Luke Erickson

Luke Erickson is a season-ticket holder for the Potomac Nationals, but makes a point of seeing games in Hagerstown and Harrisburg at least once a summer. When the PNats are away on the weekend, Luke finds a minor-league game somewhere to watch, and generally attends 70-80 baseball games a year up across several states. A former sportswriter with newspapers in Massachusetts and Oregon, Luke lives in Western Fairfax County with his wife and two sons.

May 272012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 9-6 vs. Columbus,
6:30 p.m.
Roark (3-5, 3.89) vs.
Seddon (4-3, 4.70)
Harrisburg Won, 5-4 vs. Reading,
2:00 p.m.
Mandel (4-3, 3.40) vs.
May (5-2, 4.10)
Potomac Lost, 7-2 @ Lynchburg,
2:05 p.m.
Olbrychowski (1-4, 7.20) vs.
Delgado (2-1, 4.15)
Hagerstown Won, 7-1;
Lost, 7-5
@ Lakewood,
7:05 p.m.
TBD vs.
Oviedo (1-0, 1.50)

Columbus 9 Syracuse 6
• Maya (L, 3-5) 5⅔ IP, 6H, 7R, 7ER, 3BB, 6K, HR
• Martin 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Teahen 2-5, 2RBI
• Negrych 2-4
• Solano 2-5, R

A six-run 5th put the wind in Columbus’s sails as the Clippers built a 9-0 lead and weathered a late rally by Syracuse, 9-6. Yunesky Maya was torched for seven runs on six hits, including a three-run HR in the 5th, and suffered the loss. Mark Teahen, Jim Negrych, and Jhonatan Solano each had two hits in the loss.

Harrisburg 5 Reading 4
• Demny (W, 4-2) 5⅔ IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 4BB, 4K, HR
• Pucetas (H, 2) 2⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 4K, 1-0 IR-S
• Perez 3-5, R, RBI, SB
• Lozada 3-4, 2R, HR, RBI
• Pahuta 1-3, R, HR, 2RBI

Big flies and mayflies were both out Last Night In Harrisburg.

Lynchburg 7 Potomac 2
• Swynenberg (L, 3-3) 5⅔ IP, 8H, 6R, 5ER, 2BB, 2K, 3HR
• McCatty 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Ramirez 3-4, RBI
• Freitas 1-3, R, RBI

The month of May continues to be unkind to Matt Swynenberg, as the Lynchburg Hillcats smacked three HRs in a 7-2 win over Potomac. The staff ace lost for the second time in five starts and has seen his ERA climb from 3.24 to 4.94 over that span. J.P. Ramirez led the P-Nats offense with three of their nine hits.

Hagerstown 7 Lakewood 1 — GAME ONE
• Karns (W, 2-0) 7IP, H, R, ER, BB, 10K
• Souza 2-3, R, 2B, BB, 2RBI
• Skole 2-3, R, HR, BB, RBI
• Martinson 2-4, 2R, RBI, SB

Nathan Karns threw a one-hit complete game, striking out a career-high 10 as the Suns took game one of the doubleheader, 7-1. Hagerstown broke the game open in the 3rd with a four-run rally, highlighted by Steve Souza’s two-run double. Matt Skole connected for his 10th HR in the 5th while Jason Martinson singled twice as the Suns pounded out 10 hits in the seven-inning game.

Lakewood 7 Hagerstown 5 — GAME TWO
• Smith (L, 0-1) 1⅔ IP, 4H, 5R, 5ER, 2BB, K, HR
• Hawkins 2⅓ IP, 1H, 1R, 0ER, BB, K
• Skole 3-3, 2B, BB, RBI
• Goodwin 2-3, 2R, 2B, 3B, BB, RBI

The tables were turned in the nightcap as the BlueClaws roughed up Jason Smith in his Low-A debut with a five-run 2nd and held on for a 7-5 win. Matt Skole went 3-for-3 with two singles and a double while Brian Goodwin doubled and tripled as Hagerstown outhit Lakewood 9-5. Jason Martinson singled to extend his hit streak to seven games and scored twice to push his league-leading tally to 52.

