Sep 052013
 

No pressure, Blake, but we kinda need you to go all nine innings tonight.

OK, so maybe nobody said that to the Potomac ace last night, but this morning, that’s what P-Nats fans are thinking after last night’s 2-1 win in 14 innings over Lynchburg. At least this one.

Potomac rallied with two outs in the bottom of the 9th to tie it, as Randolph Oduber grooved a 1-1 pitch into the right-center gap to score pinch-runner Will Piwinica-Worms all the way from first base. Michael Taylor won it with a two-out RBI single in the 14th, ending the four-hour-and-30-minute marathon.

But where the game was really won was in the nine shutout innings that the quintet of Travis Henke, Colin Bates, Robert Benincasa, Rafael Martin, and Brian Dupra turned in. As a group, they walked four, struck out eight and allowed just four hits. As noted yesterday, these guys had been worked hard in the final week of the season but you’d have never known it if you seen ‘em in action last night, Colin Bates in particular (nine up, nine down in innings seven through nine).

Both teams, truth be told, pitched a hell of a game. Sammy Solis nearly lost despite giving up just a run over five innings on three hits and a walk (care to guess which was the run that scored?) while fanning five.

Lynchburg’s Greg Ross struck out 10 P-Nats, primarily by pitching backwards: throwing change after change then spotting an average fastball once he’d gotten ahead. No doubt Hillcats fans are wondering why an almost 24-y.o. journeyman wasn’t asked to go an inning or two longer after giving up just two infield hits and a walk over six shutout innings.

As the lede suggests, Blake Schwartz takes the hill tonight for Potomac with a chance to advance to the Mills Cup Finals. Schwartz was 3-0 vs. the Hillcats during the regular season, including a pair of wins 10 days apart in July. He’ll be opposed by veteran southpaw Ryan Hinson, coincidentally, the opposing pitcher in Schwartz’s last two starts against Lynchburg.

Sep 042013
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Harrisburg OFF DAY @ Erie, 6:35 p.m. Cole (4-2, 2.18) vs. TBD
Potomac OFF DAY vs. Lynchburg, 7:05 p.m. Solis (2-1, 3.43) vs.
Ross (9-6, 3.27)
Hagerstown OFF DAY @ West Virginia, 7:05 p.m. Voth (1-0, 3.38) vs.
Glasnow (9-3, 2.18)
Auburn Lost, 2-0; Won, 3-1 vs. Mahoning Valley,
7:05 p.m.
Pivetta (0-1, 4.41) vs.
Hamrick (2-6, 3.42)



Harrisburg at Erie — Game One, Eastern League Divisional Series (Best-of-Five)
The Senators and Seawolves split their last two regular-season series in July and August, which is only fitting for the second-best road team (Harrisburg) vs. the second-best home team (Erie). Pitching has carried Harrisburg all season long, though the Sens have scored five or more runs six times in the last 10 games. A.J. Cole is the Game One starter and has faced Erie just once, losing a 4-1 decision on August 22 at Metro Bank Park. Erie has yet to announce its starters.

Lynchburg at Potomac — Game One, Carolina League Divisional Series (Best-of-Three)
On paper, this should be a warmup to the Finals. Potomac took six of eight games in their last two series and have dominated at home (47-23). If, however, the Hillcats can knock a P-Nats starter from the box, they’ll be getting into a bullpen that’s been worked hard (and hit hard) the past week. Best hope: Brian Rauh follows Sammy Solis tonight and finishes the game in a Potomac win, giving the other relievers another day of rest and Lynchburg the task of having to beat staff ace Blake Schwartz to avoid elimination tomorrow.

Hagerstown at West Virginia — Game One, Sally League Divisional Series (Best-of-Three)
The Power enter the first round on an 8-2 run and winners of the last four straight. The Suns have lost six of the last ten, including the last three in a row. Austin Voth gets the start for Hagerstown, just his third since being promoted from Auburn in late August. His previous two outings were against cellar-dwelling Lakewood. He’ll be opposed by Tyler Glasnow, West Virginia’s top pitcher. The Suns beat Glasnow in July, but the 20-y.o. pitched well in two earlier outings in June and April.

Mahoning Valley 2 Auburn 0 — GAME ONE
• Young 3IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Garcia 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Bafidis (L, 2-1) 2IP, 4H, 2R, 1ER, BB, K
• W. Rodriguez 1-3

Wilman Rodriguez singled to lead off the bottom of the 7th, spoiling a perfect game bid by Mahoning Valley’s Cole Sulser. Alas, it was the sole Auburn hit in a 2-0 shutout by the Scrappers. Rehabbers Chris Young and Christian Garcia combined for four scoreless innings an five strikeouts. Cory Bafidis took the loss, giving up both Mahoning Valley runs on four hits in the 5th and 6th innings.

Auburn 3 Mahoning Valley 1 — GAME TWO
• Giolito 4IP, 3H, R, ER, 3BB, 5K, HR
• Mudron (W, 1-3) 1IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Hollins (SV, 6) 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• W. Rodriguez 1-3, 2RBI
• Masters 1-1, R, BB, RBI

Lucas Giolito gave up a solo HR in his 4th and final inning, falling short of the requisite five innings to get the “W” as the Doubledays won 3-1 to, um, salvage the doubleheader versus the Scrappers. The 19-y.o. walked three and struck out five while allowing three hits total in his final start of the season. Auburn struck for all three runs in the 2nd on a one-run single by David Masters and a two-run safety by Wilman Rodriguez. Mike Mudron got the win in relief while L.J. Hollins closed out the game for his sixth save.

