pitching into the seventh inning. Abel De Los Santos recorded the final out of the seventh and then pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Harper and De Los Santos each earned their third hold of the season. Sam Runion worked around a leadoff double in the ninth to earn his second save of the season and extend Harrisburg’s winning streak.

Harrisburg tied the game in the third inning when Drew Vettleson drove in a run with a sacrifice fly followed by an RBI single from Shawn Pleffner. The Senators took the lead an inning later when Wilmer Difo started a two-out rally with a double. Derrick Robinson then walked and Matt Skole dumped in an RBI single to push Harrisburg in front, 3-2. The Senators added insurance in the eighth when Pedro Severino doubled and Adrian Sanchez followed with a single to score a run. Six different Senators recorded hits, including two for both Difo and Severino.

Harrisburg is off Monday but continues its homestand Tuesday by welcoming in Richmond for a 7:00 p.m. start.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The Frederick Keys (31-32 Overall, 13-22 Road) bested the Potomac Nationals (28-35 Overall, 15-16 Home) by the final score of 9-7 in Sunday’s slugfest at Pfitzner Stadium to capture a series victory in the set finale rubber match.

The Black and Orange pounded out 14 hits while the Red, White, and Blue stashed nine base knocks.

Potomac starter, RHP Phillips Valdez (0-2) suffered his second losing decision with the Nationals this season after surrendering a campaign-high nine runs (seven earned runs) on seven hits. Valdez walked a season-high four batters, hit one man, and unleashed a pair of wild pitches.

Of Valdez’s 76 pitches, only 36 offerings went for strikes.

Trailing 6-0, the Nationals struck for a four-run spot in the home half of the 2nd against the eventual winning pitcher Frederick LHP Chris Lee (2-2) to cut the Keys’ lead to 6-4. The Nationals sent 10 batters to the dish and earned the quartet of runs via an RBI single whipped into right-center by  3B Drew Ward scoring the double of DH Brandon Miller, a single off the stick of RF Estarlin Martinez that plated Ward, a sacrifice fly from CF Narciso Mesa, and a bases loaded RBI walk worked by LF Isaac Ballou.

The Keys responded with three runs charged to Valdez on a wild pitch hurled by Potomac RHP Tyler Mapes and a two-run bloop single to center field by Frederick 2B Jeff Kemp that propelled the visiting club to a 9-4 lead.

Lee turned in the requisite 5.0 innings to qualify for his second victory in the Carolina League while allowing four earned runs on five hits. Lee struck out five P-Nats but issued four free passes to first base due to balls out the strike zone and dealt one wild pitch.

Mapes gunned through 4.1 relief innings and gave up just five hits and two walks. The crafty righty was not charged with any runs allowed.

The P-Nats started to chip away at the Keys’ lead with two runs in the 7th thanks to a throwing error by Dosch at third base and a Miller RBI groundout to Kemp at second base.

Nationals RHP Cody Davis pitched the 8th and 9th without issue giving up just two hits and one walk.

In the bottom of the 9th, Yacabonis allowed a leadoff single ripped by Mesa and was removed from the mound in favor of Keys LHP Cody Wheeler (9 SV).

Wheeler induced a strikeout looking of Nationals SS Stephen Perez and a 4-3 groundout from Ballou. Then, Wheeler hit two P-Nats back-to-back (Miller and Ward). Potomac 2B Khayyan Norfork came up a served an RBI single into shallow center field to make it a 9-7 game. In the end, P-Nats C Craig Manuel sprayed a low line drive towards Kemp who fielded the ball cleanly and tossed it to defensive replacement 1B Logan Uxa for the final out.

The P-Nats travel to Lynchburg, VA tonight to prepare for a three-game road set against the Lynchburg Hillcats (Cleveland Indians) with the series opener slated for 6:30pm on Calvin Falwell Field at Lynchburg City Stadium.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns (30-31) game against the Lakewood BlueClaws (31-28) scheduled for yesterday (June 14) was postponed due to wet grounds. The game will be made up as part of a double-header at Municipal Stadium on Monday June 15. The first game of the double-header will begin at 4:05pm. In the South Atlantic League double-headers consist of two seven-inning games. Gates will open at 3:00pm.

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for June 12

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs fell to the Columbus Clippers, 4-2, Friday night at Huntington Park in Columbus. The Clippers scored three runs in the sixth inning to break a 1-1 tie and lift them to a second straight win to start the series. Mark Minicozzi homered for the Chiefs in the loss.

Syracuse (19-43) grabbed the lead first for the fourth game in a row. Mario Lisson doubled to lead off the second inning against Toru Murata. Two batters later, Dan Butler reached on an infield single to put runners on the corners. Cutter Dykstra then singled in Lisson to give the Chiefs a 1-0 lead. It was Dykstra’s second straight game with an RBI.

