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.

Aug 032012
 

Kevin Keyes gets congrats after his three-run HR in the 8th

After dropping the continuation from Wednesday by a 5-3 count in 10 innings, a quartet of Nationals pitchers combined for a five-hit, 8-0 shutout of the Salem Red Sox to claim sole possession of first place in the Carolina League’s Northern Division.

Nathan Karns got the win, his eighth, with five scoreless innings, which lowered his ERA from 1.84 to 1.70. But at the risk of sounding spoiled, this was not his best outing. This is not the Salem squad that finished the first half 41-28 — no Jackie Bradley Jr. (1.002 OPS), no Travis Shaw (.957).

The unofficial pitch count was 81 pitches, 45 for strikes. Three walks and a hit batsmen over five innings meant just one 1-2-3 inning and more than a couple of prolonged at-bats. The six strikeouts were nice, but Karns could have set down eight or nine against this lineup in five frames (he struck out 11 in seven in June).

Offensively, Potomac got started early for the second straight game. Three straight hits to go up 1-0, a sacrifice fly to go up 2-0, then another single to make it 3-0. With a little hesitation from J.P. Ramirez, it might have been 4-0 as the first ended with Stephen King slicing a double to right field. The two would get it done in the fourth with King ripping a double down the left field line, an error helping Ramirez to score.

As the pic above shows, the P-Nats busted the game wide open in the 8th as Adrian Sanchez singled, Ricky Hague walked, and Kevin Keyes deposited a fat fastball to left for home run #16 and RBIs 56, 57, and 58 (both team-best). Jason Martinson singled and scored on Blake Kelso’s RBI double to finish the four-run barrage.

Aaron Barrett followed Karns in the 6th and struck out the first two batters en route to his two goose eggs. Joe Testa worked around a single and a walk in the 8th to put up another zero. Rob Wort gave up a leadoff double to start the ninth then set down the next three, finishing with the strikeout to complete the team shutout.

With the win, Potomac evens its record at 20-20, a frac12; game better than Frederick and Wilmington and a full game better than Lynchburg. Salem did take two-of-three for the first opponent to win a series at the Pfitz since April. Tonight, it’s the start of a six-games-in-seven-nights stretch against the current co-leaders of the Southern Division, the Winston-Salem Dash and the Myrtle Beach. Rob Gilliam (0-0, 1.69) makes his second start.

Aug 032012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 2-0 @ Buffalo,
7:05 p.m.
Mandel (2-3, 2.53) vs.
Familia (7-7, 4.88)
Harrisburg Lost, 4-3
(12 inn.)
vs. Richmond,
7:00 p.m.
Holder (2-2, 5.66) vs.
Fitzgerald (7-7, 3.74)
Potomac Lost, 5-3;
Won, 8-0
@ Winston-Salem,
7:05 p.m.
Gilliam (0-0, 1.69) vs.
McCray (5-3, 3.72)
Hagerstown Won, 9-7 vs. Lexington,
7:05 p.m.
Schwartz (1-0, 2.38) vs.
Dufek (5-2, 5.25)
Auburn Won, 11-3 @ Staten Island,
7:00 p.m.
Pineyro (1-1, 3.60) vs.
Flight (1-3, 5.86)
GCL Nationals Won, 4-3
(10 inn.)
@ GCL Astros,
12:00 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Won, 10-4 @ DSL Phillies,
10:30 a.m.
Valerio (1-4, 3.60) vs.
Santos (4-2, 4.21)

Syracuse 2 Buffalo 0
• Maya (W, 9-8) 7⅔ IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 7K
• Severino (H, 6) ⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• MacDougal (SV, 1) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Perez 1-3, CS
• Rivero 1-2, R, BB, HR, RBI

Three Syracuse Chiefs combined on a two-hit shutout of the Buffalo Bisons, 2-0. Yunesky Maya, who gave up one run over eight innings in his previous start, threw seven and 2/3rds scoreless to get the win, allowing just two hits and a walk while fanning seven. Atahualpa Severino got the final out of the eighth for his sixth hold while recently signed veteran Mike MacDougal pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the save, his first for Syracuse this season.

Binghamton 4 Harrisburg 3 (12 inn.)
• Wang 6⅔ IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 2K, HR
• Barthmaier (L, 0-2) ⅔ IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, BB, K
• Skelton 3-3, RBI, SAC, SF
• Goodwin 3-5, BB
• Van Ostrand 2-6, R

Perhaps it’s time for a trip to AAMCO, as the Sens’ struggles in the clutch continued in a 4-3 loss to Binghamton in 12 innings. Harrisburg went 0-for-15 with RISP and left on 14 runners on. Chien-Ming Wang made his 16th rehab start over the past two seasons and gave up three runs on seven hits and a walk over six and 2/3rds innings. Jimmy Barthmaier suffered the loss, his second for Harrisburg in three appearances. The Senators collected 12 hits with the #1 and #2 batters, Brian Goodwin and James Skelton, combining for six hits.

Salem 3 Potomac 3 — GAME ONE (Comp.)
• Olbrychowski (L, 4-10) 1IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 0K

It took just one and a half innings to decide the suspended game as Salem scored twice against Adam Olbrychowski to secure a 5-3 win. Potomac threatened in the 9th with a pair of one-out walks before Adrian Sanchez hit into a DP and stranded Stephen King at second after a leadoff double in the 10th.

Potomac 8 Salem 0 — GAME TWO
• Karns (W, 8-2) 5IP, 3H, 0R, 3BB, 6K, HBP
• Barrett 2IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Ramirez 3-4, R, RBI
• King 2-4, 2-2B

Four Potomac pitchers combined on a five-hit shutout Last Night In Woodbridge.

