Washington Nationals Minor League Report: April 4

Opening Day was one week ago for the Major Leaguers. One week later, it is the prospects’ turn! The Minor League Baseball season began Thursday, and MSB is here to provide you updates on how the Washington Nationals minor league affiliates are doing.

From staff and wire reports:

Fresno (AAA): The final professional baseball game in the country to end Thursday night was well worth the wait for fans of the Fresno Grizzlies (1-0), and not just because of the post-game fireworks. Solo homers by Collin Cowgill (2-for-3, BB, 2 runs) in the second inning and Jacob Wilson in the fourth steadied Fresno on Pacific Coast League opening night. Taylor Gushue came off the bench to deliver a game-ending, pinch-hit RBI single on a low line drive to center field to win it for the Grizzlies 5-4 over the Reno Aces (0-1) in the 10th inning.

Matt Reynolds (2-for-3, double, RBI, run, walk) and Alec Keller (RBI single, game-winning run) also delivered run-scoring hits for the home side. After jumping to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on an Abraham Almonte two-run double, Reno rallied from a 4-2 deficit to send the game into extras thanks to a Kevin Cron solo homer in the eighth and a Domingo Leyba two-out RBI triple in the ninth before Fresno’s victorious response.

Grizz lefty and MLB veteran Vidal Nuno (1-0) retired the side in order with three ground balls in the 10th, collecting the winning decision. Joey Krehbiel (0-1) was saddled with the loss for Reno.  

Top Performers: Fresno Grizzlies (Washington Nationals)

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

• 2B Matt Reynolds (2-3, 2B, RBI, R, BB)

• 3B Jacob Wilson (1-3, HR)

Top Performers: Reno Aces (Arizona Diamondbacks)

• RHP Taylor Clarke (ND, 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO)

• 1B Kevin Cron (1-4, HR, 2 R, BB)

• C Caleb Joseph (2-4, 2B)

On that Fres-Note: The Grizzlies are now 9-13 all-time on Opening Day and 1-3 against Reno. A Giants-Affiliated team dropped a 5-4 decision in 12 innings on April 8, 2010, on the road against the Aces (Fresno catcher was Buster Posey, 3-for-5, 2 runs) before a pair of Astros squads lost consecutive openers to Reno on April 6, 2017, (13-6 at Chukchansi Park) and April 5, 2018 (10-2 at Greater Nevada Field).

Summary- Harrisburg’s Rhett Wiseman hit a three-run homer in the second inning to give the Senators a 3-1 lead. Wil Crowe pitched five innings of one-run ball in earning his first win on the season in the Senators 8-4 victory over the Baysox at FNB Field on Opening Night.

Harrisburg (AA): 

Turning point- The Senators led 4-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Austin Davidson singled and Drew Ward walked putting runners at first and second with no outs. After two strikeouts, Rhett Wiseman walked to load the bases. Chuck Taylor fell behind 1-2 before drilling a high fastball deep into the night, clearing the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Cheap Seats in left field for a grand slam, giving the Senators an 8-1 lead.

On the hill-Wil Crowe started and pitched five innings, earning the win. Crowe allowed a run on three hits before giving way to three relievers. The win was the first in Double-A for Crowe. James Bourque struck out four in 1.2 innings of work, while allowing a run on two hits. Ronald Pena tossed 1.1 innings and allowed two runs. Aaron Barrett pitched the ninth inning, striking out one, as he continues his climb back to the big leagues.

At the dish- Drew Ward had two hits, both doubles, and scored three runs. Tres Barrera drove in a run with two hits in his Double-A debut. Rhett Wiseman hit a three-run home run and Chuck Taylor had two hits and a grand slam. The Senators had nine hits, with four of the extra base variety.

On deck- The Senators and Bowie Baysox play game two of their four-game series Friday night at 7 p.m. The Sens send RHP Erick Fedde to the hill against RHP Hunter Harvey for the Baysox. 

Potomac (High-A): It was a night to remember for the Fayetteville Woodpeckers (1-0), but one to forgot for the Potomac Nationals (0-1) in the first game of the 2019 Carolina League Season. On the backs of a four-run third inning and eight-run fourth inning, the Woodpeckers tallied a 15-0 victory in their first game under their new team moniker. Neither team’s starting pitcher recorded more than seven outs, while the two squads drew a combined 17 walks. Potomac didn’t register a hit until there were two outs in the home half of the sixth inning and tallied just one total in the loss.

The P-Nats had chances early, as they drew a pair of walks and loaded the bases in the first inning but came up empty. The club drew another pair of walks in the second inning, but again, came up with no runs. Two HBP’s in the third inning led to two more stranded baserunners for Potomac. The Red, White, & Blue went 0-9 with RISP and left 12 runners on base.

