Washington Nationals minor league report: 4/27/19, 4/28/19

From staff and wire reports:

Fresno (AAA Pacific Coast League):

Saturday: The Fresno Grizzlies (11-11) couldn’t close the door on the Reno Aces (8-14), falling 14-13 Saturday afternoon from Greater Nevada Field. A nine-run epic comeback in the ninth ended on a walk-off grand slam from former Grizzly Andrew Aplin. Despite the defeat, every Fresno starter recorded at least one hit (19 total), while the two Jake’s (Noll and Wilson) laced three hits apiece. Noll spanked three singles with two of them knocking in Andrew Stevenson. Wilson lasered two homers (2-run, solo) and a double during the contest. It was his second multi-dinger game of the season (April 14 at Las Vegas). His 10 longballs are a club-high and puts him tied for second on the PCL leaderboard. Brandon Snyder also added a pair of two-baggers, extending his hit streak to a current team-high seven games.

Kevin Cron highlighted the Reno offense early when he hit a towering drive to dead center in the first inning. The two-run wallop was his 11th of the year, placing him atop the PCL in homers. He has five big flies in the past three contests against the Grizzlies. Heading to the last frame, the Aces were dealt a winning hand. They brought 10 batters to the plate, with Aplin delivering the final blow. Two former Fresno Grizzlies in Aplin and Tyler Heineman finished 5-for-6 with a homer, triple, two doubles, five RBI, four runs and a walk.

Fresno’s streak of being in first place in the PCL Pacific Northern Division ended in the defeat. The Grizzlies had been in first or tied for first at the end of 156 consecutive games and 384 days. Reliever Tanner Rainey (2-2) suffered the decision while righty Braden Shipley (1-0) secured the victory.

Top Performers: Fresno Grizzlies (Washington Nationals)

• 2B Jacob Wilson (3-6, 2 HR, 2B, 5 RBI, 3 R)

• 3B Jake Noll (3-6, 3 RBI, 3 R)

• LF Brandon Snyder (2-5, 2 2B, RBI, 2 R, BB)

Top Performers: Reno Aces (Arizona Diamondbacks)

• CF Andrew Aplin (1-1, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, BB)

• 1B Kevin Cron (2-3, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, BB)

• C Tyler Heineman (4-5, 3B, 2 2B, RBI, 2 R)

ON THAT FRES-NOTE: Grizzlies infielder Jacob Wilson enjoyed his second multi-homer game of the 2019 season Saturday afternoon in Reno. Wilson’s first two-dinger game on April 14 at Las Vegas. In eight pro seasons, Wilson has six career two-longball games with two in the Washington Nationals organization (Rule 5 pick from St. Louis Cardinals in 2017). He has 95 career wallops and his 10 this year ties him for second in the PCL behind Reno’s Kevin Cron (11).

Sunday: The Fresno Grizzlies (11-12) skidded to their fourth straight loss Sunday afternoon, buckling to the Reno Aces (9-14) 6-2 from Greater Nevada Field. A first inning RBI single by Yadiel Hernandez and a seventh inning blast by Raudy Read were the offensive highlights for Fresno. Hernandez now owns the current team-high hit streak at five games while Read’s solo shot was his third of the season.

Reno struck early, plating five of their six runs in the first two innings. Tim Locastro and Domingo Leyba went back-to-back in the opening frame while former Fresno Grizzly Andrew Aplin clubbed a game-high three hits, driving in one run. Starter Anthony Vasquez (1-1) succeeded on both sides of the ball. He knocked in a run with a single and hurled six scoreless frames on the mound.

Scott Copeland (1-1) succumbed to the defeat despite no walks and five strikeouts in five frames of work. Dakota Bacus and Vidal Nuno III stymied the Aces offense for two innings of combined relief, fanning a pair.

Top Performers: Fresno Grizzlies (Washington Nationals)

• LF Yadiel Hernandez (2-3, RBI, BB)

• C Raudy Read (1-4, HR, RBI, R)

• 1B Jake Noll (1-3, 2B, BB)

Top Performers: Reno Aces (Arizona Diamondbacks)

• CF Andrew Aplin (3-4, 2B, RBI, R)

• RF Tim Locastro (2-4, HR, RBI, R)

• SS Domingo Leyba (1-4, HR, RBI, R)

ON THAT FRES-NOTE: The Grizzlies are currently a game and a half back of Sacramento for first place in the PCL Pacific Northern Division; Fresno had been in first or tied for first at the end of each of their initial 21 games this season. Last season while affiliated with the Houston Astros, the Grizzlies were either in first place or tied for first after their final 135 games (of 139, one cancelled) and were alone in first place after the final 132 games through the end of the season (won division by 10.5 games). In all, Fresno was in either first place or tied for first after 156 consecutive games between the Astros and Nationals, until Saturday night. Prior to Sunday, Fresno was most recently in second place (tied) 385 days ago on April 8, 2018, following a 9-4 win at Reno, which improved the Grizzlies to 2-2 on the season.