Hagerstown 9 West Virginia 7
• Hill 2⅔ IP, 7H, 7R, 5ER, 2BB, 0K, 0HR
• Meza (W, 7-1) 3⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• Holt (SV, 3) 3IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Ortega 3-5, 2R, 3B, 2RBI
• Nieto 2-4, R, 2B, BB, RBI, SB, PB(14)
• Ramsey 2-4, 2R, BB, RBI

The Suns outslugged the Power, 9-7, to reclaim first place in the Sally League. Starter Taylor Hill struggled, allowing all seven West Virginia runs on seven hits and two walks and struck out none. Christian Meza and Greg Holt got the win and save respectively, combining for six and a 1/3rd no-hit, scoreless innings of relief with four strikeouts. Hagerstown pounded out 12 hits with Bryce Ortega leading the hit column with a 3-for-5 night and Matt Skole connecting for his league-leading 24th home run. Roster move: C Jeremy Mayo activated from the DL.

Auburn Doubledays 11 Staten Island Yankees 3
• Lee 4⅓ IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 2K
• Davis (W, 3-0) 2⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 3K, 3-2 IR-S
• Martinez 3-5, R, HR, 5RBI (15-game hit streak)
• Rendon 3-4, 3R, 2-2B, RBI
• McQuillan 3-5, 2R, 2B, BB, 2RBI

Estarlin Martinez extended his hit streak to 15 games and drove in five as Auburn smacked Staten Island, 11-3. Martinez went 3-for-5 with a home run as the Doubledays pounded out 18 hits. Cody Davis let in two of three inherited runners but was credited with the win in relief of starter Nick Lee. Anthony Rendon showed no ill effects from last night’s HBP, doubling twice and scoring thrice with an RBI and two assists on defense.

GCL Nationals 4 GCL Marlins 3 (10 inn.)
• Estevez 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Anderson 4IP, 4H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Foat 3-4, R, 2B, RBI
• Lippincott 2-5, 2B, RBI
• Piwnica-Worms 2-5

Brian Lippincott’s RBI double in the last of the 10th took the edge off Wilson Esuebio blowing a 3-0 lead in the 9th for a 4-3 G-Nats win over the G-Marlins. Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez made his first appearance since May 14 with two perfect innings to start the game, followed by four scoreless from Dixon Anderson and two from Bobby Lucas. Eusebio blew the 3-0 lead by giving up three in the 9th. The G-Nats rapped out 12 hits total, with Matt Foat leading the charge with a 3-for-4 afternoon, but were a woeful 1-for-8 with RISP with 10 runners left on base. Roster move: Estevez assigned to GCL (rehab).

DSL Nationals 10 DSL Pirates2 4
• Benitez (W, 2-1) 5IP, 3H, R, ER, 4BB, 6K
• Ramos 2IP, 3H, 2R, ER, BB, 2K
• Read 3-4, R, 2B, HR, 4RBI
• A. Martinez 3-5, 2R, 2-2B, RBI
• Aguero 2-4, 2R, 2B, BB, 2RBI

A six-run 2nd propelled the D-Nats past the D-Pirates2 squad, 10-4. Juan Benitez got the win with five innings of one-run ball, giving up three hits and walking four while striking out six. Raudy Read led the offense with a single, double, and a home run to drive in four runs.

Aug 022012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse OFF DAY @ Buffalo,
7:05 p.m.
Maya (8-8, 3.76) vs.
Olson (4-6, 4.78)
Harrisburg Won, 3-2 @ Binghamton,
6:35 p.m.
Wang (MLB rehab) vs.
Mazzoni (4-3, 3.21)
Potomac Tied, 3-3
(suspended)
vs. Salem,
5:05 p.m. (comp.)
Karns (7-2, 1.84) vs.
Celestino (7-6, 4.34)
Hagerstown Won, 12-7 @ West Virginia,
7:05 p.m.
Hill (9-6, 4.72) vs.
Von Rosenberg (3-4, 3.73)
Auburn Won, 10-5 @ Staten Island,
11:00 a.m.
Lee (1-0, 3.38) vs.
Black (0-0, 2.49)
GCL Nationals Won, 5-2 vs. GCL Marlins,
12:00 p.m.
Santana (1-3, 7.13) vs.
TBD
DSL Nationals Won, 8-3 @ DSL Pirates2,
10:30 a.m.
Valdez (2-1, 7.02) vs.
Sanchez (3-3, 3.03)

SYRACUSE CHIEFS — OFF DAY
It’s six straight games against the Bisons with a four-game series in Buffalo over the weekend and two in Syracuse early next week.

Harrisburg 3 Binghamton 2
• Pucetas (W, 7-4) 5IP, 3H, R, ER, BB, 3K
• McCoy (SV, 2) 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• Skelton 2-4, R, 2B
• Bloxom 2-4, R, 2B

Kevin Pucetas and a quartet of relievers combined to limit the Binghamton Mets to just five hits as the Harrisburg Senators broke a five-game losing streak with a 3-2 win in upstate New York. Pucetas went the first five innings with one run allowed on three hits and one walk with three strikeouts. Paul Demny, Marcos Frias, Hector Nelo, and Pat McCoy each threw an inning, combining for four innings, with one unearned run on two hits and three walks. Justin Bloxom and James Skelton both went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored to lead the Senators offense.

Salem 3 Potomac 3 — SUSP.
• Meyer 5IP, 6H, R, ER, 3BB, 3K
• Carr 2IP, 2H, 2R, 1ER, 0BB, K
• Holland 2IP, H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Werth 2-3, R, 2B, BB
• Taylor 2-4, R, 2B
• Hague 2-4, R, RBI

Sorry, no LNIW for this one, which was suspended at 3-3 in bottom of the 9th after raining off-and-on for most of the evening. It will be completed tonight at 5:05 with the regularly scheduled contest at 7:05 p.m. Alex Meyer started and turned in five innings with one run allowed but also gave up six hits and three walks — all with two outs in the 4th. With a rehabbing Jayson Werth leading off and playing in CF, Potomac scored its three runs in the bottom of the first, with a double from Werth and singles from Michael Taylor, Ricky Hague, and Jason Martinson. Salem tied it in the 7th with three steals and a pair of singles, taking advantage of a hit batsmen and a passed ball.

