May 182013
 

[Ed. Note:] These are the thoughts of my friend Shawn, a.k.a. one of my “spies in Hagerstown,” on the Suns position players. And again, don’t forget to visit his blog Musings about Sports and other important items

This team winning stuns me. The old phrase “More than the sum of its parts” is pretty dead on.

CATCHERS
Behind the plate, Pedro Severino has been impressive with his arm… as in a big-time, MLB-level arm. Offensively, he’s made contact, but lacks pop. Considering he doesn’t turn 20 until July, I’m intrigued. I’ve only seen Craig Manuel play once,so I’ll reserve judgement

INFIELDERS
Shawn Pleffner got off to a hot start, but slumped thereafter. The 6’5″ Pleffner makes me think of former organizational soldier Tim Pahuta, especially when you consider Pleffner turns 24 before the season ends.

Mike McQuillan plays both first and third and runs well, but doesn’t make a ton of contact and the Rory McElroy lookalike has not fielded smoothly in his starts at third, where he has played more often.

Tony Renda came to town with the most publicity. Renda makes me think of a ceiling/floor scenario. His ceiling? Think Steve Lombardozzi as they have similar skills. The floor? Sean Nicol. A great guy to have around, but struggling with the bat. Renda runs well, but has made eight errors and will kick the routine play.

Stephen Perez has made the plays at shortstop, but I think the bat has to pick up. I am not sure that will happen. Perez looks to be an org. soldier to me.

Khayyan Norfork puts the ball in play and can play around the infield, but he is 24 already and still here in Low-A. He’s the type of player that plays hard and is nice to have around, but is not a real prospect. I would not be surprised if Norfolk winds up to be much like Nicol and stick around on character and versatility for a nice minor-league career.

Wes Schill knows how to take a walk (20) and has command of the strike zone, but lacks power and doesn’t make a ton of contact.

Hunter Bailey never seems to play when I get to the games, but one extra-base hit in 42 at-bats with an average under .200 makes one wonder. Both Bailey and Schill are old for the level and I would scratch them from the list.

OUTFIELDERS
Brandon Miller leads the team in homers, but has struck out almost fifty times by mid-May = red flag alert right there. Miller has been an all-or-nothing player thus far and already (recurring theme) is 23.

Wander Ramos shows impressive tools and hit one of the longer homers that I’ve seen in a while, but swings and misses a lot and is… wait for it… 23. Something about those tools gives me a reason to give Ramos more time.

Estarlin Martinez hit just .191 before being injured, but was just starting to rev up with the bat before the injury. I’m interested in watching him when he returns.

J.R.Higley is still around and doesn’t do anything better than he did before. For a player that turns 25 in a month, I am befuddled on why he is still around these parts.

Haven’t seen Will Pinwica-Worms or Carlos Lopez play enough to form an opinion.

PITCHERS

Brett Mooneyham was impressive until being injured after his third start. Mooneyham has the “college guy/should dominate” tag on him, but I liked what I saw.

Pedro Encarnacion has been the breakout prospect over the first few weeks. Keeps the ball down, lets his fielders do the work.

Dixon Anderson has great numbers and is striking out almost a batter an inning and looks like a different pitcher than the fellow that arrived at the end of last season. Downside… he turns 24 before the season ends. Like Blake Schwartz, if the Nationals want to look at him seriously, he will need to see Potomac soon.

Ivan Pineyro has improved of late, but overall has been erratic in my view. Still needs more looks.

Ronald Pena has above-average stuff and below-average command.

David Fischer was promoted to Potomac and only two bad games make Fischer’s numbers look worse than he has pitched. The UConn Huskie had an almost 4 to 1 K to BB ratio.

Kylin Turnbull had an awful stat line in his last home start, due to a gusting wind blowing out to right, but his other starts have not been much more impressive. Almost 24, almost ready to give up on as a prospect if things do not turn around.

Will Hudgins has looked strong when I have seen him and his 12 K’s in 12 innings makes me consider him a player to watch.

I didn’t think Brian Dupra looked much different than last season, but someone must have as he was promoted to High A. The organization must think more of him than I do.

Brian Rauh has been hammered, but he still strikes people out (21 in 23 IP). Rauh has been really bad when he has been bad, so keep that in mind.

