Minor League Roundup: Richmond swept, P-Nats, ‘Cats, SalemSox win

Akron completes sweep of Squirrels The Akron Aeros (26-14) completed a three-game sweep of the Richmond Flying Squirrels (20-23) with a, 3-2, victory in front of 3,041 at Canal Park on Sunday afternoon.  It marks the first time the Squirrels have been swept this season.  Richmond also has now equaled their longest losing-skid of the season at three games.

The Aeros once again got out to a quick start, plating a run on four straight hits to start the first inning.  Richmond right-hander Craig Westcott surrendered back-to-back singles to Tim Fedroff and Ben Copeland to start the inning.  Fedroff was thrown out trying to go first-to-third on Copeland’s single to right field, but Copeland took second on the throw.  He scored from there when Adam Abraham lifted a double off the wall in center field.  Squirrels’ center fielder Gary Brown nearly made the catch on the ball as he crashed into the center-field fence.  Brown was unharmed on the play, but the Aeros took a 1-0 lead.

The Squirrels had chances against Akron lefty T.J. McFarland through the first three innings, but couldn’t cash in.  They finally broke through with a run in the fourth to tie the game, 1-1.  Juan Perez singled through the hole on the left-side of the infield with one out.  He promptly stole second base and scored when Johnny Monell cracked his second single of the day to right field.

Akron wasted no time grabbing the lead back, picking up their own run in the fourth off of Westcott.  Westcott hit Thomas Neal to start the inning, and Neal stole second base.  Two batters later, David Stoneburner cracked a single into center field to bring in Neal for a 2-1 lead.

The Aeros tacked a run onto to their lead in the fifth inning.  Copeland led off and looped a double down the left-field line.  Abraham grounded out to advance Copeland to third base, and Neal delivered an RBI single to put Akron in front, 3-1.

Westcott (3-4) turned in a quality-start over six innings, but took the loss.  He was charged with three earned runs on 10 hits, walked three and struck out two.

McFarland (8-1) surrendered 12 hits through seven innings of work, but allowed Richmond just one run.  He earned his league-best eighth win of the season, walking none and striking out five.  McFarland rolled four double-plays to aid his effort, and the Squirrels stranded six runners on base during his time on the mound.

Right-hander Daryl Maday worked two scoreless innings of relief behind Westcott to extend his scoreless-innings string to 13 1/3.  Akron right-hander Bryan Price held off the Squirrels in the eighth inning and returned for the ninth.  Monell led off with a solo-home run to right field, slicing the deficit to a lone run, but Richmond got no further.  Price finished off the win, earning his second save of the season.

The Squirrels travel to Bowie, MD, to open a four-game series with the Bowie Baysox (Baltimore Orioles) on Monday night at Prince George’s Stadium at 7:05 PM.  Richmond LHP Jason Stevenson (1-4, 5.82) will start the opener against Bowie LHP Cole McCurry (0-6, 6.23). Pregame coverage will begin at 6:35 PM on Sports Radio 910 and SportsRadio910.com.

 

P-Nats ride three-run first to win The Potomac Nationals scored three runs in the first inning in a 4-2 victory over the Carolina Mudcats Sunday afternoon at Pfitzner Stadium.  In a spot start, Ryan Demmin tossed four scoreless innings for the P-Nats.

Potomac started their scoring in the first against Carolina for the second straight day.  Francisco Soriano walked against Mudcats starter LHP Mike Rayl with one out. Soriano stole second then third and scored on a throwing error by Carolina catcher Dwight Childs when advancing to third to give the P-Nats a 1-0 lead.  Justin Bloxom knocked a solo homer over the left field fence to increase the Nats lead to 2-0.  It was his fifth blast of the season.  Michael Taylor doubled to right-center field and scored on a two-out single by Randolph Oduber to increase the Nationals lead to 3-0.

The Nationals added another run in the fourth on a solo homer by Oduber — his fifth blast of the year.  The shot out to left extended the P-Nats lead to 4-0.  Rayl (3-5) ended his day tossing six innings with four runs and six hits against.