Hagerstown 12 West Virginia 7
• Rauh (W, 1-1) 5IP, 8H, 5R, 4ER, 3BB, 3K
• Bates (SV, 3) ⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K, 3-0 IR-S
• Jimenez 3-4, 2R, HR, 2RBI
• Miller 3-5, 2RBI
• Ortega 3-5, 3R
• Skole 2-4, 2R, 2B, HR, BB, 4RBI

Hagerstown pounded out 17 hits en route to a 12-7 win over West Virginia, reclaiming a share of first place in the Sally League North. Brian Rauh got the “W” despite a subpar line of five runs on eight hits and three walks over five innings. Six Suns collected multiple hits, three notched three safeties, with Matt Skole leading the total-base count with six, thanks to a double and his league-leading 23rd home run, which increased his RBI tally to 80 (2nd in the Sally). Colin Bates got the cheapest save possible by the rules, retiring one batter in the 9th with with bases loaded and a five-run lead.

Auburn Doubledays 10 Staten Island Yankees 5
• Encarnacion 5IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 5K, HR
• Henke 2⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K, 2-0 IR-S
• Renda 3-6, R, 2-2B, SB(10)
• Kieboom 3-4, 2-2B, BB, 3RBI
• Rendon 1-2, R

Apparently, it’s a rule that all games in New York City must take nearly four hours, as the Auburn Doubledays outslugged the Staten Island Yankees, 10-5 in three hours and 45 minutes (plus a 15-minute rain delay). The lead changed hands five times before Auburn scored the last five runs in the 7th and 8th innings. Starter Pedro Encarnacion got the no-decision with three runs allowed on seven hits and three walks. Reliever Travis Henke earned the win with two and 1/3rd perfect innings, striking out three. Obligatory Anthony Rendon mention: Played third base and went 1-for-2 with a run scored but left game the half-inning afterbeing hit by a pitch near his left ankle (he was not taken out for a pinch-runner).

GCL Nationals 5 GCL Marlins 2
• Vasquez (W, 2-6) 5IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 3K
• Dicharry (H, 1) 3IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Piwinica-Worms 3-5, R, 2B, RBI
• Lippincott 2-5, 2-2B, 2RBI
• Jennings 2-4, R, BB, 2SB

The G-Nats posted a picket fence in the first three innings and snapped a two-game slide with a 5-2 win. Daury Vasquez got the start and the win with both Marlins runs allowed on four hits and three walks and three strikeouts. The G-Nats collected 11 hits total with Will Piwinica-Worms leading the hit column with a 3-for-5 game. Hayden Jennings, who shares a birthday with some kid named Bryce Harper, led off and went 2-for-4 with a walk, a run scored, and two stolen bases.

DSL Nationals 8 DSL Pirates2 3
• Valdez 4IP, 3H, 2R, 0ER, 3BB, 2K
• Chavez (W, 2-0) 3IP, 4H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Bautista 3-5, R, RBI, SB
• Aguero 2-3, BB, RBI
• Marmolejos-Diaz 2-5, R, RBI

The D-Nats twice put up three-spots in the scorebook en route to an 8-3 win over the DSL Pirates2. Philips Valdez started and went the first four innings, giving up two unearned runs on three hits and three walks while setting down two on strikes. Jose Chavez got the win in relief with three scoreless innings, with four hits allowed and three strikeouts. Rafael Bautista paced the 12-hit attack with a 3-for-5 effort, scoring a run, driving in a run and stealing base #34.

Aug 012012
 

It took six innings for the P-Nats bats to show signs of life, but it was too little, too late as the Salem Red Sox withstood four runs late to win this one, 5-4.

Of course, credit for the offensive coma should go to Salem’s Keith Couch, who tossed six scoreless innings and allowed just three hits, no walks, and struck out seven to even his record at 8-8. In his previous start, he’d scattered ten hits over nine innings for a one-run complete game.

Conversely, Matt Grace was charged with the loss and ended a modest two-game win streak. The 23-year-old southpaw was charged with five runs on seven hits and two walks over five innings.

The bulk of the damage came in two big innings, as Grace’s propensity to give up long, loud hits returned — a home run and a double in the three-run 3rd, a double sandwiched between two sharp singles in the two-run 4th.

Potomac awoke in the 7th as the team’s two Steves (Souza and King) combined to break up the shutout bid. Souza had pulled up lame in Sunday’s contest, but the strain was not evident when the big fella (6’3″, 220) launched a shot to the warning track in center and cruised into third with an easy triple. Two batters later, King bounced one back up the middle to push Souza across the plate for a 5-1 tally.

The P-Nats added two more in the 8th when Michael Taylor singled to center and came around to score on an RBI double by Ricky Hague. Reliever Pete Ruiz gift-wrapped the second run by botching a tapper back to the mound that was incorrectly ruled a hit, then threw past the first baseman for an error that sent in Hague and took away an RBI chance for Souza, who singled for his third hit of the night (he had doubled in the 5th).

Following Grace from the ‘pen, and helping to make this drama possible, was a solid relief outing by Matt Swynenberg: Four scoreless innings, one hit, two walks, and one hit batsmen. It wasn’t pretty — just one 1-2-3 inning — but it got the job done.