Bryan Harper, Travis Henke and Robert Benincasa are pitchers that I have seen very little of — Harper and Benincasa, just once and Henke not at all.

Henke turns 25 in July, so I’d rule him out. Benincasa is being used as the closer and the Nats’ track record is that they move guys quicker who close. Harper has the advantage of being a lefty and another obvious advantage as well.

I know this sounds pessimistic for a first-place team leading their division by four games as of this writing, but this is not a team loaded with prospects. In the Sally League, a team filled with older players wins games over teams with more true prospects due to age and experience. It also appears the North Division is the weaker of the two as only Hagerstown and Hickory are over .500 with all but one team in the South is at .500 or better.

The Washington Nationals appear to be slow-tracking their high schoolers and sending their college players to Hagerstown. Is that because of the state of Municipal Stadium? Perhaps, but one thing is certain: If the Nationals continue to send these types of players to Hagerstown, the Suns will contend for Sally League titles, but they will not produce very many future Nationals.

May 182013
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 6-3 @ Toledo,
7:00 p.m.
Rosenbaum (3-2, 3.35) vs.
R. Garcia (1-3, 4.30)
Harrisburg Won, 7-4 @ Reading,
6:35 p.m.
Jordan (0-0, 0.00) vs.
Buchanan (1-4, 5.87)
Potomac Lost, 5-4 @ Winston-Salem,
7:05 p.m.
Ray (3-2, 2.36) vs.
Blough (2-4, 5.82)
Hagerstown Won, 9-7 @ Kannapolis,
7:05 p.m.
Encarnacion (3-2, 1.62) vs.
Cose (2-3, 1.77)

Columbus 6 Syracuse 3
• Perry (L, 1-4) 2⅓ IP, 2H, 6R, 4ER, 5BB, 3K, 0HR
• Mandel 4⅔ IP, 3H, 0R, 2BB, 4K, 2-2 IR-S
• Rahl 2-4, R
• Marrero 3-4, RBI
• Walters 0-4, 3E (10,11,12)

The Clippers piled on six runs early and, um, sailed to a 6-3 victory over the Chiefs for a three-game sweep. Ryan Perry walked five (a season high) in just two and a 1/3rd innings (a season low) to lose for the fourth time in eight starts. He was charged with all six runs on two hits. Jeff Mandel and Tanner Roark combined for six and 2/3rds innings of scoreless relief, but Syracuse rallied just once after the first — two runs in the 8th — as they outhit Columbus 9-6. Chris Marrero led the hit column with a 3-for-4 night, driving in the first Chiefs run. Roster moves: C Brian Jeroloman traded from Washington to Pittsburgh, assigned to Syracuse Chiefs; C Sam Palace shuffled back onto the 7-Day DL.

Harrisburg 7 Reading 4
• Karns (W, 4-2) 6IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 6K
• Krol (H, 3) 1⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Van Ostrand 2-4, R
• Hague 2-3, 2R
• Head 1-1, R, HR, 2RBI (PH)

A five-run 4th took the fight out of the Phils as the Senators took the series opener, 7-4. Nathan Karns rebounded from his worst outing of the year with a quality start, allowing three runs on seven hits, no walks, and striking out six. Brian Goodwin’s three-run double highlighted Harrisburg’s big inning while Jerad Head’s pinch-hit two-run home run in the 9th doubled the lead from two runs to four. Jimmy Van Ostrand and Ricky Hague both singled twice to pace the 11-hit attack.
Roster move: RHP Tyler Herron promoted from Potomac; RHP Pat Lehman shelved on the 7-Day DL.

Winston-Salem 5 Potomac 4
• Schwartz 6IP, 4H, 2R, 1ER, BB, 4K
• Self (BS, 3; L, 2-2) ⅓ IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 0K, HBP, 1-1 IR-S
• Ramsey 3-4, 2R, SB
• Sanchez 2-4, R, SB
• 2-for-17 with RISP, 9 LOB

Winston-Salem struck for three runs in the bottom of the 8th to turn a 4-2 deficit into a 5-4 lead and stranded Michael Taylor’s one-out double in the 9th for the win. Blake Schwartz allowed just two runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk while setting down four on strikes for his third quality start. Derek Self took the loss and was charged with his third blown save as put on the the first three batters he faced (double, single, HBP). Caleb Ramsey paced the offense with a 3-for-4 night.
Roster move: OF Billy Burns placed on the 7-Day DL.

