Washington Nationals Minor League Report April 7:
From staff and wire reports:
Fresno (AAA): For the second straight game, the Fresno Grizzlies (3-1) were dealt a winning hand, beating the Reno Aces (1-3) 6-3 Sunday afternoon. Matt Reynolds followed his grand slam last night with a two-run shot that flew over the batter’s eye to dead center in the bottom of the first. Later, Jose Marmolejos blasted a two-run dinger to deep right field. His homer put Fresno ahead 6-0.
Kevin Cron put Reno on the board in the top of the eighth when he sliced a double to the gap, clearing the bases. Cron has six RBI through the first four games of the season.
Aces starter Vinny Nittoli (0-1) suffered the decision after three innings of work while Paolo Espino (1-0) picked up the win. Espino allowed one hit and three walks while striking out six through five shutout frames. He also went 2-for-2 at the plate, scoring once. Jimmy Cordero secured his first save of the season for the Grizzlies.
Top Performers: Fresno Grizzlies (Washington Nationals)
• SS Matt Reynolds (2-4, HR, 2 RBI, R, BB)
• 1B Jose Marmolejos (1-3, HR, 2 RBI, R, BB)
• RHP Paolo Espino (5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K)
Top Performers: Reno Aces (Arizona Diamondbacks)
• 3B Kevin Cron (2-4, 2B, 3 RBI)
• C Caleb Joseph (1-3, R, BB)
• LHP Alex Young (3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K)
ON THAT FRES-NOTE: Today Paolo Espino became the first Grizzlies’ pitcher to record a hit in a game sinceChris Heston on August 27, 2014 at Memphis. Espino is the first Fresno pitcher to get a base hit at home since Kelvin Marte on August 16, 2014 against Colorado Springs at Chukchansi Park. Espino is the first Grizz pitcher with two hits in a game since Edwin Escobar on May 28, 2014 at Reno. The Grizzlies spent four seasons playing American League ball (2015-2018) as a Houston Astros affiliate, before pitchers returned to the batter’s box regularly for 2019 against other National League affiliated-teams, with Fresno now the Washington Nationals’ Triple-A farm.
Harrisburg (AA Eastern League): The Harrisburg Senators dropped the series finale to Bowie 6-2 and thus failed to start 4-0 for the first time in their modern history. Even with the loss, the Senators still took three of four from Bowie in their season opening four game series.
After scoring 14 runs in the first three games, the Senators couldn’t muster much offense on Sunday afternoon. Bowie scored five runs in the second, with three coming on a controversial three-run double by Ryan McKenna. The Sens didn’t manage their first hit until a single by Drew Ward in the fourth inning. They scored their first run in the sixth when Chuck Taylor drove in Ian Sagdal on an error. Sagdal tripled leading off the inning. The second and final run for the Sens came on a bases loaded double-play scoring Tyler Goeddel.
Sterling Sharp started and pitched five innings allowing five runs. He was solid in the first two innings and his final two frames. After the five runs scored, he struck out of the next eight batters. Taylor Guilbeau and Jacob Condra-Bogan both pitched two innings in their first appearances of the season. Condra-Bogan pitched two scoreless frames and struck out three.
Harrisburg Senators Top Performers
• Jacob Condra-Bogan, 2IP 3K
• Ian Sagdal 1-for-3 3B RS
Filibusters: The Senators last started a season 3-0 in 2006. They went on to finish 67-75 under the guidance of John Stearns. Sunday marked the first game of the series the Senators didn’t hit a home run. Bowie scored first in all four games but failed to hold the lead in the first three games of the series. Drew Ward has had at least one hit in each of the first four games.
Potomac (High-A Carolina League): The Potomac Nationals (3-1) won their third consecutive game on Sunday afternoon, defeating the Fayetteville Woodpeckers (1-3) by a score of 6-2 to clinch a series victory and remain tied for first place in the young 2019 season.
In his first appearance of the year, Nick Raquet (W, 1-0) led the way with 5.0 innings of four-hit, two-run ball. He received ample run support early to overcome a first inning home run from Fayetteville’s Scott Manea, his second in as many games.
Behind 1-0 heading to the bottom of the first, the Nationals wasted no time in answering the deficit. Cole Freeman and Jack Sundberg led off with back-to-back singles, and Anderson Franco brought them both home with a two-run double for his first hit of the year. A batter later, Jakson Reetz drove in Franco with an RBI single to put the P-Nats up 3-1.
Fayetteville starter Chad Donato (L, 0-1) was pulled after 0.2 innings, allowing four hits and three runs. Though reliever Cesar Rosado got through the second and third innings with little trouble, his three consecutive walks to start the fourth ultimately cost him two earned runs when Freeman brought home his first two RBI of the year with a double down the left field line.
The Nationals added a run in the fifth on Osvaldo Abreu ‘s two-out RBI double off Carlos Sanabria. With a 6-2 lead heading to the sixth, Raquet was relieved by Frankie Bartow . The 22-year-old righty impressed in his Carolina League debut, allowing only two hits in 3.0 scoreless innings. Jeremy McKinney entered in the ninth, and got the final three outs to nail down the Potomac win.
Potomac will look to continue their early success on Monday as they welcome the Carolina Mudcats (Milwaukee Brewers) to Woodbridge. Malvin Pena (0-0, 0.00) makes his 2019 debut for the P-Nats against Carolina’s Christian Taugner.
First pitch at Northwest Federal Field on Monday evening is set for 7:05pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 6:50pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com, at http://bit.ly/P-NatsBroadcast, or on the TuneIn Radio App.
Hagerstown (Low-A South Atlantic League): The Hagerstown Suns dropped the series finale 2-1 in 10 innings after surrendering a 1-0 lead in the eighth inning against the Greensboro Grasshoppers at First National Bank Field Sunday afternoon.
Raul Siri singled to score Patrick Dorrian from third and give the Grasshoppers (3-1) their first walk-off win of 2019. The shortstop began the inning at second before moving to third on a Grant Koch sacrifice fly before Siri came to the dish.
Suns (1-3) starter Francys Peguero got the ball rolling with five two-hit innings of scoreless work. He handed the ball to Angel Guillen who did not allow a baserunner in his first two innings of work. He came back out in the eighth and walked Siri before giving way to Carson Teel (0-1).
Teel left one up to Lolo Sanchez, who clubbed a one-out triple to score Siri and tie the game 1-1.
Hagerstown picked up their lone run in the fourth inning. After an Israel Pineda single and a Jacob Rhinesmith double, Gilbert Lara came up to the dish with one away. The shortstop struck a ball to short that scored Pineda and pushed the Suns ahead 1-0. The groundout allowed Lara to pick up his team-leading seventh RBI of the season.
The offensive woes with runners in scoring position continued Sunday afternoon. The Suns finished 0-for-5 with runners at second or third base, bringing their season total to 6-for-33 (.181).
The Suns will try to shake off the loss while starting a a new series against the Lakewood BlueClaws at First Energy Park tomorrow at 6:35 p.m. Hagertown sends RHP Joan Adon (0-0, 0.00 ERA) to the bump, while Lakewood tosses RHP Kevin Gowdy (0-0, 0.00 ERA) on the mound.