Potomac rallied for the third straight time in the final frame, as Kevin Keyes lined a single to left and J.P. Ramirez hit a flyball that was ruled a single despite the shortstop standing flatfooted and missing the catch. Taylor struck out and Sanchez bounced one to second that erased pinch-runner Francisco Soriano. Hague drove in Keyes with another hit, an RBI single to left that cut the lead to one.

It was everything that a fan could hope for: a comeback from five runs down, two men on, two man out, and the cleanup hitter at the plate. Well, except for the strikeout by David Freitas that ended it .

With the loss, Potomac falls to 19-19 in the second half, but remains tied with Lynchburg for first place and a ½ game ahead of second-place Wilmington and 1½ games ahead of third-place Frederick in the Carolina League’s Northern Division

Aug 012012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 8-6 OFF DAY N/A
Harrisburg Lost, 3-2 @ Binghamton,
6:35 p.m.
Demny (6-6, 5.40) vs.
Germen (6-7, 4.60)
Potomac Lost, 5-4 vs. Salem,
7:05 p.m.
Meyer (1-0, 0.00) vs.
Workman (7-6, 3.28)
Hagerstown Lost, 4-2 @ West Virginia,
7:05 p.m.
Rauh (0-1, 6.23) vs.
Jefferson (4-6, 4.81)
Auburn OFF DAY @ Staten Island,
7:00 p.m.
Encarnacion (3-1, 4.26) vs.
Rutckyj (3-4, 3.95)
GCL Nationals Lost, 12-4 @ GCL Marlins,
12:00 p.m.
Vasquez (1-6, 3.90) vs.
Beltre (0-5, 3.52)
DSL Nationals Won, 6-3 @ DSL Pirates2,
10:30 a.m.
Valdez (2-1, 7.02) vs.
Sanchez (3-3, 3.03)

Lehigh Valley 8 Syracuse 6
• Bibens-Dirkx (L, 0-3) 1⅓ IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, K
• Atkins 2⅔ IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 3K, 3-0 IR-S
• Valdez 3-4, R, 2B, HR, BB, 4RBI
• Perez 2-3, 2R, BB, 3SB
• Hoffpauir 2-4, 2RBI

A four-run 2nd knocked out starter Austin Bibens-Dirkx and three-run 5th opened up a 4-3 ballgame as Lehigh Valley beat Syracuse 8-6 in a midday slugfest. The IronPigs belted out 16 hits off six pitchers, with Bibens-Dirkx taking the loss. Jesus Valdez smacked a three-run home run to pull the Chiefs within one at 7-6 in the last of the 5th and led the offense with a 3-for-4 game and 4RBI total. Eury Perez continues to hit, going 2-for-3 with a walk and three stolen bases. Roster moves: OF Chad Tracy recalled to Washington, OF Corey Brown optioned back from Washington.

Binghamton 3 Harrisburg 2
• Rosenbaum (L, 7-8) 6IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 3BB, 4K
• Broderick 2IP, 2H, 0R, BB, K
• Walters 2-4, R, 2B
• Pahuta 2-4, R, HR, RBI

Make that five straight losses for the Senators as Harrisburg whiffed 17 times in a 3-2 decision against Binghamton. Danny Rosenbaum lost for the seventh time over the past two months, giving up all three runs (two earned) on six hits and three walks while striking out four. Zach Walters and Tim Pahuta both went 2-for-4 with a run scored and two strikeouts, as the Senators got just five runners into scoring position and left six baserunners on base. Roster moves: OF Chris Rahl placed on the 7-Day DL, OF Jonathan Tucker signed from the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League and assigned to Harrisburg.

Salem 5 Potomac 4
• Grace (L, 6-10) 5IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, 2BB, 3K, HR
• Swynenberg 4IP, H, 0R, 2BB, 3K, HBP
• Hague 3-5, R, 2B, 2RBI
• Souza 3-4, R, 2B, 3B

It was too little, too late Last Night In Woodbridge.

West Virginia 4 Hagerstown 2
• Jordan (L, 0-1) 5IP, 4H, 4R, 0ER, BB, 2K
• Mirowski 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Miller 2-4, R
• Higley 1-4, R, HR, 2RBI
• Alvarez 2-3

Four errors led to four unearned runs as Hagerstown fell into second place with a 4-2 loss to first-place West Viringia, 4-2. Taylor Jordan took the loss with all four runs allowed on four hits and a walk while striking out two. The Suns outhit the Power 9-6 with three players (Carlos Alvarez, Justin Miller, and Cole Leonida) combining for six singles but the only scoring came off the bat of J.R. Higley, a two-run HR in the 7th.

AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS — OFF DAY
It’s a six-game swing through New York City with three against the Staten Island Yankees and three against the Brooklyn Cyclones, the second (and final) road trip outside of Western Pennsylvania and New York for Auburn. MASN’s Byron Kerr is reporting that 3B Anthony Rendon will remain with the team and will continue to play 3B for roughly six innings, act as DH the next game, then rest the game after that for the immediate (and naturally, unspecified) future.

GCL Cardinals 12 GCL Nationals 4
• Selsor (L, 0-2) 4⅓ IP, 7H, 6R, 6ER, 0BB, 3K, HR
• Santana 2IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Albaladejo 2-4, BB, 2RBI
• Difo 2-4, R, 2B, RBI
• Jennings 2-4, 2R, 2SB

A six-run 5th followed by a five-run 6th erased an early 2-1 lead as the G-Cards pummeled the G-Nats, 12-4. Starter Casey Selsor took the loss with six runs charged on seven hits over four and a 1/3rd innings to push his ERA to 6.12 and WHIP to 1.72, with relievers Mike Mudron and Gilberto Mendez getting roughed up for four runs and two runs respectively. Nineteen-year-old Hayden Jennings was one of three G-Nats to collect multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two stolen bases.