Hagerstown 9 Kannapolis 7
• Pineyro (W, 3-2) 6⅔ IP, 8H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 2K
• Benincasa (SV, 8) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, K, 2-1 IR-S
• Renda 3-5, 2R, 2-2B
• B. Miller 3-5, 2R, HR, 3RBI

Hagerstown racked up nine runs in the first five innings lead and held off a late Kannapolis charge over the last four frames for a 9-7 win. Brandon Miller and Khayyan Norfork both went deep and drove in three runs while Tony Renda singled and doubled twice as the Suns filled the scorebook with 13 hits. Ivan Pineyro got the win with four runs given up over six and 2/3rds on eight hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Robert Benincasa came on with two on and no outs and let in one but got the three outs for his eighth save, tied for second-best in the Sally League.

May 172013
 

GBI for NPP 2Our weekly look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 15-25, 6th place I.L. North, 9½ games behind

Good Fernando Abad 1.26 ERA/1.94 FIP/1.05 WHIP, 86.7 LOB% in 16 app.
Bad Mike Costanzo 36K in 29G
Interesting Zach Walters 9HR, 9E, 41K in 38G

HARRISBURG SENATORS 18-22, T5th place E.L. West, 7 games behind

Good Anthony Rendon (duh) .348 (2nd) / .483 (1st) / .620 (1st) in E.L.
Bad 30E by Senator IFs in 40G
Interesting Paul Demny 2-1, 1.50 ERA, 1.111 WHIP in May (3 starts)

POTOMAC NATIONALS 22-18, T1st place C.L. North, .003 W% behind

Good Billy Burns .364/.455/.455 with runners on base (51PA)
Bad Brian Dupra 0-2, 8.25/3.87/1.58 in four appearances (two starts)
Interesting Justin Miller .400/.455/.667 in May with 2HR, 8RBI, 3SB

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 19-12, 1st place Sally North, ½ game ahead

Good Shawn Pleffner .298/.412/.452 with 2HR, 14RBI in 25G
Bad Kylin Turnbull 6HR in 4GS and 18IP
Interesting Ronald Pena starting on two days’ rest (5/15) after 2IP relief (5/12)
May 172013
 

The offensive onslaught carried over from Wednesday as the Potomac Nationals closed out their seven-game homestand Thursday at 5-2 with a 7-4 win over the Wilmington Blue Rocks.

The P-Nats wasted no time getting things going. Kevin Keyes, who went 6-for-21 with eight walks during the week, blasted a two-out, two-run home run into the woods past the left field fence to erase an early 1-0 deficit in the first.

Two innings later, also with two outs, the linebacker first baseman drilled a single up the middle to send in Michael Taylor (again) and increase the lead to 3-1. Taylor walked in the first and been hit by a pitch in the third for a burst of five straight PAs reaching base.

In the fourth, Potomac demonstrated its newfound penchant for stringing together base hits as Adrian Nieto, Caleb Ramsey, and Adrian Sanchez each singled to load the bases while Justin Miller doubled in two to extend the lead to 5-2. Like Keyes, Miller enjoyed the home cooking with a 10-for-24 stretch with two doubles, two homers, and eight RBI for the week.

Meanwhile, Taylor Hill turned in a quality start with two runs allowed over six innings to earn his team-leading fourth win. However, three of the seven hits went for extra bases and it was the fourth start in which he gave up more hits than innings pitched — a bugaboo from last season when he allowed 161 in 139⅓ innings between Hagerstown and Potomac.

Christian Meza followed Hill and was charged with two runs on a double and two walks, with Adrian Nieto’s passed ball problems continuing as the backslow was charged with nos. 10 and 11, making the second of the two run scored in the Wilmington 7th unearned. He followed with a two-strikeout eighth.

Richie Mirowski set ’em down 1-2-3 in the ninth for his second save of the season.

The win combined with a Lynchburg loss puts the P-Nats back into a tie for first place, percentage points behind thanks to two fewer contests played by the Hillcats (21-17, .553 vs. 22-18, .550) with Frederick just a half-game back at 21-18 in the Carolina League North.