May 262012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 9-6 vs. Columbus,
7:00 p.m.
Maya (3-4, 2.57) vs.
Kluber (3-4, 4.67)
Harrisburg Lost, 3-1 vs. Reading,
7:00 p.m.
Demny (3-2, 4.03) vs.
Naylor (3-1, 5.75)
Potomac Won, 11-8 @ Lynchburg,
6:05 p.m.
Swynenberg (3-2, 4.57) vs.
Schlosser (5-2, 3.95)
Hagerstown Won, 4-2 @ Lakewood,
6:05 p.m.
Karns (1-0, 2.59) and
Jason Smith (A- debut) vs.
Martinez (3-2, 6.15)
and TBD

Columbus 9 Syracuse 6
• Lannan (L, 3-5) 5IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, 0BB, 3K, 2HR
• VanAllen 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Carroll 2-4, 2R, 2B, HR, 3RBI
• Brown 2-5, R, 3B, HR, 2RBI
• Solano 2-5, R

Corey Brown homered for the fifth straight game to set a franchise record, but the Chiefs lost, 9-6. Brown also tripled and drove in two while teammate Brett Carroll smacked a double and home run and sent in three. John Lannan also had two home runs, but they came off his arm, not his bat, as the beleaguered lefty was charged with five runs on seven hits and no walks over five innings. It was his fifth loss and the eighth longball surrendered, five coming in his last two starts. Syracuse pounded out 11 hits but somehow scored six times despite going 1-for-12 with RISP.

Reading 3 Harrisburg 1
• Ballard (L, 1-4) 8IP, 8H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 5K, 3HR; 3 sac hits
• Nelo 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Lozada 2-5, R, HR, RBI
• Seabury 3-4

The longball also told the story roughly 260 miles down I-81 from Syracuse as the R-Phils went deep three times in a 3-1 win over the Harrisburg Senators. Mike Ballard took the loss despite pitching eight innings with eight hits (three homers, five singles) and a walk allowed; his longest outing of the year. He also followed each of Beau Seabury’s three singles with a sacrifice bunt, but all three times Seabury was stranded. The Sens had 10 hits and 10 men left on base, the lone run coming on (you guessed it) a home run by Jose Lozada.

Potomac 11 Lynchburg 8
• Holder 3⅔ IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, K
• Holland (W, 3-1) 2IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Selik (SV, 6) 1⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Taylor 3-5, 3R, 2-2B, 2RBI, SB
• Keyes 2-5, 2-2B, 2RBI
• Oduber 2-5, 2RBI

Potomac broke a six-game road losing streak with an 11-8 win in Lynchburg. Scoring first has been a bellwether for Potomac (13-6 this season), but on the road lately, scoring at all has been a rarity (13 runs in the 10 games prior). A five-run first followed by single runs in the 2nd and 3rd helped Potomac build a 7-0 lead before the Hillcats scratched back with three runs in the 4th and a single run in the 5th. The P-Nats answered with a four-run rally in the 6th, which Lynchburg matched. Neil Holland and Cameron Selik put a stop to any thoughts of blowing the 7-0 lead, combining for three and a 1/3rd scoreless innings of relief to earn the win and save, respectively.

Hagerstown 4 Lakewood 2
• Turnbull (W, 2-3) 6IP, 5H, R, ER, 0BB, 6K
• Holt (H, 1) 2⅓ IP, 1H, R, ER, 0BB, 0K, HBP
• Lucas (SV, 2) ⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K, WP, 2-1 IR-S
• Nieto 1-2, 2RBI, 2BB
• Souza 2-4, 2R
• Martinson 2-4, 2B, BB

Kylin Turnbull turned in his best start of the season and the bullpen held up as the Suns put the pinch on the BlueClaws, 4-2 for their third straight win. The 22-y.o. lefty allowed just a single run on five hits and no walks while setting down six on strikes. Three of the four Suns runs were driven in without a base hit, with Adrian Nieto turning the trick twice on groundout in the 3rd and bases-loaded walk in the 8th. Steve Souza and Jason Martinson both went 2-for-4 to lead the Suns eight-hit attack. Roster moves: RHP Pedro Encarnacion was assigned to “Auburn” to make room for RHP Jason Smith, who was activated from the GCL Nationals roster to pitch the second game of the doubleheader tonight.