DSL Nationals 6 DSL “Redbacks” 3
• Silvestre (W, 4-3) 6IP, 5H, 3R, 1ER, BB, 9K
• Sanchez (H, 1) 2IP, 1H, 0R, 4BB, 3K
• Novas 2-4, 2R
• Cerda 2-3, 2R, 2B, 2BB, SB

A four-run broke open a 2-0 game as the D-Nats cruised to a 6-3 win over the Arizona/Cincinnati co-op. Hector Silvestre won his 4th game with six innings pitched, all three “Redbacks” runs allowed on five hits and a walk while striking out nine. Kevin Cerda went 2-for-3 with a double and a stolen pace to lead the 10-hit attack. Roster move: 20-y.o. Venezuelan RHP David Ramos assigned from Washington.

Jul 312012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 3-2 vs. Lehigh Valley,
12:00 p.m.
Bibens-Dirkx (0-2, 4.93) vs.
Chocran (5-4, 4.28)
Harrisburg OFF DAY @ Binghamton,
6:35 p.m.
Rosenbaum (7-7, 3.67) vs.
Wheeler (9-6, 3.29)
Potomac OFF DAY vs. Salem,
7:05 p.m.
Grace (6-9, 5.51) vs.
Couch (7-8, 3.89)
Hagerstown Lost, 14-2 @ West Virginia,
7:05 p.m.
Jordan (0-0,5.63) vs.
Rowland (5-3, 3.46)
Auburn Won, 9-5 OFF DAY N/A
GCL Nationals Lost, 4-1 vs. GCL Cardinals,
12:00 p.m.
Selsor (0-1, 4.79) vs.
Villegas (3-2, 7.39)
DSL Nationals Won, 5-3 @ Ariz./Cincy,
10:30 a.m.
Silvestre (3-3, 4.08) vs.
Ramirez (2-3, 1.06)

Syracuse 3 Lehigh Valley 2
• Duke 6IP, 6H, 2R, 0ER, 2BB, K
• MacDougal (W, 1-0) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Johnson 2-4
• Perez 1-3, 2R, BB, SB
• Rivero 1-3, 2B, 2RBI

It was a pitcher’s duel in upstate New York as Syracuse edged Lehigh Valley, 3-2. Starter Zach Duke gave up two unearned runs over the first six innings, scattering six hits and walking two with one strikeout. Recently acquired FA reliever Mike MacDougal was the beneficiary of a 1-2-3 seventh as rehabs Jayson Werth (walk) and Chad Tracy (single) set up Carlos Rivero for a routine groundout that sent in Werth for the game-winning run. Eury Perez singled to lead off the game and hit safely in the 11th straight game since his promotion. Byron Kerr has confirmed what many suspected: RHP Josh Wilkie has been released following the completion of his 50-game suspension.

HARRISBURG SENATORS — OFF DAY
It’s a brief, three-game trip to Binghamton for Harrisburg, as the Senators look to stop a four-game losing streak. It’s also the beginning of two-week stretch where they will go back-and-forth between New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia as they play both the Mets and the Richmond Flying Squirrels home and away.

POTOMAC NATIONALS — OFF DAY
Likewise, it’s a short homestand for Potomac this week before six games in seven days against the Southern Division’s top two teams in Winston-Salem and Myrtle Beach.

West Virginia 14 Hagerstown 2
• Hansen 5IP, 8H, 8R, 4ER, 2BB, 2K
• Newsome 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 0K, 2-1 IR-S
• Miller 2-4, R, HR, RBI, SB
• Ramsey 2-5, SB

The Suns probably wished this one had been rained out after all. After an 88-minute rain delay, West Virginia put up eight runs in the first two innings en route to a 14-2 beatdown of Hagerstown. Bobby Hansen Jr. suffered the loss, giving up eight runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks with two strikeouts over five innings. Both Suns relievers that followed were charged for a six runs combined over two-plus innings with Brett Newsome mopping up in the 8th, retiring three of four batters faced. The Suns were held to just seven hits with Justin Miller leading the charge by going 2-for-4 with a solo home run. Roster moves: OF Billy Burns placed on the 7-Day DL, 1B/DH Newsome activated from the 7-Day DL.

Auburn 9 Tri-City 5
• Mooneyham (W, 1-0) 6IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Benincasa 2IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 2K
• McQuillan 2-5, R, 2B, HR, 3RBI
• Norfork 3-4, 2R, 2B, RBI
• Renda 3-4, R, 2RBI

Auburn took the rubber game between the two division leaders with a 9-5 win, holding off a late charge from Tri-City. The ValleyCats roughed up Bryan Harper and Michael Boyden for five runs in 9th with Derek Self coming in to retire one batter for the second straight outing and be credited with his seventh save. The Doubledays pounded out 15 hits with eight of nine batters hitting safely. Mike McQuillan doubled and homered and drove in three to lead the offense, improving to .327/.424/.477 in 35 games between the GCL and the NYPL. Roster moves: IF Stephen Brooks reassigned to the GCL, OF Narciso Mesa promoted from the GCL.

GCL Cardinals 4 GCL Nationals 1
• Hudgins (L, 2-3) 6IP, 5H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, 4K, HR
• Peters 1IP, 1H, 0R, ER, BB, 0K
• Chubb 2-4, 2B
• Eusebio 1-3, 2E

Eight of the nine G-Nats batters hit safely, but consecutive hits came just twice as the G-Nats lost 4-1 to the G-Cards. The G-Nats hit into two double plays and went just 1-for-7 with RISP, stranding seven baserunners. Will Hudgins took the loss, giving up all four runs on five hits, including a two-run shot in the 3rd. Wilson Eusebio and John Peters both tossed a scoreless inning of relief. Austin Chubb led the hit column with a single and a double in four ABs.