Potomac takes to the road for nine games in 10 days with a trio of three-game series against Winston-Salem, Frederick and Lynchburg as they return to the Pfitz on Memorial Day for a seven-game homestand versus Salem and the Hillcats once again. Tonight, it’s RHP Blake Schwartz (3-1, 0.82) versus Ryan Buch (0-0, 4.91 at AA).

May 172013
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 4-2
(11 inn.)
vs. Columbus,
7:00 p.m.
Perry (1-3, 7.15) vs.
D. Salazar (0-0, 0.00)
Harrisburg OFF DAY @ Reading,
7:05 p.m.
Karns (3-2, 4.36) vs.
Smith (1-1, 4.50)
Potomac Won, 7-4 @ Winston-Salem,
7:05 p.m.
Schwartz (3-1, 0.82) vs.
Buch (0-0, 0.00)
Hagerstown Won, 10-7 @ Kannapolis,
7:05 p.m.
Pineyro (2-2, 3.64) vs.
Hansen (0-0, 6.75)

Columbus 4 Syracuse 2 (11 inn.)
• Maya 7IP, 5H, R, ER, 2BB, 5K
• Davis 2IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Rahl 2-5
• Marrero 1-5, R, HR, RBI

Syracuse was held to just six hits over 11 innings as good pitching went to waste in a 4-2 defeat by Columbus. Yunesky Maya pitched seven innings of one-run ball, allowing just five hits and two walks while setting down five on strikes. Fernando Abad and Erik Davis combined for three scoreless, but Mike Crotta couldn’t lay the fourth goose egg, giving up three in the top of the 11th. Chris Marrero homered to lead off the bottom of the 11th for the final Chiefs hit, with Chris Rahl the only Syracuse batter to notch multiple hits. C Jhonatan Solano recalled to Washington; C Sam Palace activated from 7-Day DL; OF Corey Brown activated from 7-Day DL; LHP J.C. Romero placed on 7-Day DL; IF Brian Bocock assigned from Harrisburg

Harrisburg Senators — OFF DAY
The Senators embark on a seven-game jaunt through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, beginning with a weekend set against the Reading Fightin Phils and followed by a four-game series against the Erie Seawolves. Roster moves: C Jeff Howell assigned from Syracuse; RHP Tyler Herron promoted from Potomac

Potomac 7 Wilmington 4
• Hill (W, 4-1) 6IP, 7H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 5K
• Mirowski (SV, 2) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Keyes 2-3, R, HR, 3RBI, BB, CS
• Ramsey 2-4, R, 2RBI
• Sanchez 2-4, E

The P-Nats closed out a 5-2 homestand with a 7-4 win Last Night In Woodbridge.

Hagerstown 10 Kannapolis 7
• Turnbull 4IP, 7H, 4R, 2ER, BB, 3K, HR, 2E as fielder
• Lee (W, 1-0) 2⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, 2K
• B. Miller 1-3, 2R, 2BB, HR, RBI
• S. Perez 2-4, 2R, 3B, 2RBI
• Pleffner 2-4, R, 2B, BB, RBI

After falling behind 4-1, Hagerstown put the Kannapolis ‘pen into the wall with a four-run 7th and a five-run 8th and held off a late charge for a 10-7 win. Kylin Turnbull gave up his sixth HR in four starts for the Suns and allowed seven hits total with four runs (two earned) a walk, and three K’s charged to him in the no-decision. Nick Lee got the win in his 2013 debut with two and 1/3rd scoreless innings pitched. Wes Schill was the beer man as the only Sun not to march in the 10-hit parade, which included Brandon Miller’s team-leading eighth home run.

May 162013
 

Moving On Up for NPPThe Hagerstown Suns have announced that RHP David Fischer has been promoted to the Potomac Nationals.

Fischer was 1-0 with three saves and a 3.65 ERA in nine relief appearances with eight walks and 28 strikeouts over 24⅓ innings for the Suns.

At Auburn last summer, he was 3-3 with a 4.96/4.30/1.43 pitching line in eight starts and four relief appearances after being drafted in the 18th round out of UConn.

A corresponding move for Potomac has not yet been announced.

UPDATE: To make room on the Potomac roster, RHP Tyler Herron has been promoted.

Herron was signed this past offseason as a reclamation project, having pitched 2012 with the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the independent American Association. A former first-rounder with St. Louis in 2005, off-the-field issues forced Herron out of affiliated ball by 2009. He spent 2010 with the Kalamazoo Kings of the Frontier League, but missed the 2011 season with an arm injury.