May 252012
 

Our weekly look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 23-24, 5th place I.L. North, 6½ games behind

Good Corey Brown .381/.426/.929, 6HR, 14RBI in last 10G
Bad Josh Johnson .576 OPS, 7E in 34G
Interesting Yunesky Maya 2-1, 1.35 ERA, 1.013 WHIP in May

HARRISBURG SENATORS 25-21, 2nd place E.L. West, 4 games behind

Good Erik Davis 4-1, 2.17 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 31K in 29IP
Bad Destin Hood .197/.275/.239 in May
Interesting Kevin Pucetas 1.59 ERA, 0.926 WHIP in last 10 appearances

POTOMAC NATIONALS 18-25, 3rd place C.L. North Division, 6½ games behind

Good Justin Bloxom .292/.350/.542 in May (4HR, 14RBI)
Bad Francisco Soriano .173/.276/.267
Interesting Neil Holland 2-0, 0.00 ERA in May (6 appearances)

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 26-19, 2nd place Sally League North Divison, 6 games behind

Good Caleb Ramsey .323/.387/.600, 5HR, 17RBI in May
Bad Justin Miller .175/.237/.310, 38K in 35G
Interesting Ben Hawkins 1.98 ERA, 80% LOB, .157 OBA
May 252012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 13-4 vs. Columbus,
7:00 p.m.
Lannan (3-4, 5.80) vs.
Huff (2-1, 2.66)
Harrisburg Lost, 5-4 vs. Reading,
7:00 p.m.
Ballard (1-3, 3.30) vs.
Pettibone (3-4, 3.59)
Potomac OFF DAY @ Lynchburg,
6:05 p.m.
Holder (2-0, 6.00) vs.
Martin (5-4, 3.28)
Hagerstown Won, 2-0;
Won, 4-3
@ Lakewood,
6:05 p.m.
Turnbull (1-3, 5.01) vs.
Kleven (3-3, 3.38)

Syracuse 13 Columbus 4
• Duke (W, 5-2) 6IP, 8H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 2K, HR
• Bibens-Dirkx 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Bynum 3-4, 3R, 2B, HR, 4RBI
• Brown 3-5, R, 3B, HR, 2RBI
• Solano 2-5, 2R, 2B

Corey Brown was a double short of the cycle as the Chiefs sunk the Clippers by 13-4 count. It was the fourth straight game with a homer for the 26-y.o. outfielder. Syracuse put the game away early with a five-run 2nd and a six-run 3rd, racking up 14 hits with Seth Bynum matching Brown’s three hits and leading the RBI column with four. Zach Duke won for the fourth time in his last five starts, giving up all four Columbus runs on eight hits and two walks. Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Pat Lehman, and Josh Wilkie each tossed a scoreless inning in relief to finish the game. Roster Moves: After a two-month plus absence due to a neck injury, C Jhonatan Solano was activated from the 7-Day DL, with OF Jason Michaels placed on it to make room on the Syracuse roster.

Altoona 5 Harrisburg 4
• Gilliam (L, 1-5) 6IP, 4H, 5R, 5ER, 4BB, 6K
• Pucetas 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, K
• Perez 2-4, R, SB,
• Mayorson 2-4, RBI, CS

Rob Gilliam had just one bad inning, but that five-run first stood up as Altoona took the series finale from Harrisburg, 5-4. Gilliam composed himself to allow just one more hit over the next five scoreless innings, finishing with five runs allowed on five hits and four walks (one intentional) with six strikeouts over six innings. Kevin Pucetas kept the Sens in it with two more scoreless frames. Harrisburg got the tying run to second with one out, and loaded the bases with two outs, but couldn’t push any across. Eury Perez and Manny Mayorson both singled twice as the Sens notched seven hits total.

POTOMAC — OFF DAY
After getting swept by second-place Wilmington, the P-Nats head to Lynchburg for a weekend series against the first-place Lynchburg Hillcats, needing a sweep to have any chance at making up the seven-game deficit with a little more than three weeks left in the first half.

Hagerstown 2 Lakewood 0 — GAME ONE
• Hill (W, 4-3) 6⅓ IP, 3H, 0R, 2BB, 7K
• Barrett (SV, 4) ⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Skole 1-3, R, 2B, RBI
• Martinson 1-2, BB

Taylor Hill ended his winless streak of four starts as the Suns shut out the Blue Claws, 2-0 in the opening game of the doubleheader. Hill went six and a 1/3rd innings but back-to-back walks chased him from the game. He allowed just three hits and struck out a career-high seven batters. Aaron Barrett stranded both baserunners for his fourth save. Matt Skole’s RBI double and Caleb Ramsey’s sac fly in the 4th were the difference as the two teams combined for just seven hits.

