Washington Nationals Minor League Notebook: April 10

From staff and wire reports:

Fresno (AAA Pacific Coast): After a rainout on Tuesday night, the Fresno Grizzlies (5-1) and Salt Lake Bees (1-5) attempted to play two on Wednesday at Smith’s Ballpark, before the second game was suspended by rain after three innings with the Grizzlies leading 8-1. The early onslaught inlcuded Carter Kieboom‘s first Triple-A homer (2-run) in the second inning. That and the rest of the individual stats will not be made official until the second game is completed during Fresno’s next trip to Salt Lake City, June 20-24 (exact resumption date is TBA).

In the opener on Wednesday, Jake Noll‘s solo home run, an opposite field blast to right in the first inning turned out to be the game-winning hit in a 2-0 Fresno victory. Alec Keller added the second run with a bases loaded sacrifice fly in the fifth. Noll’s homer was his first of the season and of his Triple-A career.

Right-hander Kyle McGowin made everything stand up by tossing 5.2 scoreless innings, scattering only four hits without a walk, striking out six. The Grizzlies are now 2-0 this season with McGowin on the mound, as he picked up his first winning decision of the 2019 campaign. Lefty Vidal Nuno converted a four-out save to secure Fresno’s fourth consecutive victory, keeping the Grizzlies in first place in the Pacific Northern Division as the PCL’s opening week comes to a close.

Top Performers Game 1: Fresno Grizzlies (Washington Nationals)

• RHP Kyle McGowin (5.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K)

• 3B Jake Noll (1-3, solo HR)

• RF Alec Keller (sacrifice fly, 8-for-21 in six games, .381)

Top Performers Game 1: Salt Lake Bees (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim)

• SS Luis Rengifo (2-3)

• LHP Greg Mahle (5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K)

• RHP Matt Ramsey (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K)

ON THAT FRES-NOTE: Fresno’s Game 1 win was the first time Salt Lake was shutout in a home opener. Under nicknames “Buzz,” “Stingers,” and “Bees” since Salt Lake joined the PCL in 1994, Wednesday was their 26th home opener in the Beehive State.

Thursday’s starting pitching matchup will be an all-University of Washington alumni affair. Fresno’s Austin Voth pitched three seasons for the Huskies before turning pro; as UW’s Friday night starter during his junior season (2013), he posted a 2.99 ERA in 17 games (15 starts) over 105.0 IP. Voth’s 98 strikeouts in 2013 ranked second in the Pac-12 Conference, behind only future/former Grizz Mark Appel (2015). Probable Salt Lake starter Forrest Snow was not a teammate of Voth’s at Washington; he pitched three seasons at the school as well from 2008-2010 before being drafted by and signing with the Seattle Mariners following his junior year. 

Harrisburg (AA Eastern League):

The Senators completed their season opening homestand with a 5-1 win over the Hartford Yard Goats and with the win, swept the Goats in the three-game series. Wil Crowe retired the first 17 batters he faced, and Tres Barrera continued his scorching start with two home runs to lead the Sens. The Senators moved to 6-1 on the season while Hartford fell to 1-6.

Turning Point
With one out in the third inning, Chuck Taylor drew a walk and Tres Barrera followed with a two-run home run into the Senators bullpen. The home run gave the Senators a 2-0 lead, a lead they held through the remainder of the game. 

On Capitol Hill
Wil Crowe faced 19 batters in six innings of work, striking out five and allowing just an infield single. Crowe went to a three-ball count just twice in the outing. Crowe earned his second win against no losses. Taylor Guilbeau pitched two innings and allowed four hits and a run and struck out three. Jacob Condra-Bogan pitched the ninth and after allowing a leadoff single, he struck out the next two hitters before retiring the final batter on a flyball to center field.

With the Gavel
Tres Barrera went 4-for-4 with two home runs and drove in five runs as he continued scorching the baseball. Austin Davidson went 2-for-3 with a double, his third double in his past two games. Spencer Kieboom had the only other hit for the Senators. 

Neither Drew Ward or Rhett Wiseman batted so their hitting streaks are in tact at six games each. Barrera is now 11-for-19 on the season. The Senators lead the E.L in HR’s with 11. Wil Crowe retired 17 straight batters to begin the game after retiring the final seven in his first start for a total of 24 consecutive batters. 

On Deck
The Senators and Bowie Baysox open a four-game series Friday night in Bowie. The game is the home opener for the Baysox. The Sens took three of four from Bowie last weekend at FNB Field. RH Erick Fedde is on the mound for the Sens opposed by RH Marcos Molina for Bowie.