This season, at the age of 26, Herron was 1-1 with one save and a 1.77 ERA in ten relief appearances with 11 walks and 32 strikeouts over 20⅓ innings for Potomac.

With an off day today, a corresponding move for Harrisburg will most likely be announced on Friday.

May 162013
 

After scoring just three runs in the previous 20 innings, the Potomac Nationals tripled that output in one game in a wild 9-6 win over Wilmington.

The offensive resurgence featured 12 hits, including three doubles, a triple, and a Justin Miller home run that bounced halfway up the LF light tower that served as an double exclamation point (a two-run shot, natch) as the P-Nats scored the last seven runs without an answer from the Blue Rocks.

The highlight of the night was the 7th inning, in which Potomac rallied from four down to score five. It began with a whimper, not a bang, as Randolph Oduber took one off the left ankle and had to leave the game in favor of Wilmer Difo. Michael Taylor followed with a rocket to right-center that easily pushed Difo to third.

A wild pitch pushed across Difo and moved up Taylor, but a shallow flyout by Miller and a strikeout by Cutter Dykstra left it up to cleanup man Jason Martinson. The two-time Carolina League Player of the Week delivered Taylor with double to dead center, the second in as many nights, for the fourth Potomac run.

Kevin Keyes continued his walking ways with his seventh BB of the homestand while Caleb Ramsey delivered the fifth P-Nat run with a single to left. Adrian Sanchez capped off the rally with two-run triple to right-center, reminiscent of Taylor’s shot six batters earlier.

Unfortunately, the comeback was made necessary by another uneven outing by A.J. Cole. The 21-year-old was torched for six runs on six hits and two walks and just three strikeouts. The latter matters because it’s his go-to when the going gets rough, and the escape route wasn’t there last night.

That’s because Cole couldn’t get his breaking stuff over enough to keep hitters honest. Too much gets made about velocity nowadays and it cannot be repeated too often: Even in single-A, a batter can hit a 95 m.p.h. fastball when he knows it’s coming.

Hence, a pair of two-run home runs that accounted for four of the six runs Wilmington hung on his pitching line, one preceded by a double, the other by a walk. He would be lifted with no outs in the sixth.

Tyler Herron came to relieve Cole and promptly loaded the bases with a walk and two singles. He cleaned up his own mess with help from Dykstra on a tapper to third for a force at home, then two strikeouts.

Greg Holt would get the win for his two innings and also a little help from the 23-y.o. third baseman as he raced across the diamond to corral a slow roller and gun down the Blue Rocks leadoff man to end the 8th inning, helping Holt strand two runners in scoring position.

Derek Self tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save.

With the win, Potomac returns to second place, a game behind Lynchburg in the Carolina League North. Jayson Werth, who went 1-for-2 with a sharp single to center and threw out a runner at the plate as part of a 9-2 double play to end the 2nd, is expected to rehab for a second night.

The rubber match of the series will feature a matchup of “northpaws,” with Taylor Hill (3-1, 2.21) going for Potomac and Kyle Zimmer (0-2, 4.09) pitching for Wilmington.

May 162013
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 10-7 vs. Columbus,
7:00 p.m.
Maya (1-4, 5.70) vs.
C. Carrasco (1-0, 1.88)
Harrisburg Lost, 7-6 OFF DAY N/A
Potomac Won, 9-6 vs. Wimington,
7:05 p.m.
Hill (3-1, 2.21) vs.
Zimmer (0-2, 4.09)
Hagerstown Won, 6-0 @ Kannapolis,
7:05 p.m.
Turnbull (2-1, 7.07) vs.
Brennan (1-5, 8.42)

Columbus 10 Syracuse 7
• Young (L, 1-2) 4⅔ IP, 11H, 9R, 8ER, 4BB, 1K, 3HR
• Tatusko 4⅓ IP, 2H, R, ER, 3BB, 5K, 1-0 IR-S
• Rahl 5-5, 2R, 2-2B
• Rhymes 2-4, R, BB, RBI

Chris Young’s struggles continue as the 33-y.o. veteran was pounded for nine runs on 11 hits, including home runs nos. 6, 7, and 8 as Syracuse fell to Columbus, 10-7. He walked four and struck out just one over four and 2/3rds. Ryan Tatusko turned in a terrific long outing, stranding a runner in the 5th and giving up just one run over the final four innings, with three walks and five strikeouts. Chris Rahl had a career night, going 5-for-5 with two runs and two doubles to lead the 13-hit attack that saw eight of the nine batters in the starting lineup hit safely. Roster move: C Jhonatan Solano activated from 7-Day DL (just in time to take a plane to the West Coast?)