Hagerstown 4 Lakewood 3 (8 inn.) — GAME TWO
• Encarnacion (ND) 5IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 2K
• Bates (BS, 1; W, 1-0) 3IP, 2H, R, ER, 2BB, 3K, HR
• Burns 3-4, R
• Dykstra 3-4, 2R, 2SB

Matt Skole struck again, singling in the go-ahead run in the top of the 8th as Hagerstown took the nightcap, 4-3. Billy Burns and Cutter Dykstra combined for six hits while Jason Martinson and Skole combined for four RBI as the four batters accounted for all the Suns offense (nine hits, one walk). Pedro Encarnacion got the spot start and weathered a two-run first to go five innings. Colin Bates gave up the tying run on a leadoff homer in the 7th but retired six of the last seven batters he faced to earn his first win of the season.

May 242012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse OFF DAY vs. Columbus,
7:00 p.m.
Duke (4-2, 4.02) vs.
Berger (1-1, 2.65)
Harrisburg Won, 5-3;
Won, 3-2
@ Altoona,
10:30 a.m.
Gilliam (1-4, 4.68) vs.
Martis (2-0, 2.00)
Potomac Lost, 3-0 OFF DAY N/A
Hagerstown Lost, 8-6
(10 inn.)
@ Lakewood,
6:05 p.m.
TBD and TBD vs.
Stewart (0-4, 3.40) and
Hollands (0-1, 4.91)

SYRACUSE — OFF DAY
The Chiefs return home after a 5-3 road trip to start a four-game set tonight against the Columbus Clippers.

Harrisburg 5 Altoona 3 — GAME ONE
• Rosenbaum (W, 6-0) 5⅔ IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 4K, BK, WP; 1-2, RBI
• Garcia (SV, 6) 1⅓ IP, 3H, 0R, BB, 2K, 1-1 IR-S
• Pahuta 2-3, 2R, 2B, HR, RBI
• Rahl 1-3, R, 3B, E

Danny Rosenbaum ran his record to 6-0 despite a pedestrian (this year at least) pitching line in a 5-3 Harrisburg win over Altoona. The 24-year-old southpaw gave up all three Curve runs on seven hits and three walks over five and 2/3rds innings — all season-worsts for him. The Senators scored in three consecutive innings to build a 5-1 before the Curve struck for two in the 6th while chasing Rosenbaum. Christian Garcia let in one inherited runner but got out of the 6th and worked around two hits in the 7th for his sixth save.

Harrisburg 3 Altoona 2 — GAME TWO
• Tatusko 2⅓ IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 0K, HR
• Erik Davis (SV, 2) 1⅓ IP, H, 0R, 0BB, 0K, 2-0 IR-S
• Valdez 1-2, R, 2B, BB, RBI
• Perez 1-3, R, 2SB

All five runs scored in the course of two bizarre half-innings, as the Sens edged the Curve 3-2 to take the doubleheader. Spot starter Ryan Tatusko breezed through the first two innings with just an IF single but gave up a leadoff HR and a double to start the 3rd. After Altoona’s pitcher Brandon Cumpton botched a bunt for the first out (batter’s interference), Tatusko was lifted after walking the next batter. The Curve greeted Pat McCoy with a single to take a 2-0 lead. After setting down the first nine batters in order, Cumpton was lit up for back-to-back singles by Eury Perez and Jose Lozada and an RBI double by Jesus Valdez to score Perez. After a shallow fly to CF, the Sens tied the game when Lozada was hit in the back trying to score on a grounder to third, then took the lead on a balk. Both teams threatened in the final three innings, but the 3-2 score after four stood as the final.

Wilmington 3 Potomac 0
• Grace (L, 2-6) 7⅓ IP, 8H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 2K
• Holland ⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Soriano 1-3, 3B, BB
• Bloxom 1-3, 2B, BB, E(8)

For the second time in as many games, the Potomac pitcher turned in his best outing of the season only to watch his counterpart silence his teammates as the Blue Rocks completed the three-game sweep with a 3-0 shutout. Matt Grace pitched into the 8th, allowing all three Wilmington runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out two. The P-Nats were limited to five hits and couldn’t take advantage of the five walks they drew, stranding nine baserunners and hitting into two double plays.