Potomac (High-A Carolina League): For the second straight game, the Potomac Nationals (3-4) failed to plate a run, as the Carolina Mudcats (5-2) won 2-0 on Wednesday night and earned a series sweep. In a bounce back pitching performance, RHPKyle Johnston (L, 0-2) allowed a run in the opening frame, but kept Carolina off the scoreboard over the next five innings, as he tallied Potomac’s first quality start of the season. The P-Nats’ offense had plenty of opportunities, though finished 0-10 with RISP and left 12 runners on base.

Johnston issued a one-out walk to 1B Ryan Aguilar in the opening frame, and he crossed the plate on a two-out, two-strike double from C Payton Henry. Henry’s double gave Carolina a 1-0 lead, which proved to be enough. Johnston allowed just one more hit and struck out five over six innings.

Potomac’s first two batters of the night, 2B Cole Freeman and DH Telmito Agustin , walked off of RHP Bowden Francis(W, 1-0), but were both left in scoring position. Potomac left two men in scoring position in the second inning, a runner on second base in the fourth frame, two men in scoring position in the fifth inning, and the bases full in their eighth trip to the plate. Bowden allowed three hits over five innings in the victory.

After six strong innings from Johnston, Potomac went to the bullpen. RHP Frankie Bartow worked a scoreless seventh inning, but allowed a solo home run to CF Joantgel Segovia, which began the eighth inning. Segovia’s second home run in as many games made it 2-0 in favor of Carolina, the eventual final.

RHP J.T. Hintzen tossed a clean seventh inning out of the Carolina bullpen, but ran into trouble in the eighth. 1B Aldrem Corredor drew a leadoff walk, while 3B Anderson Franco singled with one out. After LF Jack Sundberg flied out, Carolina went to RHP Rodrigo Benoit (SV, 2) in search of a four-out save. Benoit walked C Alex Dunlap on five pitches, which loaded the bases, but SS David Masters flied out to centerfield and ended the inning. Potomac got a baserunner in the ninth against Benoit but failed to do anything with it.

The P-Nats will head on the road for the first time in 2019 in an effort to snap a three-game losing streak. Thursday night, the P-Nats will send LHP Grant Borne (0-0, 4.50) to the hill against Winston-Salem. Borne allowed two runs over four innings in his 2019 debut, a no-decision in the front half of a doubleheader on 4/6. For the Dash, LHP John Parke (1-0, 1.80) will take the series-opening start. Parke allowed just one run over five innings in a victory over Frederick on 4/6.

First pitch in Winston-Salem on Thursday night is set for 7:00pm.

Hagerstown (Low-A South Atlantic League): Behind a KJ Harrison three-for-five outing, Hagerstown outlasted the BlueClaws 5-3 Wednesday night at FirstEnergy Park.

Harrison drove in the tie-breaking run in the seventh after both teams were tied 2-2 since the third inning. After Harrison’s single to score Kyle MarinconzJamori Blash lined his own base knock to right to score Harrison and put Hagerstown (2-5) up 4-2.

In the eighth inning, Gilbert Lara added icing to the cake in the form of an RBI base hit to push Gage Canning home. The RBI was Lara’s team-leading eighth of the season and gave Hagerstown a 5-2 lead.

Those runs proved to be critical as Lakewood (3-4) scored one run in both the eighth and ninth innings. Jake Holmeshit a sacrifice fly to plate Luis Garcia in the eighth and inch the BlueClaws to 5-3. Then, in the ninth, Alec Bohm hit a sacrifice fly to score Carlos De La Cruz before Aaron Fletcher (S, 1) slammed the door shut.

Fletcher spun 1.2 innings, allowing just one run and two hits to lock down his first South Atlantic League save. The lefty came in for Ryan Tapani (W, 1-0), who worked 2.2 innings. The Creighton product fanned four batters before getting lifted.

Tim Cate breezed through his second Suns start of 2019. The lefty offered 4.2 innings of work and fanned five on his way to a no-decision. Cate now has a 1.93 ERA on the year.

The offense kicked-off the game in the third inning from the bat of Nic Perkins. The backstop brought Blash home from first, lacing a double to right. Two batters later, Canning added an RBI to his statsheet with a single to score Perkins.

The Suns return home tomorrow to face the Asheville Tourists at Municipal Stadium at 6:05 p.m. The contest begins a seven-game homestand in which the Suns will welcome the Tourists and the defending South Atlantic League Champion Lexington Legends to the Hub City. It all kicks off tomorrow with a magnet schedule giveaway for the first 1,000 fans in attendance. Hagerstown starts RHP Jake Irvin  (0-0, 7.20 ERA). while the Tourists counter with Shelby Lackey (0-0, 6.75 ERA). 

Photo: Fresno Grizzlies

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