Harrisburg (AA Eastern League):


Game 1: In game one of a doubleheader Saturday, the Hartford Yard Goats defeated the Senators 6-2. It was the second loss in three games by the Senators as their record dropped to 17-4 on the season. Hartford improved to 11-11. Hartford plated three runs in the first, then tacked on runs, keep their distance from Harrisburg. The Senators tallied two in the fourth, but couldn’t get any closer and had 10 of their final 11 batters retired. 

Turning Point
Hartford tallied three runs in the first, including an unearned run. However, they didn’t stop there and tacked on single runs in the second, third and fourth innings to take control of the game. 

On Capitol Hill
Ben Braymer started and went five innings. After back-to-back quality starts, he was tagged with five earned runs on nine hits. He threw 90 pitches, 55 strikes on the cold Saturday afternoon. Ronald Pena walked the only batter he faced before leaving. Jacob Condra-Bogan finished the sixth by stranding the bases loaded.

With the Gavel
Harrisburg managed just six hits and no player had two hits. Ian Sagdal and Drew Ward both doubled while Tres Barrera had a run scoring single. Tyler GoeddelAdrian Sanchez and Chuck Taylor all had singles.

It was the second time in three games that the Sens have given up 3+ runs in the first inning.
With the loss in game one, the Sens are 4-1 against Hartford this season.
Ronald Pena left due to an injury after walking the only batter he faced.

Game 2: The Senators earned a split of the doubleheader with a 3-0 win over Hartford in game 2. Mario Sanchez started and pitched six shutout innings before turning the game over to James Bourque for the final inning. Sanchez moves to 3-0 and Bourque his fourth save. Harrisburg scored a run in the first, then tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh. Ian Sadgal doubled in a run in the first to give the Sens the lead they’d never relinquish. Harrisburg is 18-4 while Hartford falls to 11-12.

Turning Point
In the bottom of the first inning with the Sens leading 1-0, Colton Welker doubled but Mario Sanchez retired the next two batters on groundouts. He then went on to retire seven straight batters, and nine of the final ten batters he faced. As it turned out, the one run was all that he would need.

On Capitol Hill
Mario Sanchez went six innings in his second spot start. He threw 77 pitches, 53 strikes. He struck out six and lowered his ERA to 1.10 for the season. James Bourque pitched the seventh and kept Hartford off the scoreboard. He finished the game with a 3-6-1 double play. 

With the Gavel
Ian Sagdal had two hits, two doubles, and drove in two runs including the first run and the last run. Sagdal’s average is up to .281 on the season. Luis Garcia had two hits including a leadoff double in the first inning. Drew Ward had a big pinch-hit double in the seventh to drive in Bryan Mejia with an insurance run in the seventh. Chuck Taylor also had a hit in the game. The Senators had four doubles in the game.


  • It was the second 1-0 Sens win and their fourth shutout on the season.
  • They’re 5-1 against Hartford this season.
  • Ian Sagdal had three doubles in the doubleheader.
  • With the win in game two, the Sens have yet to lose back-to-back games this year.
  • The 18-4 record is the best record after 22 games in modern franchise history. 
  • Bryan Mejia started his second professional game in center field and made a terrific diving catch in the second inning. 

Sunday: Sunday afternoon the Senators took a 3-0 lead and held on for a 3-2 win over Hartford at Dunkin’ Donuts Park. Harrisburg scored first in the first on a run scoring triple by Drew Ward. Then in the seventh, Tyler Goeddel hit a two-run home run giving the Sens a 3-0 lead. Hartford scored twice in the seventh but that’s as close as they would get. Wil Crowe started and earned the win, improving to 3-0. Aaron Barrett pitched a perfect ninth for his fifth save. Harrisburg improves to 19-4 while Hartford falls to 11-13.

Turning Point
Leading by a 1-0 score in the bottom of the seventh, Chuck Taylor walked with two outs to extend the inning for Tyler Goeddel. Goeddel, homerless this season, hit a 1-2 pitch into the upper deck in right to give the Senators a 3-0, providing them with the cushion they would need to win the game.