Syracuse mounted a rally in the eighth against Giovanni Soto. Minicozzi hit his second home run of the year to start the inning, cutting the score to 4-2. Lisson then hit a soft grounder in front of the mound. Adam Moore fielded from behind home plate, but threw wide to first, allowing Lisson to reach second on the error. Darin Mastroianni pinch-hit and walked to put the tying run on first. Two batters later, Cutter Dykstra walked against Jeff Manship to load the bases. However, Emmanuel Burriss grounded out to first to end the threat.

Syracuse and Columbus play game three of this four-game set Saturday at 7:15 p.m. A.J. Cole is scheduled to start for the Chiefs opposite Michael Roth for the Clippers.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Matt Skole continued his hot streak with a four-RBI game, including a go-ahead two-run single in the eighth inning of the Harrisburg Senators’ 4-2 victory over the Trenton Thunder Friday night at Metro Bank Park. A crowd of 5,274 took in a third consecutive victory for the Senators (25-35).

In a major league rehab start, Doug Fister was fantastic, firing six scoreless innings and allowing just two hits. However, he left with the game tied 0-0 after six innings. Colin Bates fired a scoreless top of the seventh, and Skole broke the deadlock with a two-run home run over the right field fence. The homer was Skole’s 10th of the season and put Harrisburg up 2-0. However, in the top of the eighth, Trenton’s Aaron Judge tied the game up with a two-run homer off Bates. Skole responded in the bottom half with a two-run single into center field with two outs to push Harrisburg in front again. Gilberto Mendez worked a scoreless ninth inning for his fifth save of the season.

Skole was the only Senator with multiple hits in the game as Drew Vettleson, Kevin Keyes and Ricky Hague all managed a single. Skole now has three homers and 12 RBI in his last nine games. Bates allowed two runs on four hits in his two innings of work to pick up the win.

Game two of a three-game set will begin at 6:00 p.m. tonight at Metro Bank Park.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): Potomac (28-33-Overall, 15-14-Home) rode a three-run fifth inning to a 4-1 win in the series opener against the Frederick Keys (29-32-Overall, 11-22-Road) at Pfitzner Stadium on Friday night.

RHP Lucas Giolito (2-4, 4.08) made his seventh start of the season for Potomac and pitched 6.1 innings, allowing one run on eight hits, he walked one and struck out five, earning his second win of the season for the Red, White and Blue. Giolito threw 92 total pitches with 60 for strikes against the Keys.

Keys LHP Mitch Horacek allowed only two hits and he walked three in his four scoreless innings and the 1-0 lead held for Frederick until the bottom of the fifth. LF Estarlin Martinez doubled, for one his three hits, to begin the inning. 2B Christopher Bostick laid down a sacrifice bunt to push Martinez to third. CF Narciso Mesa walked and on a steal attempt the Keys C Chance Sisco threw the ball wide of the second base bag and Martinez broke for home in what amounted to a double steal and a tie ballgame at 1-1 after Martinez scored. A wild pitch moved Mesa to third and 1B John Wooten, who has hit safely in eight straight contests, continued his hot-hitting with an RBI single that gave Potomac a 2-1 lead. Wooten stole second and advanced to third on a C Spencer Kieboom lineout and SS Stephen Perez, who hits Fredrick pitching at a .364 clip, tripled home Mesa for a 3-1 Potomac lead.

The three-bagger by Perez was the knockout blow to Horacek and into the game came RHP Dylan Rheault and he retired the RF Brandon Miller on a foul out to end the frame.

Potomac added an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth when 3B Khayyan Norfork singled and moved to second on a throwing error by the pitcher Rheault himself. With one out Martinez reached on an infield single that moved Norfork to third base. Bostick hit into what could have been a double play but he beat out the back end to earn an RBI single on a fielder’s choice ball to push the lead to 4-1 Potomac.

That ended the scoring for the ballgame as LHP Nick Lee came in and pitched 1.2 scoreless innings adding a strikeout and RHP Manny Rodriguez (SV 1) pitched a scoreless ninth stranding two runners on the paths and striking out two.

The pitching matchup in Game Two features RHP John Simms (3-4, 3.80) for Potomac against RHP Mikey O’Brian (0-0, 0.00) for Frederick.  First pitch tonight is set for 6:35 pm.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns (30-30) had the potential tying and winning run in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth inning on Friday night, but could not push either runner home and as a result wound up falling to the Lakewood BlueClaws (30-28) by a final of 8-7. The lead changed hands four times in the game, and Hagerstown out-hit the BlueClaws 12-9.