DSL Nationals 5 DSL “Redbacks” 3
• De La Cruz 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Gomez (W, 6-3) 4⅔ IP, 4H, 3R, 2ER, 3BB, 5K
• K. Rodriguez (SV, 7) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Read 2-4, R, 2B
• Bautista 2-4, R, BB, 2SB (30, 31), OF assist at 2B
• Abreu 2-3, BB, RBI, 2SB (17, 18)

The D-Nats got back over .500 by defeating the Cincy/Arizona co-op “Redbacks,” 5-3. Elisaul Gomez got the win (#6) in relief, giving up all three runs (two earned) on four hits and three walks over four and 2/3rds innings. Kelvin Rodriguez earned the save (#7) with a scoreless ninth. Like the G-Nats, eight of the nine batters hit safely, with CF Rafael Bautista and SS Osvaldo Abreu both reaching base twice and stealing two bases. The 19-y.o. Bautista is now hitting .314/.407/.371 and has stolen 31 bases in 49 games while the 18-y.o. Abreu has posted a line of .284/.385/.368 with 18 steals in 41 games.

Jul 302012
 

Tanner RoarkOn the strength of his complete game win yesterday, Tanner Roark was named the International League’s Pitcher of the Week for the period of July 23 to 29.

Roark twice went seven innings during the week, winning both starts giving up just a run in each outing. He allowed nine hits and two walks while striking out 13 batters combined.

The 25-year-old was acquired at the 2010 trade deadline along with Harrisburg Senator RHP Ryan Tatusko from the Texas Rangers for Christian Guzman, which has led to the nickname of “The Guz Two,” by regular readers here.

Roark currently leads the Syracuse Chiefs in strikeouts, walks, and losses but is also third in innings pitched, and has exceeded 100IP for four straight seasons.

Jul 302012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 6-3;
Won, 6-1
vs. Lehigh Valley,
7:00 p.m.
Duke (11-5, 3.96) vs.
Pettibone (AAA debut)
Harrisburg Lost, 3-2 OFF DAY N/A
Potomac Won, 8-3 OFF DAY N/A
Hagerstown Won, 6-0 @ West Virginia,
7:05 p.m.
Hansen (2-2, 4.32) vs.
Dodson (5-6, 5.07)
Auburn Lost, 9-4 vs. Tri-City,
7:05 p.m.
Mooneyham (0-0, 1.98) vs.
Rodgers (0-0, 0.00)
GCL Nationals OFF DAY @ GCL Cardinals,
12:00 p.m.
Hudgins (2-2, 2.08) vs.
Foody (0-1, 6.23)
DSL Nationals OFF DAY vs. Ariz./Cincy,
10:30 a.m.
Gomez (5-3, 3.30) vs.
Castillo (0-4, 4.08)

Lehigh Valley 6 Syracuse 3 — GAME ONE
• Lannan (L, 6-10) 3⅓ IP, 13H, 6R, 6ER, 2BB, K, 0HR
• Pena 3IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Valdez 2-3, R
• Negrych 2-3
• Rivero 1-3, R, HR, 3RBI

The Iron Pigs had in-game BP against John Lannan, collecting 13 hits in three and a 1/3rd innings en route to a 6-3 win over the Chiefs. Lannan walked two and struck out one, raising his ERA to 5.24, his WHIP to 1.64 and his OBA to .313. Carlos Rivero’s three-run home run in the 4th broke up the shutout as the Chiefs manage just six hits and got just two (2) runners into scoring position for the game.

Syracuse 6 Lehigh Valley 1 — GAME TWO
• Roark (W, 6-12) 7IP, 5H, R, ER, 0BB, 4K
• Rivero 3-4, 2R, 2B, HR, 2RBI
• Werth 2-2, 2R
• Hoffpauir 2-2, R, BB

Tanner Roark went the distance in Game Two as the Chiefs scored six unanswered run in a 6-1 win that split the doubleheader. Roark gave up one run over seven innings for the second straight start to get the “W.” Carlos Rivero homered again and went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI and is now hitting .303/.335/.428 for the season. Eury Perez singled to hit safely for the 10th time in 10 games for Syracuse, and is now hitting .400 (16-for-40). Roster move: C Koyie Hill activated from the DL.

Trenton 3 Harrisburg 2
• Perry (ND) 6IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 4K
• Barthmaier (BS, 1; L, 0-1) ⅔IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 0K, 1-1 IR-S
• Pahuta 1-4, 2B
• Lozada 1-4, 2B

With three runs in the last of the 8th, the Thunder, um, shocked the Senators for a 3-2 come-from-behind win that handed Harrisburg its fourth straight loss, and 16th out the last 20. Jimmy Barthmaier suffered the loss, letting in an inherited runner and two of his own in the fateful frame. Ryan Perry got the no-decision despite six scoreless innings with just two hits and two walks allowed. Harrisburg got just six hits, but none in the clutch for the third straight game, an 0-for-17 stretch.

Potomac 8 Frederick 3
• Ray (W, 4-7) 6⅓ IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 6K, HR
• Barrett 1⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Martinson 3-4, 3R, HR(10), 2RBI
• Souza 2-4, R
• Ramirez 2-4, 2RBI

Three HRs and 6⅓ strong innings from Robbie Ray highlighted a Sunday Evening In Frederick

Hagerstown 6 Lexington 0
• Schwartz (W, 1-0) 6IP, 3H, 0R, 2BB, 6K
• Bates (SV, 2) 3IP, H, 0R, BB, K
• Dykstra 2-4, R, 2B, BB, SB
• Ramsey 2-5, 2B, 2RBI
• Nieto 2-5, R, HR, RBI

The force was with Blake Schwartz and Colin Bates as the two Hagerstown pitchers combined to shut out Lexington, 6-0. Schwartz gave up just three hits and two walks while striking out six over the first six innings to get the win, while Bates allowed just a hit and a walk over the final three innings to earn the save. Cutter Dykstra, Caleb Ramsey, and Adrian Nieto combined for six of the eight Suns hits, with Nieto connecting for his 5th HR, Dykstra swiping his 29th base, and Ramsey driving in two to push his RBI tally to 52.

