Washington Nationals Minor League Report: April 16

From staff and wire reports:

Fresno (AAA Pacific Coast League): The Fresno Tacos (7-5) did not disappoint in their 2019 debut, beating the Salt Lake Bees (3-8) 16-9 Tuesday night. Fresno recorded 13 hits (four for homers) and every starter scored once. Down 5-0 in the second, Collin Cowgill started the slugfest with a three-run shot to left field. It was his second blast in as many nights. The onslaught continued in the third when the Tacos brought 14 batters to the plate, notching nine runs. Jacob Wilson and Raudy Read hammered back-to-back taters to highlight the frame. Wilson has now powered four bombs in the past three contests while Read has a team-high seven game hitting streak. Later, Carter Kieboomadded himself to the dinger list, taking a pitch to the opposite field. His three-run big fly gave him his first four-RBI game of the year.

Despite an early cushion thanks to former Fresno State product Taylor Ward‘s longball and a Wilfredo Tovar two-RBI double, the Bees couldn’t keep the buzz going. Luis Rengifo walloped both a late home run and double in the loss.

Fresno starter Scott Copeland (1-0) enjoyed the win while Greg Mahle (0-2) suffered the decision. Vidal Nuno didn’t allow a run in the ninth, closing out Salt Lake.  

 Top Performers: Fresno Tacos (Washington Nationals)

• 3B Jacob Wilson (3-4, HR, 2B, 4 RBI, 3 R, BB) 

• 2B Carter Kieboom (2-4, HR, 2B, 4 RBI, 2 R, BB)

• RF Collin Cowgill (2-2, HR, 3 RBI, R, 3 BB) 

• C Raudy Read (2-5, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, R) 

• SS Matt Reynolds (2-4, 2 2B, RBI, 2 R, BB)

Top Performers: Salt Lake Bees (Los Angeles Angels)

• SS Luis Rengifo (3-4, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R, BB)

• 3B Taylor Ward (1-4, HR, 3 RBI, R)

• 2B Wilfredo Tovar (2-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 3 R)

ON THAT FRES-NOTE: After homering again Tuesday versus Salt Lake, Jacob Wilson has now gone deep four times in the last three games. On Sunday at Las Vegas, Jacob Wilson collected the first multi-homer game of the season for Fresno, and the first two-homer game in the history of Las Vegas Ballpark. In his eighth pro season, Sunday was Wilson’s fifth career two-homer game and his first with the Washington Nationals organization (Rule 5 pick from St. Louis Cardinals in 2017). It was also his first multi-home run game on the road. He now has 91 career homers while leading Fresno with six big flies. 

Harrisburg (AA Eastern League): The Senators managed just two runs Tuesday night but thanks to Erick Fedde and James Bourque, it was enough to beat the Altoona Curve 2-1. With the win, the Senators have won their fourth series in four tries and go for the three-game sweep Wednesday morning. Both Senators runs scored on sacrifice flies while Altoona scored their lone run on a bases loaded walk. Fedde was outstanding in seven innings of work while Bourque retired all six batters he faced. Harrisburg moves to 11-2 on the season while Altoona falls to 6-6.

Turning Point
After the Senators failed to capitalize on a second and third no outs situation in the top of the fifth, Altoona loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Altoona starting pitcher Dario Agrazal walked with the bases loaded to tie the game. But the turning point of the game then took place. Jared Oliva bounced into a 6-4-3 double play and Erick Fedde escaped further damage.

On Capitol Hill
Erick Fedde was outstanding for a second straight start. The right hander went seven innings, struck out three, scattered six hits and tossed two double play balls. He also struck out the final two batters he faced. James Bourque pitched the final two innings and retired all six batters he faced including a strikeout to end the ballgame. He threw 17 pitches and 13 strikes and struck out three.

With the Gavel
Ian Sagdal had two hits including a double. Rhett Wiseman had one hit which was a double. Drew WardLuis GarciaAdrian Sanchez and Tyler Goeddel all had a hit.