Greensboro 8 Hagerstown 6 (10 inn.)
• Meyer (ND) 5IP, H, R, ER, 2BB, 8K, HR
• McKenzie (BS, 1) 2⅔ IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 2K
• Henke (L, 0-1) 2IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, BB, K
• Ramsey 2-3, 2R, BB, 2HR, 5RBI
• Martinson 2-4, R, BB
• Skole 1-4, 2R, BB, HR, RBI

Caleb Ramsey’s second HR of the game tied the game at 5-5 after eight innings, but the Suns ‘pen imploded in the 10th as Hagerstown lost the game 8-6 and lost the series 2-1. Starter Alex Meyer had his fourth non-decision despite allowing just a home run and two walks over the first five innings, tying his season-high for Ks with eight. Chris McKenzie and Travis Henke suffered the blown save and loss respectively, giving up the last seven runs in the ‘Hoppers four-run 8th and three-run 10th. Matt Skole also homered as all six Suns runs came via the longball. Roster moves: RHP Brian Dupra assigned to Auburn, replaced by RHP Colin Bates from Auburn; LHP Todd Simko placed on the 7-Day DL (effective May 22), RHP Travis Henke assigned to Suns from Doubledays.

May 232012
 

This used to be a much more enjoyable task, but the nature of the beast is this: In the “lower” independents, it’s been fairly brutal the past few years.

The Can-Am League is down to just five teams plus a travelling squad (and its official developmental league, the New York State League is on hiatus). The North American League — the merger of the former Northern League, United Baseball League and Golden Baseball League — is on the verge of collapse (though more likely, the United League will be reborn from its ashes).

As always, there’s talk of some new leagues, but as noted in this story about the Freedom Pro Baseball League, an upstart similar to the tiny Pecos League, indy ball has proven to be an especially hard sell in the Western U.S.

I’ll spare you the speculation as to why this is (the economy, growth in collegiate wood-bat leagues) and cut to the chase: There are fewer places for “our guys” to end up after they get released, with the Atlantic League tilting heavily towards 4A’s and the rest tilting towards the non-drafted free agents and guys released after one or two seasons of short-season ball.

Without further ado, here’s a list of the guys I was able to spot in my tour through the available rosters of the North American League, American Association, and the Can-Am League:

Kyle Morrison, Newark Bears (Can-Am)
Daryle Ward, Newark Bears (Can-Am)
Matt Chico, New Jersey Jackals (Can-Am)
Nick Serino, Worcester Tornadoes (Can-Am)
Alex Caldera, Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks (Am. Assoc.)
Mitchell Clegg, Sioux Falls Pheasants (Am. Assoc.)
Trevor Lawhorn, Sioux Falls Pheasants (Am. Assoc.)
Christian Guerrero, Sioux Falls Pheasants (Am. Assoc.)
Ben Graham, Wichita Wingnuts (Am. Assoc.)
Jack Spradlin, Amarillo Sox (Am. Assoc.)
Marcel Prado, El Paso Diablos (Am. Assoc.)
Osvaldo Rodriguez, El Paso Diablos (Am. Assoc.)
Mark Herrera, Grand Prairie Air Hogs (Am. Assoc.)
Russell Moldenhauer, Lake Erie Crushers (Frontier)
Justino Cuevas, London (Ontario) Rippers (Frontier)
Patrick Arnold, Gateway Grizzlies (Frontier)
Chad Mozingo, Schaumburg Boomers (Frontier)
Matt Rogelstad, Edmonton Capitals (No. Am.)
Lou Santangelo, Edmonton Capitals (No. Am.)

I’m sure I’ve probably missed a few (last month proved as much), but bear in mind that without a searchable database at Pointstreak, it’s too time-consuming to do much more than an eyeball test. This concludes the series.