Demmin made his second spot start of the year for the Nationals and evaded trouble through four scoreless innings.  He allowed runners in each inning but used a season-high five strikeouts to not allow a run.

The Mudcats would touch up the Nationals bullpen for two runs.  Ronny Rodriguez hit a solo home run off of Shane McCatty to lead off the sixth to cut the lead to 4-1. Carolina added another tally on an unearned run in the seventh against Joe Testa to get within 4-2 of Potomac.

But Neil Holland shut the door on any Carolina comeback with two scoreless innings for the save.  Holland got his first save of the season by retiring six of the seven batters he faced in the eighth and ninth innings.

McCatty (1-0) was the first reliever out of the bullpen replacing Demmin and picked up his first win of the season.

Tomorrow the Nationals start a six-game road trip in Wilmington for their first trip to Delaware of the season to face the Blue Rocks.  Matt Swynenberg (3-1, 3.95) gets the start for the P-Nats with the contest set to start at 6:35.  Potomac returns home on Monday, May 28th to face the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.  For tickets, please call us at 703-590-2311.

 

Hillcats off the schneid  It was all Gus Schlosser in a 5-1 victory over the Winston-Salem Dash. Schlosser struck out a career-high nine batters and went five-plus innings of no-hit ball. Tommy La Stella added his fourth bomb of the season to lead the ‘Cats offense.

Before Gus Schlosser’s stellar game began, the Hillcats provided him with a bit of a cushion. Nick Ahmed was the first base runner of the game, reaching on a walk. The very next batter was Tommy La Stella and drove the third pitch he saw from Spencer Arroyo over the left field wall and off the walkway at beautiful BB&T Ballpark. The two-run homer was La Stella’s fourth of the season.

Now Schlosser was ready to deal and certainly did that. He retired the first 11 batters of the game with six going down with a “K” on the scorecard. It wasn’t until Trayce Thompson worked a walk in the fourth that the perfect game would end.

Arroyo would cruise through his next three frames, racking up three strike outs on the way. The Hillcats did put some pressure on him in the fifth with a pair of hits, but a base running blunder ended with Matt Lipka rounding second on an infield hit and being thrown out at third. That would be Arroyo’s last full inning after leaving with an undisclosed injury in the sixth. Chris Bassit would take over for his injured teammate.

Finally, the Dash were able to get a positive number in the hit column. Nick Ciolli drove the first pitch of the inning into left field past a diving Edward Salcedo. Ciolli got himself in scoring position with a stolen base. Juan Silverio followed him with a double into the left field gap; Ciolli scored to cut the lead to 2-1. Wagner followed with an infield hit and Dan Black was intentionally walked to load the bases for Brady Shoemaker. It was Schlosser who got the better end of the battle with Shoemaker grounding a ball weakly back to Schlosser for the final out of the inning.

The ‘Cats would add an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Matt Weaver walked to start the inning and new catcher, Chad Comer, laid down a bunt to get him to second. Weaver advanced to third on a Lipka ground ball. Nick Ahmed got his first RBI of the day with a double to right. Weaver easily scored and the Hillcats held tight to a 3-1 lead.

Lynchburg would add to the lead in the next frame. Salcedo got the inning going with an infield single. Robby Hefflinger hit a shot to the left-center field gap, the left fielder Shoemaker would race over to try to make a play. The ball would go off the end of his mitt, Salcedo scored and Hefflinger slid into third. It was ruled an error on Shoemaker. Hefflinger would score on a Mycal Jones sharp single past the infield to make it 5-1.

Juan Jaime came in to finish the game off for the ‘Cats. It was a rough outing for the hard-throwing righty. Shoemaker and Michael Earley each had a double with the latter resulting in a run. Jaime would end the game one batter after Earley’s RBI double by fanning Ciolli.

Gus Schlosser (5-2) picked up the win. He went 5.0+ of no-hit ball, 7.0 innings overall, he allowed one run on four hits. He also walked one, intentional walked another and struck out a career-high nine batters. Spencer Arroyo (2-2) got the loss to add insult to injury. He went 5.1 innings, gave up two runs on four hits. He walked one and sat down four.

