SYRACUSE (AAA): The Chiefs fell to the Scranton Wilkes/Barre RailRiders, 2-0, Thursday night at PNC Field in Moosic, Pennsylvania. Gary Sanchez hit a walk-off two-run home run in the 11th inning off Nick Masset to break the scoreless tie.
The Chiefs and RailRiders traded zeros through the first nine innings. Taylor Jordan was outstanding for the Chiefs, throwing six shutout innings while allowing just four hits, no walks, and posted six strikeouts. Sammy Solis was equally good out of the bullpen, striking out three in two hitless innings.
Wilkes-Barre (5-2) nearly won the game in the bottom of the ninth. The RailRiders loaded the bases with no outs against Trevor Gott. But Gott got Gary Sanchez to fly out and Nick Swisher to ground into a fielder's choice at the plate before striking out Cesar Puello to escape with the game still scoreless.
Syracuse (4-2) had its best chance to get on the board in the 10th. Caleb Ramsey singled to start the inning and was sacrificed to second by Tony Campana. Trea Turner followed with a walk, but Brendan Ryan and Scott Sizemore struck out to end the threat.
The RailRiders ended the game in the 11th. After two outs to start the inning, Slade Heathcott reached on an error by Sizemore. Sanchez, after just missing a game-winning home run on a long foul ball in the ninth, launched a long home run over the left-field wall to lift the RailRiders to the win.
The Chiefs and RailRiders will play the second game of this four-game series Friday at 6:35 p.m. Paolo Espino is slated to make his season debut for Syracuse opposite Anthony Swarzak for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
HARRISBURG (AA): The Senators were stifled by former Nationals’ prospect Nick Pivetta and two relievers as Reading spoiled Harrisburg’s home opener, 9-0 in front of a bustling crowd of 4,386.
The Senators (3-3) struggled to get men on base as they were held to only three hits, drew two walks, and one hit batsman. Wilmer Difo fisted a ball into shallow left field in the fourth inning for what was the Senators’ lone base knock for most of the night until the ninth inning when Shawn Pleffner and Kevin Keyes delivered back to back singles.
John Simms started for the Senators and scattered seven hits over five innings. Simms (0-1) minimized damage in the second and third innings as he limited Reading to a single run in each frame. But the Fightin’ Phils broke the game wide open in the fifth inning as Angelo Mora connected on a grand slam to give Reading a 6-0 lead.
Harrisburg reliever Gilberto Mendez posted two zeroes before the Fightin’ Phils touched him up in the eighth inning for three insurance runs. The biggest blow came when Reading first baseman Christian Marrero launched a two-run home run to finish the scoring for Reading.
Bryan Harper relieved Mendez and sat down all four batters he faced, working a perfect 1 1/3 innings.
Harrisburg continues the homestand on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. against the Reading Fightin Phils at FNB Field with Tyler Mapes on the mound for Harrisburg taking on Reading’s Ricardo Pinto.
POTOMAC (HIGH-A): A stellar start by Wilmington Blue Rocks (2-5 Overall, 1-0 Road) RHP Pedro Fernandez (W, 1-0) ruined the 2016 home opener for the Potomac Nationals (5-2 Overall, 0-1 Home), as Fernandez allowed just one run on three hits over six innings in his first win of the season. The Blue Rocks plated a run in each of the first two innings and never trailed in the 6-2 win.
Wirkin Estevez (L, 0-1) bounced back after he departed his first start of the season with an injury and made it through four innings in his bounce back from his second Tommy John surgery. Estevez allowed four runs, three earned, over four innings. The righty struck out three and walked two in his second start of the season.
The Nationals plated a run in the bottom of the ninth on a sacrifice fly by Khyaan Norfork, but left the tying run on-deck, as C Matt Reistetter grounded out to third base to end the game.
Potomac had just five hits, a season low. Norfork continued his hot hitting with a pair of hits, as the three-year veteran continues to lead the Carolina League in BA, OBP, and SLG.
In an effort to even up the series, the Nationals will send RHP Erick Fedde (0-0, 4.50) to the hill for his second start vs. the Blue Rocks this season. First pitch at Pfitzner Stadium is set for 7:05 p.m. on Friday night.
HAGERSTOWN (LOW-A): Matthew Crownover pitched five shutout innings and the Suns knocked off the Delmarva Shorebirds 4-1 before 3,752 at Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, Maryland.
Crownover (W, 1-0) gave up five hits and two walks, striking out six for the Suns (5-3). He was followed by Connor Bach, who allowed one run on no hits and three walks with five strikeouts. Mick VanVossen finished up, tossing a scoreless ninth with two Ks for his first save.
Max Schrock and Kelvin Gutierrez both had a pair of hits, while Schrock drove in two.
The Suns scored a run in the first on a double by Gutierrez and a single by Ryan Ripken. They added two more in the second on Schrock's bases-loaded two-run single. Hagerstown picked up an insurance run in the ninth as Victor Robles walked and stole second (4), went to third on a balk and scored on Gutierrez' single to right.
The Suns face Delmarva again on Friday at 7:05 p.m.