May 232012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 3-1 OFF DAY N/A
Harrisburg Postponed @ Altoona,
10:00 a.m.
Rosenbaum (5-0, 0.62) and
Gilliam (1-4, 4.68) vs.
Irwin (0-1, 4.76) and
Cumpton (5-3, 3.72)
Potomac Lost, 4-2 @ Wilmington,
11:05 a.m.
Grace (2-5, 7.34) vs.
Sample (0-5, 6.00)
Hagerstown Won, 5-4;
Lost, 8-4
vs. Greensboro,
10:35 a.m.
Meyer (2-3, 4.70) vs.
(3-1, 3.95)

Syracuse 7 Toledo 0
• Atkins (W, 4-3) 6IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 3K
• Arnesen (SV, 1) 3IP, 2H, 0R, BB, K
• Brown 2-5, R, HR, 5RBI
• Michaels 2-4, 2R, RBI

Mitch Atkins and Erik Arnesen each gave up two hits to combine on a four-hit Syracuse shutout of Toledo, 7-0. The Chiefs did their damage with two big innings — a four-run 2nd and a three-run 7th as the Chiefs plucked the Mud Hens pitchers for 12 hits. Corey Brown remains an offensive force, driving in five runs (all with two outs) while smacking his 10th HR. Syracuse finished its Ohio swing with a 5-3 mark and gets an off day today before returning to action on Thursday.

HARRISBURG — PPD
Rain postponed Game Two of the four-game series and will be made up as a doubleheader this morning.

Wilmington 4 Potomac 2
• Ray (ND) 5⅔ IP, 5H, R, ER, 2BB, 8K
• Wort (L, 0-2) 1⅔ IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 2K
• Selik (BS, 1) ⅔ IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 0K, 2-2 IR-S
• Bloxom 2-4, R, 2B
• Keyes 1-4, R, RBI, SB

Robbie Ray turned in his finest outing thus far for Potomac, pitching into the 6th with eight strikeouts and a run on five hits and two walks. The Blue Rocks, however, pulverized the Potomac ‘pen for three runs in the last of the 8th, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 win for Wilmington. Rob Wort took the loss when Cameron Selik couldn’t strand the two runners he inherited. Wort was charged for his first earned run in more than a month while Selik suffered his first blown save in six opportunities. Justin Bloxom continues to swing a hot bat, going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored to lead the P-Nat offense.

Hagerstown 5 Greensboro 4, 10 inn. (comp.)
• Karns 1⅓ IP, H, 2R, 2ER, 4BB, K
• Meza 4⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 3BB, 5K, 2-1 IR-S
• Barrett (BS, 1; W, 3-1) 2IP, 4H, R, ER, BB, K
• Nieto 2-4, R, 2B, BB, 2RBI
• Souza 2-4, R, BB
• Skole 2-5, 2R, RBI

Adrian Nieto’s RBI single in the bottom of the 10th gave the Suns a 5-4 win over Greensboro in the completion of Monday night’s suspended game. Christian Meza got the spot “start,” and turned in four and 2/3rds innings of relief, letting in one of two inherited runners while walking three and striking out five. After Hagerstown rallied for two in the last of the 8th, Aaron Barrett couldn’t nail it down in the 9th, giving up a two-out double to tie it at 4-4 but pitched a scoreless 10th to earn the win. Nieto, Steve Souza, and Matt Skole each had two hits as the Suns rapped out nine total.

Greensboro 8 Hagerstown 4 — GAME TWO
• Dupra (L, 2-4) 1⅔ IP, 6H, 8R, 8ER, 4BB, K, 2HR
• Hawkins 3⅓ IP, 5H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Burns 2-3, R, 2B, 3B, BB, SB, RBI
• Goodwin 1-3, R, BB

Brian Dupra’s struggles with the long ball continue with two more given up in an 8-4 loss to Greensboro. The righthander has given up five in his past two starts, along with 10 hits, 12 runs and five walks. Billy Burns walked, doubled, tripled, stole a base, scored a run, and drove in a run to lead the Suns on offense, which collected seven hits total but left nine runners on base.

May 222012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 3-1 @ Toledo,
10:30 a.m.
Atkins (3-3, 3.55) vs.
Oliver (3-2, 3.25)
Harrisburg Lost, 4-2 @ Altoona,
6:30 p.m.
Rosenbaum (5-0, 0.62) vs.
Irwin (0-1, 4.76)
Potomac Lost, 7-0 @ Wilmington,
6:35 p.m.
Ray (1-1, 11.25) vs.
Ventura (2-3, 2.97))
Hagerstown Losing, 1-0
(Susp., Top 2)
vs. Greensboro,
5:05 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD

Syracuse 3 Toledo 1
• Roark (W, 3-5) 5IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 4K
• Pena (SV, 1) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Brown 2-4, 2R, HR, RBI
• Hoffpauir 1-3, SF, RBI

Tanner Roark returned to the starting rotation and extended his scoreless inning streak to 14 with five more in a 3-1 Syracuse win over Toledo. The 25-y.o. allowed just two hits and a walk while striking out four. For the second straight game, Corey Brown led off the game with a HR, and went 2-for-4 with two runs scored to lead the Syracuse offense, which struggled otherwise (1-for-10 with RISP, 10 LOB). Hassan Pena was the last of four relievers to follow Roark, pitching around a two-out IF hit to earn his first save of the season.