After 2.1 perfect frames from RHP Kyle Johnston (L, 0-1), the Potomac starter got into trouble. C Michael Papierski doubled with one out in the top of the third inning and he scored three batters later on an RBI single from LF Corey Julks. DH Seth Beer followed with a based loaded walk, while a two-run double from 1B Jake Adams gave Fayetteville a 4-0 lead and knocked Johnston out of the game.

RHP Carlos Acevedo got the final out of the third inning for Potomac but struggled in the fourth frame. Acevedo faced seven batters and all seven reached base. CF Jacob Meyers tallied two RBIs with a single, while Beer picked up his second RBI of the night on a bases loaded HBP. RHP A.J. Bogucki entered for Acevedo and surrendered a grand slam to Adams, which made it an eight-run inning and gave the Woodpeckers a 12-0 lead. Fayetteville added two more runs in the seventh inning and another in the ninth frame, as they built a 15-0 lead.

Potomac put multiple runners on base in each of the first four innings and five of the first six frames but failed to record a hit until LF Telmito Agustin singled with two outs in the sixth frame. LHP Parker Mushinski, who relieved RHP Carlos Sanabria (W, 1-0) to begin the bottom of the fifth inning, tossed four-shutout frames out of the bullpen and retired the final seven batters that he faced. RHP Tommy DeJuneas followed with a 1-2-3 ninth inning, as the Woodpeckers’ bullpen spun seven-shutout innings in the victory.

As Potomac turns the page, RHP Jackson Tetreault (0-0, 0.00) is set to make his 2019 debut. Last season, Tetreault went 1-1 with a 4.37 ERA in four starts for Potomac and picked up a victory in the Northern Division Championship Series for Potomac. For the Woodpeckers, RHP J.P. France (0-0, 0.00) is set to make his Carolina League debut. In 2018, France appeared in 10 games out of the bullpen between the Short-Season and Single-A levels. He allowed just one run in 18 innings combined.

First pitch at Northwest Federal Field on Friday night is set for 7:05pm.

Hagerstown (Low-A): Gage Canning smashed a homer in the top of the ninth with nobody out to cut the Greensboro lead to one, but the Hagerstown Suns were not able to completely erase the Greensboro Grasshopper lead in a 9-8 loss at First Bank National Field Thursday night.

Gage Canning and Gilbert Lara each hit a two-run homer in the loss.

The Suns (0-1) bats were excited to get back to business on opening night. Cody Wilson opened up the scoring in the first, drawing a walk from Grasshoppers (1-0) starter Steven Jennings before stealing second and advancing to third on a throwing error from catcher Grant Koch. The Hub City’s first run of 2019 was scored when Israel Pineda dribbled out to short and Wilson crossed home to give the Suns a 1-0 lead.

After the Suns raced out to a 5-2 lead, the game was all Greensboro. Brett Kinneman hit a two-run homer in the first to score Mason Martin and give Greensboro their first lead of the game.

In the third, Tomas Alastre struggled to throw strikes. The righty beaned Connor Kaiser, and the Pirate prospect advanced all the way home after two wild pitches.

With Greensboro back in striking distance, entering the fourth 6-3, center fielder Lolo Sanchez was hit by a pitch. Sanchez stole second with two outs in the inning. Next Fabricio Macias reached on an error from Suns shortstop Jose Sanchez that plated Lolo Sanchez and cut the Suns lead to two. Kaiser drew a walk that involved two more Alastre wild pitches to allow Macias to score and end the starters night with the score set at 6-5.

Chandler Day (0-1) entered the game and allowed Martin to single and Kinneman to double, scoring both Kaiser and Martin to give the Grasshoppers their first lead since the first.

The bullpen ended the night on a positive note when Jackson Stoeckinger came in. The lefty worked two hitless innings to start his second season in the South Atlantic League. 

Samuel Reyes (1-0) came in for 1.2 innings of relief to earn the win for Greensboro before Logan Stoelke (S, 1) closed things out after allowing the Canning two-run homer.

In the home half of the fifth, the Grasshoppers added two more runs to keep Hagerstown at bay.

Jamori Blash  was a force to be reckoned with in his South Atlantic League debut. The first basemen knocked a pair of doubles and scored two runs.

The Suns will be back in action tonight against the Grasshoppers at First National Bank Field with first pitch set for 7:00 p.m. LHP Tim Cate (0-0) gets the nod for Hagerstown and Greensboro counters with RHP Osvaldo Bido (0-0).

Top photo curtesy of the Fresno Grizzlies

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