Lynchburg will get the day off tomorrow before making the trip to Myrtle Beach to take on the Pelicans. Lefty Dimasther Delgado (1-1, 4.50) will be on the bump for the Hillcats. Wilmer Font(1-3 4.57) will get the nod for the Pelicans. Tune in and listen live to all the action on 105.5 FM KD Country and online at lynchburg-hillcats.com starting with the Hillcats On-Deck Show coming on the air at 6:40pm with Erik Wilson and Mike Viso.

 

Three-run seventh helps Salem avoid sweep While Frederick’s starter dealt six scoreless innings for the third straight day, the Salem Sox offense awakened with a three-run seventh to overcome a 2-0 deficit and escape Sunday’s series finale with a 3-2 victory.

Kyle Simon permitted just two hits in the first six frames, but the Sox pounded reliever David Walters for three hits in the seventh, including a laser-beam two-RBI single from Xander Bogaerts that transformed a 2-1 score into a 3-2 advantage. Brandon Workman pitched a quality start to keep Salem close, while Andrew Jones earned his first Carolina League with two perfect innings out of the pen. Mike Olmstead picked up his league-leading ninth save by dealing a scoreless ninth to clinch the win.

Workman allowed two runs on five hits in six innings, yielding both runs on a Michael Mosby triple in the fourth. Workman struck out seven and walked one, but the Sox trailed 2-0 when he departed.

Simon only gave up two hits in six innings, but walked five and hit a man, leading to Salem having baserunners in every single inning. With that said, Salem grounded into a pair of double plays and the clutch hit remained elusive. When Simon completed his outing, the Red Sox had been held scoreless for 17 consecutive innings since the seventh on Friday.

The seventh on Sunday turned out to be Salem’s offensive catharsis, with four straight baserunners reaching after Matty Johnson flew out to begin the frame. Jackie Bradley, Jr. singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch, scoring on Sean Coyle’s single to right that Jeremy Nowak bobbled, enabling Coyle to scoot to second. Travis Shaw walked, creating the opportunity for a successful double steal that moved Coyle to third and Shaw to second. With the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position, Bogaerts laced a line drive over the head of the third-baseman for a two-run single to put the Sox on top 3-2. Bogaerts advanced to second on the throw to the plate and then moved to third as the toss to second got away.

With Christian Vazquez batting, a bizarre sequence unfolded and ended in the first ejection of the season for Salem Manager Billy McMillon. A pitch from Walters squirted past the catcher Adam Davis, but Bogaerts decided not to try and score. Presuming that the runner was on his way, Davis flipped the ball toward the pitcher at the plate, and the errant toss skipped slowly up the third base line. At that point, Bogaerts attempted to try and spring home, but the Keys third baseman, Mosby, scooped up the rolling ball and threw out the runner at the plate. Or did he?

The home plate umpire, Garrett Corl, had mysteriously called timeout in the middle of the play, saying that the play was over. Bogaerts raced back toward third, thinking he would be safe there, while Keys Manager Orlando Gomez argued the situation with Corl. After discussing the situation with his umpire partner, Aaron Larsen, the arbiters ruled Bogaerts out, igniting the argument from McMillon that eventually resulted in his ejection.

Thankfully, Jones and Olmsted did not allow Frederick to move a runner beyond first base in the final two innings, rendering Bogaerts’ potential run as moot. A two-out single in the ninth from Aaron Baker prolonged the game, but Olmsted picked up his third strikeout of the ninth by punching out Mosby to finish the victory.

The win lifts Salem to 23-17 through 40 games, and the Red Sox are currently one half game behind the 24-17 Winston-Salem Dash in the Southern Division. On Tuesday, the Sox will welcome the Dash to LewisGale Field for a three-game series that will vault the winner into the top of the division heading into next weekend.

Following a day off on Monday, Salem will send Miguel Celestino to the mound on Tuesday against Winston’s Jon Bachanov at 7:05. Wednesday’s probable matchup features to righty Ryans, as Ryan Pressly and Ryan Buch will meet in an 11 AM morning contest. On Thursday, first round phenom Matt Barnes will make his LewisGale Field debut opposite Matt Heidenreich. Like the series opener, the finale will also start at 7:05.


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