Tri-City 9 Auburn 4
• Medina (L, 0-1) 1⅔ IP, 4H, 5R, 2ER, 0BB, K, 2HR
• McGeary 1⅔ IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 0K, 2WP, 2HBP, 1-0 IR-S
• Wall 2IP, 2H, 0R, BB, K
• Lopez 3-4, BB, 2RBI
• Martinez 2-4 (12G hitting streak)
• Rendon 1-3, RBI, K, E

Tri-City scored early and often to take another from Auburn, 9-4. Silvio Medina gave up a pair of solo shots in the first and three unearned runs in the second and took the loss. The ValleyCats roughed up the first two Doubledays relievers (Jack McGeary and Cody Davis) before Elliot Waterman and Andrew Wall shut them down after the 5th with four scoreless innings. Carlos Lopez paced the offense with a 3-for-4 night, drawing a walk and driving in two. Anthony Rendon went 1-for-3 with an RBI, but also struck out and committed an error at 3B. Roster move: Stephen Perez placed on the 7-Day DL.

GCL NATIONALS — OFF DAY
This week, it’s the Cardinals, then the Marlins, then the Astros with home games on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

DSL NATIONALS — OFF DAY
This week’s opponents are the Arizona/Cincinnati co-op, the Pirates2 squad, and the Phillies, with home games on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Jul 292012
 

Don’t look now, but the P-Nats just had a winning road trip.

With home runs from Kevin Keyes, Ricky Hague, and Jason Martinson, Potomac pounded Frederick for an 8-3 victory that completed a 2-1 series win and 4-3 road trip against the Keys and the Hillcats — the first winning road trip that lasted more than two games or two cities.

Robbie Ray pitched into the 7th for the first time since June 3rd, a string of eight starts in which the 20-year-old southpaw went 0-5 with a 5.43 ERA. Ray was working with his entire repetoire and showed early often, baffling the Keys by pitching “backwards” — hard stuff on the outside, breaking pitches on the inside. He walked one and struck out six.

He did, however, give up six hits and while two of the hits were of the infield variety (dribbler down the third base line, bunt to the left of the mound – both by Keys SS Garabez Rosa), he also gave up a long double to Tyler Townsend and a two-run homer that the vertically challenged J.P. Ramirez was unable to gather in at the left-field wall.

Potomac got on the board first with a four consecutive hits in the second as Steve Souza singled to right, took second on a wild pitch, took third on a Martinson (3-for-4, 3R, 3RBI) single and scored on a Stephen King double that bounded off third base and down the left field line. Ramirez followed with a grounder up the middle the Rosa was able to stop but not make the play to send in Martinson. King came in on a 1-6-3 DP that ended the rally but gave the P-Nats a 3-0 lead.

Ramirez would collect his second RBI single in the 4th to extend the lead to 4-1. Keyes homered to dead center in the 6th, his team-leading 15th HR and 55th RBI.

After the Keys cut the lead to 6-3 with the aforementioned rally in the bottom of the 6th, the P-Nats put the game away with three runs in the 8th, as Ricky Hague cleared the LF wall with his 6th HR and Martinson connected for his 10th for Potomac and 20th overall for the season, driving in pinch-runner Michael Taylor, who came in to run for Steve Souza who pulled up lame after an infield single.

Potomac resumes play on Tuesday with a brief three-game homestand against the Salem Red Sox. They are tied for first place in the Carolina League’s Northern Division with Lynchburg and lead Wilmington by a half game and Frederick by 2½ games. Potomac has no more games left against the Hillcats, but six left against the Blue Rocks, including the season’s final series in Delaware, and three left against Keys, which closes out the final regular-season homestand in Woodrbridge on August 24-26.

Jul 292012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 6-4 vs. Lehigh Valley,
3:00 p.m.
Lannan (6-9, 4.89) and
Roark (5-12, 5.19) vs.
Rosenberg (3-2, 1.68) and
TBD
Harrisburg Lost, 4-3;
Lost, 5-1
@ Trenton,
5:05 p.m.
Perry (1-2, 2.14) vs.
Hall (8-6, 3.42)
Potomac Won, 3-1 @ Frederick,
4:00 p.m.
Ray (3-7, 5.26) vs.
Wilson (5-4, 3.58)
Hagerstown Lost, 8-1;
Lost, 2-0
@ Lexington,
1:35 p.m.
Schwartz (0-0, 5.06) vs.
Dufek (5-2, 5.26)
Auburn Lost, 5-1 vs. Tri-City,
6:05 p.m.
Medina (0-0, 4.34) vs.
Bircher (0-0, 0.00)
GCL Nationals Won, 6-3 OFF DAY N/A
DSL Nationals Lost, 9-3 OFF DAY N/A

Syracuse 6 Lehigh Valley 4
• Mandel (W, 2-3) 7IP, 5H, R, ER, 2BB, 5K
• Severino 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Tracy 3-4, R, RBI
• Werth 2-4, R, 2B, 3RBI
• Maldonado 2-4, R, RBI

Rehabbers Jayson Werth and Chad Tracy combined for five hits and four RBI to power Syracuse past Lehigh Valley, 6-4. Starter Jeff Mandel held the Iron Pigs to just one run over seven innings, giving up five hits and walking two while striking out five. As a starter, the 27-year-old is 2-1 with 2.10ERA for the Chiefs. An error and two singles chased Pat Lehman after three batters. Christian Garcia got the three outs required for the save, his sixth, but let in both inherited runners.