The BlueClaws scored what turned out to be the winning run in the top of the ninth. Shortstop Malquin Canelo led off with a blast over the center field fence into the visitor’s bullpen for his fourth homerun of the season, making it 8-6 Lakewood. The Suns battled back to make it a one-run game in the bottom of the inning thanks to an RBI line drive single up the middle off the bat of 1B Grant DeBruin. However, the next two hitters for the Suns both struck out to leave the potential tying and winning run both in scoring position.

The ninth inning was the third straight inning in which Lakewood was able to plate a run. Trailing 6-5 entering the seventh, the BlueClaws were handed a gift on a ground ball to second, which should have resulted in the third out of the frame. However, 2B David Masters couldn’t handle the ground ball cleanly as it ramped off his chest and into the outfield, allowing Canelo to score from second and tie the game. The next inning, a passed ball by catcher Jorge Tillero with runners in scoring position and two outs allowed 1B Damek Tomscha to trot home from third to make it 7-6 BlueClaws.

Hagerstown took its largest lead of the night at 6-4 in the fourth. The Suns plated three runs in the frame, which began with back-to-back singles by Masters and 3B Cody Dent. After a sacrifice bunt, RF Alec Keller brought both runners home with a line drive single to left. Later in the inning, another line drive single to left off the bat of DH Jose Marmolejos gave the Suns their two-run cushion.

Lakewood had built a three-run lead with a three-run frame of their own in the second, followed by another run in the top of the third to go up 4-1. However, the Suns plated two in the bottom of the third thanks to a wild pitch with a runner at third and a sacrifice fly by Marmolejos. Marmolejos also drove in the Suns first run of the game in the first inning, meaning he finished with three RBI for the second straight night.

It was RHP Robbie Dickey (0-2) who wound up suffering the loss and blown save for Hagerstown. Let down by the defense around him, Dickey gave up two unearned runs on one hit and one walk while striking out one over two innings.

These teams will continue their four-game series at Municipal Stadium on Saturday June 13. The Suns will send RHP Jefry Rodriguez (1-4) to the mound for his ninth start and appearance this season. He will square off against LHP Elniery Garcia (3-5) for Lakewood. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm.

 

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for June 11

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs fell to the Columbus Clippers, 2-1, Thursday night at Huntington Park in downtown Columbus. Jesus Aguilar drove in Francisco Lindor with a walkoff single in the bottom of the tenth inning to give the Clippers the win in the series-opener.

Syracuse (19-42) did strike first in this game in the fifth. Jason Martinson singled for the second time in the game to lead off the inning, and stole second. He scored on a Cutter Dykstra single to give the Chiefs a 1-0 lead.

Columbus (32-29) immediately answered in the bottom of the frame. Jose Ramirez doubled to start the inning and scored on a double from James Ramsey, tying the score.

Those were the only two runs until the tenth. Both starters were outstanding, as Columbus’s Cody Anderson and Syracuse’s Paolo Espino each threw seven innings of one-run ball, with both pitchers tallying six strikeouts.

In the tenth, Lindor singled off Erik Davis to lead off the inning. He moved to second on a groundout by Tyler Naquin. Aguilar then singled through the hole between shortstop and third to win the game for the Clippers.

Syracuse and Columbus play game two of the series Friday night at 7:05. P.J. Walters is scheduled to start for the Chiefs opposite Toru Murata for the Clippers.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Big hits by Matt Skole and Drew Vettleson led the Harrisburg Senators to a 6-2 win over the New Britain Rock Cats Thursday afternoon at New Britain Stadium. The Senators (24-35) have won back-to-back games for the first time since May 24-25.

Skole pushed Harrisburg ahead in the top of the eighth inning, 3-2, with a two-out RBI single and Drew Vettleson followed with a three-run homer to blow the game open. Skole, who was 2-for-4, also had an RBI single in the first inning. Brian Goodwin finished 2-for-4 with a triple in the first inning and two runs scored. In the second inning, Ricky Hague and Pedro Severino doubled in back-to-back at-bats to tie the game at 2-2. The double for Hague was his team-leading 15th of the year. Both of Skole’s RBI and Vettleson’s three-run jack all came with two outs. Harrisburg was 4-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

Harrisburg’s starter Matthew Spann came close to recording a quality start, but managed just 5.2 innings. The tall lefty allowed just two hits and two runs (one unearned) in his third start with Harrisburg. It was Spann’s five walks that did him in as three came in the sixth inning before James Simmons took over. Simmons came through with a strikeout of Will Swanner to strand the bases loaded in the sixth. It was New Britain’s best scoring chance of the afternoon after scoring a pair runs in the first inning. Simmons picked up the win as he was perfect in his outing, retiring all seven batters he faced while striking out two. Brian Dupra fired a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the series split.