On Capitol Hill
Wil Crowe started and tossed five shutout innings striking out four and uncharacteristically walking four while throwing 76 pitches, 51 strikes. Hartford put a runner on base against him in every inning but the fifth. Dan Jennings tossed a perfect sixth inning, throwing just 13 pitches. Joan Baez retired the first two batters in the seventh before allowing back-to-back doubles then committing a throwing error to allow two runs, one earned. In the eighth, he walked the leadoff batter, who then stole second, but Baez buckled down and struck out the next three batters. Aaron Barrett struck out two in the ninth for the save.

With the Gavel
There was just enough offense Sunday afternoon as the Senators scattered seven offensive hits. Tyler Goeddel had two singles to go with him two-run home run. Drew Ward had an RBI triple. Rhett Wiseman had two hits and Luis Sardinas chipped in a hit.


  • It was the seventh Sens one-run win against just one loss.
  • They’re 6-1 against Hartford this season.
  • Harrisburg has won all eight series they’ve played thus far this year.
  • The 19-4 record is the best record after 23 games in modern franchise history. 
  • With the three hits, Tyler Goeddel raised his season average to .222.
  • Chuck Taylor had his second outfield assist at second base this year.

On Deck
Tonight the Senators open a three-game series in Reading with a 6:45 p.m. first pitch.

Potomac (High-A Carolina League):

Saturday: The Potomac Nationals (9-14) fell behind early to the Carolina Mudcats (13-10) on Saturday evening, and couldn’t erase their early deficit in a 13-6 loss.

3B Osvaldo Abreu, who drove in five runs with a trio of doubles in Friday night’s slugfest victory, added two more hits and four more RBI in the loss.

The Mudcats jumped ahead in the first inning off starter RHP Kyle Johnston (L, 1-4), as DH Payton Henry hit a solo home run to right field. It marked the beginning of a memorable day for Henry, who drove in five runs in a three-hit, two-homer performance.

In the second inning, Carolina got RBI doubles from 1B Pat McInerney and CF Tristen Lutz to extend their lead. A throwing error from 2B Cole Freeman ultimately led to three unearned runs, and contributed to Johnston’s early departure from the game. The righty was charged with eight runs in total, leaving after retiring only five batters.

RHP Jeremy McKinney allowed two inherited runners to score before he got the final out of the seven-run second, and an 8-0 lead would prove to be more than enough for Carolina starter RHP Nelson Hernandez (W, 3-0). The righty faced one over the minimum through four innings before running into trouble in the fifth.

DH KJ Harrison, fresh off a four-hit game in his Friday debut, led off the fifth with a single and Jakson Reetzfollowed with a walk. SS David Masters got Potomac on the board with an RBI single, and Abreu scored another with his first of two hits. Freeman drove in the third run of the inning with a fielder’s choice, but 1BAldrem Corredor grounded to short with the bases loaded to end the threat.

With the lead cut to 8-3, Carolina answered back with five runs in the bottom of the fifth off McKinney. McInerney sent an opposite-field two-run homer to right, and later in the inning Henry did the same with two men aboard for his second homer of the game. The offensive outburst extended the Mudcats lead to a game-high ten runs.

Potomac was quick to retaliate with another three-run frame in the sixth, getting a bases-clearing double from Abreu off RHP Matt Hardy. With 16 runs batted in on the season, Abreu now leads all P-Nats players. Abreu was left at third base, however, marking the final time the P-Nats would threaten in the game.

LHP Hayden Howard got the final ten outs for the Nationals, establishing a season high for Potomac relievers with eight strikeouts. RHP Christian Meister and LHP Clayton Andrews combined to finish off the game for the Mudcats, who evened the three-game series at one game apiece.

Sunday: The Potomac Nationals (9-15) missed an opportunity to win their first road series of the season on Sunday, falling 2-1 to the Carolina Mudcats (14-10) in walk-off fashion. DH Pat McInerney won the game for Carolina with a bases-loaded single in the ninth inning.

It was a change of pace from the first two games of the series, which saw a combined 41 runs scored between the teams. It marked the first walk-off loss of the season for the P-Nats, who fell to six games below the .500 mark for the first time.

Potomac got a stellar spot start from LHP Grant Borne, who turned in 5.0 innings of two-hit, one-run ball. They briefly took a 1-0 lead in the third inning off RHP Drew Rasmussen when CF Armond Upshaw reached on an infield single and RF Nick Banks brought him home with an RBI double to right-center.