Trenton 4 Harrisburg 3 — GAME ONE
• Wang (L, 1-2) 6IP, 9H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, 2K, 2HR
• Pahuta 2-3, R, HR, 2RBI
• Hood 1-3, 2B

With the wind blowing in, Trenton still managed to hit two out against Chien-Ming Wang in a 4-3 win over Harrisburg. Wang gave up nine hits total over six innings, walking none and striking out two as the sole Senator pitcher. Tim Pahuta gave his hometown fans something to cheer about as the Jersey native hit s a two-run shot in the second and went 2-for-3 overall.

Trenton 5 Harrisburg 1 — GAME TWO (6 inn.)
• Tatusko (L, 2-4) 4IP, 8H, 5R, 5ER, 0BB, 2K, 0HR
• Broderick 1⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Van Ostrand 2-3, 2B
• Walters 1-3, RBI

Rain shortened this one to six innings but the Thunder had already built a 5-1 lead and swept the doubleheader. Ryan Tatusko suffered the loss with all five runs allowed on eight hits and no walks over four innings. Recently FA signing (and former Rule 5 pick) Brian Broderick pitched the next inning and 2/3rds before the game was called. The Senators hit into three double plays and left on four baserunners. Jimmy Van Ostrand led the six-hit attack with a 2-for-3 effort.

Potomac 3 Frederick 1
• Gilliam 5⅓ IP, 5H, R, ER, 2BB, 5K
• Demmin (W, 1-1) 2⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Wort (SV, 6) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Freitas 2-3, R, 2B, BB, RBI
• Kelso 2-4, SB, CS
• Souza 1-4, R, HR, RBI, 3K

Steve Souza Jr. struck out three times before finally making contact, a two-run blast to dead center to break a 1-1 tie in the 9th and push the P-Nats past the Keys, 3-1. Rob Gilliam got the start and gave up a first-inning run but pitched into the sixth allowed just five hits total, walking two and fanning five. Ryan Demmin got the win in relief while Rob Wort got the save with his fourth straight scoreless outing.

Lexington 8 Hagerstown 1 — GAME ONE (Comp.)
• Rauh 3IP, 3H, 4R, 3ER, BB, 3K, HR (Friday night)
• Hollins 2IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, BB, K
• Kreis 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Nieto 3-4, R
• Dykstra 1-3

The Legends picked up where they left off on Friday night and cruised from a 4-0 lead to an 8-1 win. Leonard Hollins and Chris McKenzie both gave up two runs over two innings before Alex Kreis stopped the bleeding with a scoreless 8th. Adrian Nieto went 3-for-4 to lead the hit column, but the Suns were limited to just six safeties total.

Lexington 2 Hagerstown 0 — GAME TWO
• Hill (L, 9-6) 5IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 3K
• Hawkins 1IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Skole 1-2
• Dykstra 1-3, 2B

Taylor Hill retired the first 10 batters in order before issuing a one-out walk to lose the perfecto, then gave up a two-out triple to lose both the no-no and the shutout, then another single for the game’s final score of 2-0. Hill pitched five innings total, giving up four hits and two walks and striking out three but took the loss. Matt Skole’s single and Cutter Dykstra’s double were the only two base hits for Hagerstown, which has lost three in a row. Roster moves: Cs Jeremy Mayo and Cole Leonida swapped places on the 7-Day DL.

Tri-City 5 Auburn 1
• Monar (L, 2-3) 6IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 4K
• Henke 3IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 3K, HR
• Lopez 2-4, 2B, RBI
• Schill 2-4, 2B

Game one of the three-game series between the NYPL’s top two teams went to Tri-City as the ValleyCats scratched the Doubledays for a 5-1 win. Blake Monar took the loss despite allowing just two runs on five hits and a walk over six innings. Auburn collected eight hits but left on eight runners, going 0-for-6 with RISP. Carlos Lopez and Wes Schill both went 2-for-4 with a double, with Lopez driving in the sole Doubleday run. Estarlin Martinez extended his hit streak to 11 games with a first-inning single.

GCL Nationals 6 GCL Astros 3
• Anderson 3IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Barrientos (W, 2-0) 5IP, 5H, R, ER, BB, 7K
• Chubb 2-4, 2R, 2B, HR, 3RBI
• Bailey 2-4, R, 2-2B
• Piwnica-Worms 2-4, R

The G-Nats rallied for two in the 7th and 8th innings to break open a 2-1 game and held off the Astros for a 6-3 win. Austin Chubb went 2-for-4 with a double and homer and drove in three to lead the offense. Dixon Anderson stretched out to three innings, allowing just two hits, no walks and striking out two. Joel Barrientos got the win with with a run on five hits and a walk over five innings, setting down seven on strikes.

DSL Giants 9 DSL Nationals 3
• Valerio (ND) 5IP, 3H, 0R, BB, K
• Acevedo (BS, 1; L, 0-2) 2IP, 5H, 7R, 6ER, 2BB, 0K, HR
• Marmolejos-Diaz 2-4, 3B, RBI
• Read 2-5, R, RBI, SB
• Aguero 2-4

The D-Nats ‘pen gave up nine unanswered runs to turn a 3-0 lead after five into a 9-3 loss. Starter Maximo Valerio did his part with five innings of no-run, three-hit ball, issuing a walk and striking out one. Migeul Acevedo was torched for seven runs on five hits and two walks to take the loss. “Orange” Marmolejos-Diaz singled and tripled while driving in a run, while Raudy Read and Younaifred Aguero both singled twice to combine for six of the nine D-Nats hits. Roster move: RHP Mario Sanchez, a 17-year-old from Venezuela, assigned from Washington.