The Senators return home tonight for a six-game home stand, beginning with a three-game series against Trenton. Friday’s game will begin at 7:00 p.m.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The Potomac Nationals (27-33 Overall, 13-19 Road) doubled up the Carolina Mudcats (29-30 Overall, 19-14 Home) winning 6-3 in the series finale of a four-game road set to cap their longest bus journey of the 2015 season (two cities and eight contests) on Thursday night at Five County Stadium.

Potomac split the four-gamer with Carolina after doing the same against the Salem Red Sox (Boston) on the frontend of the road trip.

Nationals starting slinger, RHP Nick Pivetta (5-4), on the same day he was announced as one of two P-Nats to represent the club in the 2015 California League vs. Carolina League All-Star Game on June 23rd in Rancho Cucamonga, CA (along with C Spencer Kieboom), hurled his seventh quality start of the 2015 season in his 12th appearance on the mound this year en route to his fifth win.

Pivetta dealt 6.0 innings and allowed just three earned runs on seven hits while overcoming five walks and striking out four Mudcats. The Canadian-born dealer threw exactly 100 pitches and 57 of his pitches went for strikes.

The Nationals tied the game at 1-1 in the 4th frame using a solo home run off the lumber of 1B John Wooten on an offering from the losing pitcher, RHP Seth Webster (2-2). Wooten, a native of nearby Goldsboro, NC, gashed the ball over the fence in the left field corner. The bomb was Wooten’s third homer of the series and fourth of the 2015 campaign.

Potomac exploded four a quartet of runs off Webster in the top of the 6th stanza. P-Nats LF Isaac Ballou blasted a low line drive off the leg of Carolina 2B Reed Harper that caromed into right field. Ballou scored the tying run on a two-bagger swept into the right field corner by 3B Drew Ward. Potomac C Craig Manuel delivered the go-ahead RBI single on a groundball into right field which plated Ward. Nationals RF Estarlin Martinez worked a walk on a 3-2 pitch to make Webster face CF Narciso Mesa. A wild pitch put two runners into scoring position before Mesa zipped a two-run single into center field giving the Nationals a 5-2 edge. Mesa was thrown out 8-3-4 at second base as the throw from Curcio in center field was cut off by Mudcats 1B Joey Meneses and dealt to Harper who applied the tag.

The P-Nats received an insurance run that yielded a three-run advantage for the visiting club when 2B Christopher Bostick launched a solo homer off Carolina RHP Dave Peterson in the 7th that crashed into the video board in left-center field. The clout was Bostick’s second home run of the road trip and fourth four-bagger of the ’15 ledger. Bostick extended his on-base streak to 15 games with a three-hit night (his fourth three-hit game on the bus trip).

Potomac RHP Wander Suero (SV 2) was stellar in his second save of the season. Suero gunned through 3.0 scoreless innings in which he allowed three hits but no walks and struck out a trio. Suero saw Curcio serve a double up the left field line in the bottom of the 9th with one out after he struck out DH Sean Godrey swinging. Mudcats LF Dustin Peterson fanned looking for the second out. Then, Meneses sprayed a line out to Martinez in right field to seal the series split for the Red, White, and Blue.

Suero is now two-for-two in save opportunities with the Nationals this year.

Tonight the Nationals open up a three-game weekend homestand against their Northern Division rivals, the Frederick Keys (Baltimore Orioles) at Pfitzner Stadium.

Potomac sends Washington Nationals unanimous number one overall prospect, RHP Lucas Giolito (1-4, 4.59) to the mound to battle against Frederick LHP Mitch Horacek (4-5, 3.86) in the 7:05pm Friday evening clash.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns (30-29) halted a three-game losing streak on Thursday night and avoided being swept in a series for the first time this season with a 7-3 extra-inning win over the Delmarva Shorebirds (28-30). The win is the first for the Suns this season in extra frames.

Tied at 3-3 entering the 10th inning on Thursday, Hagerstown wound up sending seven hitters to the plate and coming away with a four-run lead. The winning run scored on a wild pitch delivered by LHP Donnie Hart (1-1), so he suffered the loss. Hart was charged with all four runs in the inning, giving up two hits and two walks while striking out one in one inning of work. RHP Drew Van Orden (3-1) picked up the win for Hagerstown. In four scoreless innings of work he surrendered just one hit and two walks while striking out two.

In total Delmarva outscored Hagerstown 16-9 in the series, and the Shorebirds outhit the Suns 22-18. The Suns split their first series of the road trip 2-2 with the Greensboro Grasshoppers (25-35). The Suns now return home to Hagerstown to take on the Lakewood BlueClaws (28-28) in a four-game series beginning on Friday, June 12. The Suns will send RHP Joan Baez (0-0) to the mound for his second start and appearance this season. He will square off against RHP Chris Oliver (3-4) for Lakewood. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 7:05pm.

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