SYRACUSE (AAA): The Chiefs dropped both games of a doubleheader to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Wednesday at NBT Bank Stadium. The Chiefs led both games early, but the IronPigs rallied back twice to sweep the doubleheader.
Syracuse (6-7) took the lead in game one in the third inning. Trea Turner led off the frame with a single. Scott Sizemore followed with a walk two batters later, and both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Matt Skole then hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Turner and give the Chiefs a 1-0 lead. A Jason Martinson walk extended the inning, and Brian Goodwin singled home Sizemore to push the lead to 2-0.
Lehigh Valley (7-6) immediately answered in the top of the fourth against Paolo Espino. Darnell Sweeney and Taylor Featherston each singled to start the inning, the IronPigs first two hits of the game. After a strikeout, Andrew Knapp reached on an infield single, scoring Sweeney to get the IronPigs on the board. One batter later, Brock Stassi doubled home Featherston to tie the game. The IronPigs would need just one more run, and it came from the next hitter. Cedric Hunter grounded out to second base, scoring Knapp and giving Lehigh Valley its first lead at 3-2.
IronPigs pitching retired 12 of the final 14 Chiefs to bat in game one to hold on for the 3-2 lead.
The Chiefs grabbed an early game-two lead thanks to Jhonatan Solano. In the second inning, Goodwin and Nate Freiman reached on one-out singles against starter Reinier Roibal. Two batters later, Solano served a two-run double into the left-center field gap, scoring a pair for a 2-0 Chiefs lead.
Syracuse tacked on runs in the next two innings. In the third, Turner singled, stole second and sprinted home on a Martinson RBI single. In the fourth, pinch-hitter Jose Lozada's two-out single scored Freiman, who had doubled, against left-hander Bobby LaFromboise.
Lehigh Valley grabbed a run back in the fifth against Trevor Gott. Singles from Hunter, Featherston and Cam Perkins, the latter two coming with two outs, scratched the first IronPigs tally across.
In the seventh, closer Rafael Martin entered in search of a save. He walked Ryan Jackson before allowing a pinch-hit single to Stassi. Center fielder Sweeney, the next batter, fell behind 1-2 in the count. Surprisingly, he drove the next pitch over the wall in right-center field for a tying three-run home run. The rally continued when Featherston doubled. After a pair of strikeouts, first baseman Tommy Joseph lofted a ground-rule double over the left-field wall, putting the IronPigs in front.
The Chiefs rallied in the home seventh against Luis Garcia. With one out, Martinson walked. Sizemore followed with a line-drive single, advancing Martinson to third base. However, Garcia struck out Skole looking and induced a groundout from Goodwin, ending the game.
The Chiefs and IronPigs wrap up their series Thursday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium. A.J. Cole is scheduled to start for Syracuse opposite Adam Morgan for Lehigh Valley. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.
HARRISBURG (AA): The Senators overcame an early deficit to take the rubber game in their three-game set with the Altoona Curve, 4-2. The afternoon matinee game drew 2,661 fans to FNB Field and pulled the Senators (6-6) back to .500.
Jose Osuna gave the Curve a 1-0 advantage with a line drive solo home run in the top of the first inning off Harrisburg starter Tyler Mapes. Mapes (3-0) settled down after that and delivered another solid outing for the Senators as the right-hander went six innings, allowing two runs on four hits.
Harrisburg got on the board in the second inning as Adrian Sanchez hit a double off the base of the wall inches from the left field foul line to score Kevin Keyes and Brian Jeroloman. The Senators tacked on a run in the next frame as Wilmer Difo raced all the way around from first base when Keyes doubled to the deepest part of the park.
Altoona pulled back within a run as Reese McGuire singled through the right side of the infield with two outs in the sixth inning to score Anderson Feliz from third. But that was the closest as the Curve would get, as the Senators' bullpen would shut them down the rest of the way.
Abel De Los Santos tossed a dominating 1-2-3 inning and Bryan Harper posted 1.2 scoreless before giving way to Dakota Bacus who recorded the last out to pick up his first save of the season.
Stephen Perez and Keyes each garnered a pair of base hits as part of the 11-hit attack by the Senators and Brian Jeroloman drove in an insurance run in the seventh inning.
The Senators travel to Bowie for a 6:35 p.m. game on Thursday featuring Reynaldo Lopez on the bump for Harrisburg looking for his first Double-A win against Baysox starter David Hess.
POTOMAC (HIGH-A): As the first homestand came to an end for the Nationals, it was the visiting Lynchburg Hillcats that celebrated. For the fourth straight day, the P-Nats came up on the wrong side of the end result, as Potomac was shut out for the first time in 2016, a 7-0 win for division leading Lynchburg.
For the seventh time in the seven-game homestand, Potomac (6-7) gave up the first run of the game. For the fifth time in seven games, the P-Nats gave up at least a run in the top of the first inning, and had to battle out of a hole before they stepped into the batter’s box. Starter Erick Fedde issued a leadoff walk to 3B Claudio Bautista, and DH Yu-Cheng Chang followed with a two-run home run off of the scoreboard in left field. It was Chang’s second home run in five games vs. Potomac, as the Hillcats led 2-0 two batters into the game.
Fedde (L, 1-1) settled down and allowed just one more run through 5.2 innings, as he struck out a season high nine. He worked around a leadoff walk in the second inning and back-to-back walks to the first two hitters in the fourth before he ran into trouble with two outs in the sixth.
Taylor Murphy singled and knocked Fedde out of the game, as Jake Johansen came in and quickly surrendered an RBI double to 2B Mark Mathias. Mathias then scored two batters later on an RBI double by SS Ivan Castillo and the Hillcats led 4-0. Lynchburg had 10 hits, two home runs and three doubles.
The Potomac offense barely mustered a scoring opportunity against Julian Merryweather (W, 3-0), who did not give up a run over 6.2 innings and ran his scoreless streak to 17.2 innings.
Cleveland prospect Bobby Bradley hit the shortest possible home run at Pfitzner Stadium, as his third home run of the year barely cleared the wall in left field and was fair by about 18 inches. Bradley’s home run made it 7-0, the eventual final.
Coming off of a tough 1-6 homestand, the P-Nats will play five games in four days in Wilmington, Delaware vs. the Blue Rocks. The series opens up with a doubleheader on Thursday that is set to begin at 5:05 p.m. In game one, Potomac will send Boone Whiting (2-0, 5.40) to the hill to try to snap Potomac’s four-game losing streak. For Wilmington, it will be Ashton Goudeau (1-1, 7.27). Game two will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one, with both games scheduled for seven innings.
HAGERSTOWN (LOW-A): Victor Robles went 3 for 4 with a homer, triple, stolen base, three RBIs and three runs scored to lead the Suns over the Lakewood Blue Claws 9-1 at FirstEnergy Park.
Hagerstown (10-4) punded out 13 hits against three different Lakewood pitchers. Rhett Wiseman homered, part of a 2 for 4 day, while Jorge Tillero and Ian Sagdal both had two hits apiece.
Meanwhile, Jefry Rodriguez improved to 2-1 with a three-hit, no-walk outing over five innings, allowing the single run, which was unearned. He struck out five along the way. Mariano Rivera and Ronald Pena combined for four shutout innings in relief.
The Suns start a four-game series against Hickory on Thursday at Memorial Stadium.