Sep 012013
 

Viera via Natsnq
With a 7-2 win over the GCL Red Sox, the GCL Nationals have swept the best-of-three series to win the 2013 Gulf Coast League Championship.

Offensively, the G-Nats struck first with three in the 2nd, exploiting a pair of walks and a wild pitch to score the first run, while Wilmer Difo and Garrett Gordon drove in the second and third runs with RBI singles.

The G-Sox got one back in the 4th on starter Wander Suero’s one bad inning, as the 21-y.o. Dominican got two quick outs, then gave up a single and a pair of walks, then hit a batter. Suero recovered and was finished after five innings, giving up the one run on three walks and one hit while striking out seven.

Drew Ward’s RBI double put the lead back to 4-1 after the top of the 5th and the G-Nats broke it open with a three-spot in the 7th, with Ward collecting another single and Jose “Orange” Marmolejos-Diaz capping off the rally with a two-run double. The G-Nats racked up 11 hits total with Ward, Marmolejos-Diaz, Osvaldo Abreu and Garrett Gordon each having multiple hits.

Philips Valdez followed Suero out of the ‘pen and was touched for a run in the 7th but earned the hold for his two innings of work. Mike Sylvestri finished off the game with two scoreless innings including a 1-2-3 ninth to lock down the win.

The GCL championship is the second for the Nationals (2009) since the organization relocated from Montreal in 2004.

Sep 112012
 

Five runs in the 7th and six in the 8th turned a 6-5 ballgame into a 16-7 Tri-City beatdown as Auburn lost Game Three of the New York-Penn League Semifinals and was eliminated 2-1 in the best-of-three series.

If there’s a single number that tells the story, it’s 14 — the number of walks issued by the Doubledays pitchers on the night. Seven of them would eventually score. The Auburn moundsmen would also give up 14 hits, six coming in the final two fateful frames.

Despite the eventual outcome, the Doubledays would take the lead three times, scoring two in the top of the 1st for a 2-0 lead, one in the 3rd for a 3-2 lead, and one in the seventh to take a 6-5 lead. Auburn actually outhit Tri-City 15-14, with every batter in the lineup getting a hit. Tony Renda led the charge with a 4-for-5 night, followed by Wander Ramos at 3-for-5, and Mike McQuillan went 2-for-5 with two doubles.

Six Auburn pitchers threw last night, with each of them issuing at least one walk, hit, and a run. Cody Davis, the only one to set down a batter on strikes, was charged with the loss, giving up four runs on two hits, a walk, and a hit batsman over two and 2/3rds innings.

The loss ends Auburn’s 2012 season while Tri-City advances to the NYPL Finals against Hudson Valley, which eliminated Brooklyn with 2-0 one-hitter.

Sep 082012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Auburn Lost, 5-4 @ Tri-City,
7:05 p.m.
Fischer (3-3, 4.96) vs.
Rodgers (7-2, 2.89)
Hagerstown Lost, 7-5 ELIMINATED N/A

Tri-City 5 Auburn 4
• Mooneyham 5IP, 4H, 4R, 2ER, 3BB, K
• Boyden (L, 0-1) 3IP, 3H, R, ER, BB, K
• Renda 2-4, SB
• Ramos 1-3, R, 3B, BB, OF assist at 3B
• Kieboom 1-4, 2B, 2RBI

A pinch-hit double by the league’s oldest player put the tying run for Auburn in the bottom of the 9th, but despite a pair of walks and three pitching changes, the clutch hit eluded the Doubledays for a 5-4 loss to Tri-City. Auburn scored a first-inning run but gave it back in the 3rd and fell behind with three in the 4th, a pair of errors turning might have been one-run frame into a crooked number. The Doubledays got a couple back with a two-run double off the bat of Spencer Kieboom, then had the miscues evened out with an error and a balk in the 5th to plate the tying run.

The ValleyCats got the go-ahead run in the 7th with three singles, the only hits that Michael Boyden gave up, but it stood up for the win. Boyden took the loss with one run over three innings, while starter Brett Mooneyham gave up four runs (two earned) on four hits and three walks over the first five innings. Auburn outhit TriCity 8-7, with Tony Renda leading the hit column with a 2-for-4 effort.

The series shifts to Troy, NY for Game Two tonight with Auburn needing to win to force a deciding Game Three in the best-of-three format.

Greensboro 7 Hagerstown 5
• Estevez 2⅓ IP, 3H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 3K, 2HR
• Turnbull (L, 0-1) ⅔ IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 0K
• Hawkins 2⅓ IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 0K, 3-0 IR-S
• Burns 2-3, R, BB, SB
• Ramsey 2-4, R

Two big innings powered Greensboro to a 7-5 win to eliminate Hagerstown and advance to Sally League Finals to defend their 2011 title. The Grasshoppers went deep twice against Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez for all four runs scored in the 3rd inning to chase the 20-year-old from the game. The Suns responded with four of their own in the top of the 5th to tie the game, only to see Greensboro take the lead right back with two in the bottom of the inning. Hagerstown got within one with a run in the 8th, but gave it right back with a run in the 8th and went in order in the 9th.

Estevez got the no-decision with the four runs allowed over two and a 1/3rd innings on three hits (a double and two home runs) and a walk while striking out three. Kylin Turnbull took the loss with two runs given up on four hits and a walk in 2/3rds of an inning in the 6th. Richie Mirowski and Ben Hawkins combined for four scoreless innings of relief following Estevez and Turnbull. Billy Burns and Caleb Ramsey both singled twice and scored a run as Hagerstown made the most of its chances with a 4-for-6 night with RISP and just two runners left on base.