Altoona 4 Harrisburg 2
• Mandel (L, 4-3) 6IP, 4H, 3R, 2ER, 3BB, 6K, WP
• Pucetas 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Perez 2-4, BB, RBI
• Lozada 3-4, R, 3B

The Sens out hit the Curve 8-5 but lost the game 4-2. Altoona committed two errors to Harrisburg’s one, but two runs scored on the Senator error, a bases-loaded, one-out grounder that went through Manny Mayorson’s legs. The Sens were DOA with RISP, going just 1-for-7 with 9 runners left on. Jose Lozada and Eury Perez combined for five of the eight hits. Starter Jeff Mandel took the loss despite a quality start of three runs allowed (two earned) on four hits and three walks.

Wilmington 7 Potomac 0
• Swynenberg (L, 3-2) 4⅓ IP 9H, 6R, 5ER, BB, 6K
• Hansen 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Taylor 1-2, 2B, BB
• Hague 1-4

Wilmington’s Greg Billo and Leondy Perez combined on a two-hit shutout of Potomac by a 7-0 count. Starter Matt Swynenberg took the loss, giving up six runs (five earned) on nine hits and a walk. Ricky Hague’s single in the 1st and Michael Taylor’s double in the 2nd were the two Potomac hits. Taylor’s walk in the 5th was the third and final P-Nat baserunner. Roster moves… OF J.P. Ramirez was assigned from Hagerstown, while OF Wade Moore was assigned to Extended Spring Training. RHP Adam Olbrychowski was activated from the DL while RHP Kyle Winters was released.

Greensboro 1 Hagerstown 0 — SUSP.
Rain halted play during the second inning last night, forcing a suspension of play. Play will resume tonight at 5:05 p.m. to complete the suspended game in nine innings, followed by second game of seven innings. RHP Brian Dupra was activated from the Temporary Inactive List, taking the place of Ramirez on the Suns’ 25-man roster.

May 212012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 5-2 @ Toledo,
10:30 a.m.
Roark (2-5, 4.38) vs.
Weber (3-1, 2.18)
Harrisburg Won, 4-0 @ Altoona,
6:30 p.m.
Mandel (4-2, 3.45) vs.
Baker (2-4, 5.18)
Potomac Won, 4-2 @ Wilmington,
6:35 p.m.
Swynenberg (3-1, 3.95) vs.
Billo (3-3, 5.58)
Hagerstown Lost, 3-1 vs. Greensboro,
7:05 p.m.
Karns (1-0, 2.10) vs.
Fernandez (4-0, 1.91)

Toledo 5 Syracuse 2
• Maya (ND) 7IP, 2H, R, ER, 2BB, K
• Wilkie (BS, 1; L, 0-2) ⅔ IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, K, HR (3R)
• Brown 1-4, R, HR, RBI
• Teahen 1-4, R, 2B

A pinch-hit, two-out, three-run home run by former Chief Brad Eldred ended this one in walkoff fashion as Toledo rallied for four in the 9th to beat Syracuse, 5-2. Josh Wilkie blew his first save, charged with four runs on four hits over 2/3rds an inning. The implosion spoiled another fine start by Yunesky Maya, who allowed just two hits, two walks, and one run over the first seven innings. Corey Brown drove in the first Chiefs run with a leadoff HR in the 1st while Brett Carroll’s sac fly in the 7th broke a 1-1 tie. Pat Lehman and Corey VanAllen divvied up the 8th, each earning a hold.

Harrisburg 4 Bowie 0
• Demny (W, 3-2) 8IP, 2H, 0R, 3BB, 4K
• Garcia 1IP, 1H, 0R, BB, K
• Rahl 1-3, R, HR, 2RBI
• Pahuta 1-4, R, HR, 2RBI

Paul Demny’s MBP demons were nowhere to be found as the 22-y.o. turned in his best outing of the season with eight scoreless innings in a 4-0 Harrisburg win over Bowie. Tim Pahuta and Chris Rahl both smacked two-run shots in the four-run 4th, as the Senators prevented a BaySox sweep and stopped a three-game tailspin. Christian Garcia worked around two 9th-inning baserunners (walk, hit) to preserve the shutout and lower his ERA to 1.65.

