March 6, 2021

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


– 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 May 27

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs dropped the third game of a four-game set to the Norfolk Tides, 3-0, Wednesday night at Harbor Park. Scott McGregor threw his fifth straight quality start for Syracuse in the loss, Norfolk’s third straight win to start the series.

Syracuse (17-29) got hits in each of its first two at-bats for the second straight night, after Darin Mastroianni and Tony Gwynn, Jr. each singled. Two batters later, Mark Minicozzi was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Tides starter Michael Bowden then threw a pitch that trickled away from Audry Perez, but Perez found the ball and threw out Mastroianni trying to score. Ian Stewart grounded out to end the threat.

McGregor still put together a quality effort, going seven innings, allowing the two runs on eight hits, and striking out three. Mcgregor has now pitched into the seventh inning in all five of his May starts, holding a 2.11 ERA in the month

The Chiefs did their best to rally in the ninth. Minicozzi picked up his second hit of the game with one out off Patrick McCoy, and was retired on the bases on a ground ball hit by Ian Stewart.  Stewart reached on the fielder’s choice, and moved to second on defensive indifference. McCoy then walked Jason Martinson and Caleb Ramsey to load the bases and put the tying run on first. The Tides turned to the bullpen, and Cesar Cabral got Dan Butler to fly out to the warning track to end the game.

The Chiefs try to avoid the sweep Thursday at 12:05 p.m. Bruce Billings is scheduled to start for the Chiefs, opposite Elih Villanueva for the Tides.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Richmond sent 21 total batters to the plate during back-to-back innings in a 12-0 shellacking at the hands of the Flying Squirrels Wednesday night at The Diamond. Harrisburg (20-25) was shut out for only the second time this season and first since Opening Day.

Harrisburg starter Richard Bleier was cruising along until the fifth inning when Richmond scored eight runs, seven of which with two outs. The damage was enough to knock Bleier out of the game as Sam Runion relieved to record the final out in the inning. In the next frame, Runion would also run into issues with two outs as Richmond poured on four additional runs to put the game far out of reach.

Abel De Los Santos was a bright spot as the reliever threw two scoreless innings for the Senators, allowing a lone hit and striking out three.

Brian Jeroloman reached base three times on one hit and two walks while four other Senators each recorded a base knock. Harrisburg was 1-for-7 batting with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.

The Senators will look to avoid the sweep of the three-game series on Thursday night at 6:35 p.m.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The Potomac Nationals (19-27 Overall, 10-12 Home) were tamped in both ends of a Wednesday twin bill at Pfitzner Stadium by the Wilmington Blue Rocks (27-18 Overall, 8-9 Road) losing by the final scores of 3-1 and 5-1 in the first two series games, respectively, of four contests in three days.

The Blue Rocks have clinched a six-game winning streak while the P-Nats are now mired in a three-game losing slide.

The Nationals turned in identical one run on four hits with one error line scores in both seven-inning games.

The red, white, and blue are a (3-7) club in doubleheaders on the current campaign.

In the frontend matchup, Blue Rocks starter, RHP Alec Mills (3-3) was stupendous over the course of a complete 7.0 innings to earn his third win of the season. Mills surrendered just an RBI single shot into left-center field by Nationals C Craig Manuel to plate the double of 3B Drew Ward in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Manuel was retired in between first and second base on a 7-5-3-4 putout.

Wilmington used the first home run of the season for SS Jack Lopez to get a 1-0 lead in the opening stanza.

Lopez sailed a line drive into the second tier of signage in left field off losing pitcher of record, Potomac LHP Matthew Spann (0-5), who remains defeated in five starts in the Carolina League in 2015. Spann allowed three earned runs on nine hits in 6.0 innings to earn a quality start amid one walk and six strikeouts.

The other two runs were plated by the Blue Rocks in the 4th frame to break up a 1-1 tie courtesy of an RBI triple gashed to deep center field by LF Logan Moon and an RBI single corralled not in time by Potomac 2B Christopher Bostick in shallow right field off the stick of C Cam Gallagher, who left the game after stumbling around the second base bag.

Moon doubled, tripled, walked, drove in one run, and score one run in the affair going 2-for-2 in the process.

P-Nats RHP Kevin Perez tossed up a zero in the 7th despite unleashing a wild pitch but Mills shut down the Nationals in the bottom of the 7th submitting a one-two-three frame.

In the nightcap, Potomac RHP Tyler Mapes, in a spot start, was very effective. Mapes tossed 4.0 shutout innings and surrendered five hits, no walks, and fanned a quartet in a no-decision.

The P-Nats witnessed Wilmington bring nine batters to the plate in the 5th frame against reliever, RHP Jake Johansen (1-4), who allowed five runs (four earned runs) on six hits in 3.0 innings of work. Johansen walked no one but struck out just one hitter. Johansen’s offerings resulted in an RBI double to left-center field by 2B Ramon Torres, a two-run single from 2B Carlos Garcia, a throwing error by Ward at third base allowing one run to score, and a run-scoring double sent to the right field wall from 1B Frank Schwindel.

Johansen suffered his fourth losing decision of the 2015 journey.

It was too little, too late for the home club in the 6th when SS Stephen Perez sprayed an RBI sacrifice fly to left field in advance of a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of CF Isaac Ballou.

In series Game Three, the P-Nats will throw RHP John Simms (1-4, 4.44) at Wilmington RHP Yender Caramo (2-2, 2.40) for a 7:05pm first pitch at The Pfitz on Thursday night.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns (24-22) could not complete their second series sweep of the Greensboro Grasshoppers (19-27) on Wednesday afternoon, falling in the final game of a three-game series 8-5. Despite the loss Hagerstown finished its seven- game road trip with a 4-3 record, making it back-to-back road trips with winning records.

The Suns got out to a 3-1 lead on Wednesday after two innings, but the Grasshopper bats then came to life as Greensboro plated at least one run in four of the next six innings. The Grasshoppers out-hit the Suns in the game 15-12, and three of those 15 hits were homers. Two of those three homeruns came against starting RHP Luis Reyes, who exited the game after five innings, having allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits while striking out four. LHP Brett Mooneyham (0-2) took over for Reyes and wound up suffering the loss. He let up three earned runs on four hits in just one inning of work.

In total Hagerstown outscored Greensboro 19-13 in the series, but the Grasshoppers outhit the Suns 35-29. The Suns next head back home to Hagerstown to take on the Kannapolis Intimidators (21-24) in a four-game series beginning on Thursday, May 28. First pitch on Thursday is scheduled for 7:05pm.

Washington Nationals Honor Steven Souza Jr., Lucas Giolito and Wilmer Difo

While Wednesday evening brought with it thunderstorms severe enough to postpone the Washington Nationals game against the New York Mets, the team did announce that several of it’s top minor leaguers would be recognized prior to Thursday’s game.

Every year since 2005, the Nationals have handed out Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year awards. Starting in 2013, the Bob Boone Award was added to be given to the player that showed outstanding professionalism throughout the season. [Read more…]

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