With their two double plays, the Sens have now turned 13 DPs in 13 games.
The Sens have played four series thus far and have won all four series.
After 13 games, this is the best start in modern Sens history (since 1987). 
Harrisburg is 9-2 against divisional opponents.

On Deck
The Senators play the final game of their three-game series Wednesday morning in Altoona. Harrisburg sends RH Sterling Sharp to the mound against LH Cam Vieaux for Altoona. Game time Wednesday is 10:30 a.m.

Potomac (High-A Carolina League): The Lynchburg Hillcats (8-5) scored four runs in the first inning and didn’t look back as they evened up their series against the Potomac Nationals (6-7) on Monday night, beating the P-Nats 9-3.

Lynchburg RHP Jean Carlos Mejia (W, 2-0) entered his third start of the season with an ERA of 0.82, and the Indians pitching prospect overcame his first adversity of the season thanks to early run support from the Hillcats offense.

RHP Kyle Johnston  (L, 0-3), Potomac’s Opening Day starter, ran into trouble immediately in the first inning. He allowed a leadoff double to CF Steven Kwan, and three batters later LF Oscar Gonzalezripped an RBI double off the glove of RF Gage Canning  to put the Hillcats ahead 1-0. After an RBI groundout from DH Trenton Brooks extended the lead to 2-0, 1B Dillon Persinger capped the opening rally with a two-run double to give Lynchburg a 4-0 advantage.

Stymied for the first three innings against Mejia, the P-Nats broke through in the fourth. 2B Cole Freeman  led off the frame with a single, and scored on LF Telmito Agustin ‘s RBI double. 1B Aldrem Corredor  followed with an RBI single, and Canning came through with another run-scoring hit with two outs to draw the deficit to 4-3.

Just as it appeared Potomac was gaining momentum, the Hillcats answered back in the bottom of the fourth with another four-run inning. Gonzalez collected the big hit, a long three-run home run to end Johnston’s night and put Lynchburg ahead 7-3. An unearned run scored later on an error by SS David Masters  to extend the lead to 8-3.

Both teams provided excellent relief, with LHP Hayden Howard  and RHP Andrew Lee  combining for 5.0 innings with one earned run allowed from the Nationals bullpen. Lee allowed an RBI double to RF Austen Wade in the eighth inning to cap the scoring, but fanned five batters to establish a Potomac season high in a relief role.

RHP Jared Robinson contributed 3.0 scoreless innings for the Hillcats, and RHP Robert Broomfinished things off with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Hagerstown (Low-A South Atlantic League): The Suns bats were unable to lift Hagerstown over Lexington, despite Tim Cate ‘s strong start in a 2-1 loss to the Legends Tuesday night at Municipal Stadium.

Tim Cate earned the Suns’ (6-7) first quality start of the year. the longest outing from a Suns starter yielded only one run, but the lefty exited the game with a no decision. The Connecticut-native allowed just two hits and two walks while fanning four.

The Legends’ (7-5) bats broke a 1-1 stalemate in the eighth. Nick Hutchins led-off the frame with his second double of the game. After that, Rubendy Jaquez moved his catcher to third with a sacrifice bunt to first. Right after, the run was brought home on a sac fly to center from Michael Gigliotti . Lexington struck first with Nick Hutchins’ first double in the second. The backstop’s double came right after a two-out base hit by Jackson Lueck

Zach Haake controlled the action in six innings of work. The righty allowed one run on two hits, issued no walks and struck out eight batters. The win went to reliever Jon Heasley (W, 3-0). Heasley finished 

Hagerstown matched Lexington’s run in the second. Jacob Rhinesmith smacked a lead-off double. With one out on the board, Pablo O’Connor brought in his teammate with a sac fly to center. 

The loss went to Aaron Fletcher (L, 1-1) who gave up the go-ahead run in the eighth.

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