Richmond 7 Harrisburg 6
• Clay 4⅓ IP, 6H, 6R, 6ER, 3BB, 3K, HR
• Swynenberg 1⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Head 3-5, R
• Hague 2-3, R, BB
• Leon 2-4, 2R

The Senators rallied for four runs in the bottom of the 6th to tie it at 6-6 only to see the Flying Squirrels reclaim the lead in the 7th. Richmond held on for a 7-6 win and took the series 2-1. Caleb Clay was rocked for the third straight start, giving up six runs on six hits and three walks over just four and a 1/3rd innings. Jerad Head and Ricky Hague both reached base three times to pace the Harrisburg offense, which pounded out 12 hits total but went just 3-for-12 with RISP.

Potomac 9 Wilmington 6
• Cole 5+ IP, 6H, 6R, 6ER, 2BB, 3K, 2HR
• Holt (W, 1-0) 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Taylor 2-2, 2R, 2B, BB
• J. Miller 2-3, R, HR, 2RBI
• Martinson 2-4, R, 2B, BB, RBI

A five-run 7th propelled a 9-6 win Last Night In Woodbridge.

Hagerstown 6 Greensboro 0
• Pena 5IP, 5H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Fischer (W, 1-0) 3IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Benincasa 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Pleffner 2-4, R, HR, 2RBI, BB
• Perez 2-4, 2R, 2-2B, 2RBI

Pitching on just two days’ rest, Ronald Pena combined with two relievers on a six-hit shutout as the Suns eclipsed Greensboro, 6-0. Pena walked one, struck out none, and allowed five hits over five innings. David Fischer got the win in relief, allowing the sixth hit and walking one but striking out two. Robert Benicasa pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to close out the game. Shawn Pleffner and Stephen Perez both went 2-for-4 with two RBI as Hagerstown scored all six runs in the final three innings.
Roster moves: C Craig Manuel reassigned from Harrisburg, C Erick Fernandez reassigned to XST, RHP David Fischer promoted to Potomac, LHP Nick Lee reassigned from XST.

May 152013
 

For one inning the Potomac offense broke out of its funk, but the bullpen remains offbeat, giving up six runs in five innings in a 7-3 loss to Wilmington.

The bottom of the lineup did the bulk of the damage, as nos. 7-9 batters Adrian Sanchez, Randolph Oduber, and Wilmer Difo went back-to-back-to-back with singles to lead off the 5th, with Difo flashing some speed as he turned a would-be sacrifice into a bunt single.

Billy Burns sent in Sanchez with a sacrifice fly and Jason Martinson got the clutch double over the head of Blue Rocks CF Lane Adams to complete the three-run rally.

Rob Gilliam, making his first start of 2013, went the first four innings and allowed just one run on a home run by veteran Wilmington 1B Jared Schlehuber. He struck out five and allowed three hits total while walking two — a solid first outing. He left down 1-0.

Working on five days’ rest, Brian Dupra should have been much sharper. Instead he gave up consecutive singles to open the 5th. A botched bunt enabled Adrian Nieto to easily throw out the lead man at third and for Dupra to escape the inning without a run scored.

No such luck in the 6th as Dupra was unable to retire the four batters he faced, giving up three singles and a walk before being lifted. This was arguably at least two innings less than what was probably expected from him, given his usage this season as a long reliever and spot starter. He left with a 3-2 lead and the bases loaded.

Matt Grace was the second man in from the ‘pen and was also well-rested (five days). After getting a badly needed double play ball, which tied the game at 3-3, he served up a single to center that plated the go-ahead run. Like Dupra, his second inning of work was worse than the first. Unlike Dupra, he got two outs before letting up two singles and a two-run double that pushed the Blue Rocks advantage from 4-3 to 6-3.

Richie Mirowski repeated the pattern with a scoreless 8th and a run in the 9th as the leadoff man reached first on a strikeout that wasn’t caught and came around to score on two-out single for the game’s final run at 7-3.