Potomac 4 Carolina 2
• Demmin 4IP, 2H, 0R, 3BB, 5K
• Holland (SV, 1) 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Oduber 2-3, R, HR, 2B, 2RBI
• Bloxom 1-3, R, HR, RBI

Justin Bloxom and Randolph Oduber both homered Sunday Afternoon In Woodbridge.
Byron Kerr passes along news that Matt Purke continues to be the sirloin that the local diner will have on special “next week,” as the southpaw is set to go Thursday in Viera after pitching last Thursday. If activated (and not reassigned) for his next turn in the rotation, that would be during the next Potomac homestand on May 28 to June 3.

Delmarva 3 Hagerstown 1
• Turnbull (L, 1-3) 5IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 2BB, 2K
• McKenzie 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Souza 0-1, SH, SF, RBI, E
• Skole 1-4, 2B
• Ramirez 1-2, 2B

The Suns were the latest victims of Shorebirds teenage phenom Dylan Bundy, who was perfect for four innings before Matt Skole led off the 5th with a double, as Delmarva beat Hagerstown, 3-1. J.P. Ramirez also doubled while Brian Goodwin singled, as the Suns were held to just three hits and one walk (neither by Billy Burns, ending his on-base streak at 30 games; Kerr gets the blame for the curse ;-). Steve Souza drove in the sole Hagerstown run with a 7th-inning sac fly.

May 202012
 

Justin Bloxom and Randolph Oduber continue to terrorize the Mudcats, as both went deep in a 4-2 Potomac win over Carolina.

Potomac got on the board in the bottom of the 1st for the fifth time in the last seven games, posting a three-spot. Francisco Soriano drew a one-out walk and stole second and third, waltzing home with the first run when Carolina’s Tyler Cannon overshot the third baseman. Bloxom connected two batters later for his first HR batting righthanded to drive in the second run

Michael Taylor followed with a double to deep right-center. After a Kevin Keyes walk, Oduber drove in the third Potomac run. Three innings later Oduber cleared the LF fence as Bloxom did. The two combined for four HR’s and eight hits for the series, scoring five runs and driving in five runs.

Ryan Demmin took his second turn in the rotation and struggled with his control. His stuff was there — a nice mix of 90s heat combined with low-80s breaking balls — but the command was spotty as the southpaw walked three and struck out five. But with some help from his defense (a nifty 5-C-3 DP by Blake Kelso in the 2nd), he stranded four baserunners and gutted his way through four scoreless innings.

Shane McCatty was the first man out of the ‘pen and wasn’t much better than his previous outing. He walked three and struck out but also gave up a HR to Cleveland’s #13 prospect Ronny Rodriguez, unable to get his fastball past him despite multiple warnings that were hit hard, far, and foul down the LF line. He would get the rulebook win despite giving up a run in his fourth straight appearance, pitching the 5th and part of the 6th.

Joe Testa, another reliever that’s been struggling, stranded the two runners he inherited from McCatty to end the 6th. But got into trouble after giving up a leadoff double to start the 7th and then firing a seed on a sacrifice attempt that handcuffed an inexperienced Soriano at 1B as the throw glanced off Soriano’s wrist, scoring the second Carolina run. He would finish the inning on defense, but eventually left the game.

David Freitas, who was getting the usual rest for an everyday catcher (day game after a night game) showed little signs of rust as he returned to the position he played as a schoolboy and deftly handled all four chances he had over the last two innings, as sidewinding Neil Holland closed out the game with just a one-out single allowed in the 9th for his first save of the season.

After getting swept last weekend, Potomac took two of three from the Mudcats finished the homestand with a 5-2 mark, keeping pace with both Lynchburg and Wilmington. With less than a month left, the six-game roadtrip that starts tomorrow will make or break the P-Nats’ chances for the first half.

It starts with a three-game series against the second-place Blue Rocks, a team that Potomac took two of three from at home two weeks ago. After a previously misreported (*ahem*) unnoticed off day on Thursday, it’s a weekend set against the Hillcats — a team that (rather handily) beat Potomac five times in six April meetings.