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 282012
 

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 9-1 @ Louisville,
4:05 p.m.
Atkins (4-3, 3.07) vs.
Obispo (0-0, 3.60)
Harrisburg Won, 6-5 vs. Reading,
6:00 p.m.
Rosenbaum (6-0, 0.99) vs.
Buchanan (1-5, 4.73)
Potomac Lost, 6-1 vs. Myrtle Beach,
6:05 p.m.
Ray (1-1, 8.15) vs.
Buckel (3-2, 1.33)
Hagerstown Won, 7-6 @ Greensboro,
7:00 p.m.
Meyer (2-3, 4.36) vs.
Lowell (3-1, 3.83)

Columbus 9 Syracuse 1
• Roark (L, 3-6) 3⅓ IP, 6H, 9R, 9ER, 6BB, 4K, HR
• Lehman 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Teahen 2-4, 2-2B, RBI
• Rivero 1-4, 2B

A five-run 3rd followed by a four-run 4th left little doubt that Columbus would win, 9-1, completing the three-game sweep. Tanner Roark’s scoreless inning streak was stopped at 16 full innings as the Clippers took advantage of the six walks he issued and connected for a three-run shot in the 3rd. The Chiefs managed just six hits, with Mark Teahen doubling twice and driving in the sole Syracuse run. The Chiefs head back out on the road four an eight-game stretch against Louisville and Indianapolis. Roster Moves: OF J.R. Higley was activated from the Potomac disabled list and assigned to Syracuse and got the start in CF (0-for-3), with RHP Rafael Martin assigned to the Temporary Inactive List. Corey Brown has reportedly been flown down to Miami to be activated if the Big Nats need him to replace Chad Tracy, who was hurt on Saturday afternoon. DC backstop Jesus Flores was lifted in the 7th inning last night in Atlanta with a hamstring injury but is not as likely to go on the DL, which means the Chiefs will probably continue to carry three catchers.

Harrisburg 6 Reading 5
• Mandel 6⅓ IP, 10H, 5R, 4ER, 0BB, 7K
• Frias (W, 2-3) 1IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Nelo (SV, 4) 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• Valdez 3-4, 2R, 2B, 2HR, 3RBI
• Seabury 1-3, R, HR, 3RBI
• OF assists: Perez, HP; Rahl, 2B

Jesus Valdez and Beau Seabury combined for three HRs and six RBI as Harrisburg rallied from a 5-2 deficit for a 6-5 win over Reading. Starter Jeff Mandel was left in for for one batter too many, leaving in the 7th after a three-run triple, the 10th hit he gave up over six and a 1/3rd innings. Pat McCoy was able to strand the runner at third by striking out the first batter he faced and inducing a flyball to end the inning. Marcos Frias and Hector Nelo both flirted with disaster (two hits, a walk) but laid goose eggs for the win and save respectively.

Lynchburg 6 Potomac 1
• Olbrychowski 4IP, 3H, R, ER, 5BB, 5K
• Testa ⅓ IP, 0H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 0K, 2HBP, 2-1 IR-S
• Wort 1⅔ IP, H, 0R, 0BB, 3K, 3-3 IR-S
• Kelso 1-4, RBI
• Sanchez 1-3, R, 2B

The wheels came off in the 7th inning in Lynchburg as three relievers gave up five runs on four hits and two hit batsmen, turning a 1-1 pitcher’s duel into a 6-1 loss for Potomac, its 18th in 24 road games. Bobby Hansen Jr. was officially charged with the loss, but Joe Testa hitting two of three batters faced certainly didn’t help nor did an offensive output of just six hits and one walk. The P-Nats return home for four games against Myrtle Beach before a fourth series against the Hillcats this weekend (as previously reported, this year the Carolina League schedule is unbalanced on a per-half basis, with just six games against Wilmington and Carolina in the first half, 14 against the Pelicans, 12 vs. Lynchburg, and 11 vs. both the Dash and the Keys; only Salem is the “usual” 10 games per half — something that might affect the second-half playoff races, should the P-Nats mount their usual charge).

Hagerstown 7 Lakewood 6
• Dupra (W, 3-4) 5IP, 6H, 5R, 3ER, 0BB, 4K, 2HR
• Meza (H, 2) 3IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, BB, 5K
• Barrett (SV, 5) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Dykstra 3-4, R, 2B, SB
• Souza 3-5, R, 3B, 3RBI
• Goodwin 2-3, 2R, 2B, BB, RBI

A four-run fifth powered the Suns past the BlueClaws for a 7-6 win and a 5-1 series smackdown. Brian Dupra hasn’t shook the homer bug, giving up two — nos. 6 and 7, all given up in his last three starts — but got the win. Hagerstown pounded out twelve hits with Cutter Dykstra, Steve Souza and Brian Goodwin combining for eight of them while Matt Skole drew three more walk to push his league-leading total to 47 in 48 games. The Suns continue their road trip with a 500+ mile bus ride last night to Greensboro for a three-game series. Auburn shuffle: Prior to the game, RHP Brian Dupra was assigned from the Doubledays to the Suns, switching places with RHP Jason Smith

May 272012
 

With home runs from Jose Lozada and Tim Pahuta, Harrisburg opened up a 4-1 lead and survived a late Reading charge to win, 5-4.

Starter Paul Demny got the win despite just one clean inning and retiring the leadoff batter twice, as the redheaded Texan struggled with his control and allowed seven hits and four walks over five and 2/3rds innings.

His teammates, however, picked him up early as Lozada cranked a one-out solo shot, his second home run of the year to give the Senators an early 1-0 lead. He would single twice in subsequent at-bats to push his batting average to .312, riding an 11-for-24 stretch since being inserted in the #2 spot in the lineup a week ago.

Reading would tie it in the 3rd with a walk, groundout, a wild pitch and and one-out single from former Nat farmhand Tug Hulett.

Tim Pahuta would get the lead back for good in the 4th with a moonshot about 20′ to the right of the Metro Bank Park scoreboard and about 5′ short of clearing the outfield boardwalk — his third HR in seven days.

Two more runs came in the 5th with Eury leading off with the second of his three line-drive singles to center, Lozada pushing him to third with a single and Pahuta smacking an opposite-field flyball deep enough for the 21-year-old centerfielder to score and Lozada deftly moving up to 2nd on lousy throw from the outfield. Chris Rahl skipped a grounder through the 5/6 hole to send in Lozada and open up the lead to 4-1.

Demny was chased in the 6th after giving up a single, homer, and a two-out walk to the #8 batter (the second time for that sin). Both managers made their move, with John Wathan calling for a pinch-hitter and Matt LeCroy summoning Kevin Pucetas.

The big, fashionable man won the matchup and set down eight of nine, four by way of the K, and gave way to Erik Davis in the 9th after Jeff Mandel pinch-hit for him in the 8th.

Devin Ivany tripled to lead off the 6th and came in to score on Perez’s third hit and that insurance run loomed large after Davis gave up a leadoff single and a one-out double to put the tying runs in scoring position. An infield single plated the fourth Reading run then a wild pitch put the go-ahead run at second.

LeCroy ordered an intentional pass to Tug Hulett and Davis escaped the jam with SS Chris McConnell taking the grounder, stepping on second, and tossing across to Pahuta for the game-ending DP.

The loss breaks a two-game skid for Harrisburg and pushed them to within three games of first-place Akron. The two second-place teams meet again this afternoon for Game 3 of the four-game series, with Mandel (4-3, 3.40) taking the hill for the Senators against Reading’s Trevor May (5-2, 4.10).

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.