The lead would be short-lived, as Mudcats CF Tristen Lutz broke up Borne’s nascent no-hit bid with one out in the fourth inning with a solo home run to left. Borne finished strong, retiring the final five batters he faced for his longest outing of the year.

Rasmussen, limited by a pitch count in his continued return from injury, departed after 3.0 innings. Carolina’s bullpen took over from there, with RHPs Matt Smith and Rodrigo Benoit (W, 1-0) combining for 6.0 innings of hitless relief. Potomac got 3.0 innings of shutout ball from RHP Steven Fuentes, who lowered his season ERA to 0.60 in the process.

In the ninth inning, RHP Frankie Bartow (L, 0-1) hit Lutz to put the leadoff man aboard. C Payton Henry flew to left, but RF Rob Henry and 1B Ryan Aguilar drew walks to load the bases. McInerney ran the count to 3-2 before lining a single to center field, scoring Lutz to win the game.

Hagerstown (Low-A South Atlantic League):

Saturday: The Hagerstown Suns fell 13-2 because of a barrage of seven home runs from the Greensboro Grasshoppers at historic Municipal Stadium Saturday.

The two squads went back and forth early in the contest. Hagerstown (10-13) connected in the first with two runs on three hits.Gilbert Lara and Jacob Rhinesmith went back-to-back to make it 2-1 Suns. Lara belted a double to score Cody Wilson following a lead-off single.A base hit to center from Rhinesmith brought Lara home.

Tim Cate (L, 1-2) went six innings for his third straight quality start. The lefty also set a career-high in strikeouts with eight. Leif Stromtook over in the seventh and ran into a buzzsaw as Greensboro scored five runs on three hits, including two home runs. Strom was pulled after 0.2 innings in favor of Jared Brasher. The Alabama native could not keep the ball in the park allowing a pair of home runs in the eighth and one in the ninth.

The shortstop, Connor Kaiser cleared the right center field wall in the seventh. Kaiser’s second home run of the day scored three to put the Grasshoppers in front, 6-2. After Stromwalked Mason Martin, a home run from Zack Konecompleted the five-run seventh.

 With one out in the first, Kaiserlifted a ball to right for the first Greensboro run of the afternoon.  

Fabricio Macias collected a home run in the fifth for a 3-2 advantage. The left fielder struck again in the eighth for two runs and an 11-2 lead.

Earlier in the second, Greensboro tied the game as Rodolfo Castro reached on an error and came home on a groundout from Macias. The fifth home run came from Castrowith a moonshot to right center field in the eighth. Brett Kinneman joined the homer party in the final frame with a two-run shot, his third against Hagerstown.

On the mound, Osvaldo Bido (W, 4-0) allowed two earned runs on four hits in seven innings with no walks and four punchouts. Three of those four hits allowed came in the first. The eighth inning belong to Samuel Reyes. The 2016 international free agent signee threw a scoreless frame with a strikeout. Nick Mears finished the game with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Sunday: A nine-run first inning kept the Suns out of contention, as they fell 14-4 to the Grasshoppers, but Gilbert Lara  hit a single in the eighth to increase his hitting streak to 14 games at Municipal Stadium Sunday afternoon.

The shortstop finished the day 2-4 with a two-run homer in the ninth inning. He hit a single to right in the eighth to officially extend his streak to tie him with Jarred Kelenic for the longest hitting streak in Class-A baseball.

Despite Lara increasing his hitting streak, the Suns fell behind quickly in the game. Jake Irvin (L, 0-3) lasted just one inning in the start and surrendered nine runs, all earned to the Grasshoppers (14-10). Nine consecutive Greensboro batters reached base safely, capped off with a Jonah Davis  grand slam to push Hagerstown down 9-0 before they even got a chance to bat.

Relievers Jackson Stoeckinger and Jhonatan German both worked three innings in relief, allowing just three runs in the loss, while Aaron Fletcher finished the game for the Suns, allowing two unearned runs in the ninth.

Omar Meregildo had a strong night at the plate, he scored both of the Suns two runs prior to Lara’s homer in the ninth. Pablo O’Connor moved him around the basepaths with a pair of doubles. The left fielder finished the day 3-for-4.

After an off day, the Suns head to Asheville to play the Tourists in a three-game set beginning Tuesday. RHP Francys Peguero (1-1, 2.57 ERA) gets the nod for Hagerstown, while Asheville has yet to announce their probable starter. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. at McCormick Field.

Top photo: Harrisburg Senators

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