The offense broke a 15-inning scoring drought with the three-run 5th but failed to score the rest of the way with just three baserunners over the last four frames.

The loss drops Potomac to 20-18 for the season and into third place in the Carolina League North, a game behind division-leading Lynchburg and a ½ game behind second-place Frederick.

RHP A.J. Cole (1-1, 3.65) takes the hill in Game Two of the three-game set, opposed by Wilmington RHP Spencer Patton (3-1, 1.88).

May 152013
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 6-5
(14 inn.)
vs. Columbus,
7:00 p.m.
Young (1-1, 6.33) vs.
Murata (0-2, 4.50)
Harrisburg Won, 8-1 vs. Richmond,
10:30 a.m.
Clay (3-2, 4.30) vs.
Javier (3-0, 4.09)
Potomac Lost, 7-3 vs. Wilmington,
7:05 p.m.
Cole (1-1, 3.65) vs.
Zimmer (0-2, 4.09)
Hagerstown Lost, 8-7 @ Greensboro,
10:45 a.m.
TBD* vs.
Lyman (1-3, 7.07)

*FWIW, the only Hagerstown pitcher that’s well rested is closer Robert Benincasa. The Nats do have a history of activating certain pitchers from XST on road daytime starts

Syracuse 6 Columbus 5 (14 inn.)
• Ohlendorf 5⅔ IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, BB, 7K, 0HR
• Abad 2⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K, 1-0 IR-S
• Roark (W, 2-2) 2IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Rhymes 2-5, R, BB, RBI, SF
• Costanzo 2-5, R, BB, RBI
• Soriano 1-3, 2B, RBI

Francisco Soriano’s RBI double in the 14th gave Syracuse a 6-5 walkoff win. Columbus built a 5-1 lead as they torched Chiefs starter Ross Ohlendorf for five runs on seven hits and a walk over five and 2/3rds innings. Syracuse rallied for four on six hits (all singles) in the bottom of the 7th, with Will Rhymes’s sac fly capping the rally. The foursome of Fernando Abad, Xavier Cedeno, Mike Crotta and Tanner Roark combined for eight and 1/3rd scoreless innings of relief with Roark getting win.
Roster move: OF Erik Komatsu placed on 7-Day DL.

Harrisburg 8 Richmond 1
• Demny (W, 3-4) 6IP, 4H, R, ER, 4BB, 7K, HR
• McCoy 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Goodwin 2-3, 2R, HR, 2RBI, BB
• Rendon 3-5, RBI
• Leon 2-4, 2R, HR, 2RBI

Paul Demny’s turnaround continues with six innings of one-run ball in an 8-1 Harrisburg win over Richmond. The 23-y.o. Texan did walk four and gave up a run on four hits, including a home run but struck out seven for his third win. Fellow Texan Anthony Rendon continues to savage E.L. pitchers, going 3-for-5 for his 7th multihit game since his option back to AA. Brian Goodwin and Sandy Leon both homered and drove in two while LHPs Pat McCoy and Bill Bray combined for three scoreless innings to close out the game.

Wilmington 7 Potomac 3
• Gilliam 4IP, 3H, R, ER, BB, 5K, HR
• Dupra (L, 0-2) 1+IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 0K, 0HR
• Martinson 2-4, 2B, 2RBI
• Oduber 2-4, R, 2B

The scoring drought ended, but the bullpen faltered badly Last Night In Woodbridge.

Greensboro 8 Hagerstown 7
• Anderson ⅔ IP, 2H, 3R, 3ER, 4BB, 0K, HR
• Rauh (L, 1-2) 3⅓ IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 3K, HR, 3-0 IR-S
• Piwinica-Worms 2-4, R, HR, 4RBI (GS)
• Miller 2-3, 2R, BB, HR, 2RBI
• Pleffner 2-4, 2R

Will Piwinica-Worms smacked a grand-slam to highlight a five-run 4th that tied the game at 5-5, but the Grasshoppers outslugged the Suns for an 8-7 win. Starter Dixon Anderson was knocked from the box early, giving up three runs on two hits and four walks. Brian Rauh stranded three in the first but took the loss when he gave up the 6th Greensboro run on a solo shot to answer the Suns in the 4th. Brandon Miller also homered in the loss, pulling the Suns within one with a two-run shot in the 8th.