Minors Recaps: Squirrels win, P-Nats outslug ‘Cats, Salem routs Keys

Squirrels top Trenton The Richmond Flying Squirrels (23-25) strolled past the Trenton Thunder (24-21), 4-1, behind right-handers Craig Westcott and Austin Fleet at the Diamond on Friday night.  6,679 watched the win for Richmond in the first meeting of the season between the two clubs.

After three scoreless innings, the Squirrels got on the board first against Trenton left-hander Shaeffer Hall in the bottom of the fourth.  Daniel Mayora led off and laced a triple to dead-center field.  Tommy Joseph, playing his first game since May 13th, followed with an RBI double into the left-field corner for a 1-0 lead.  It was Joseph’s second hit of the night.  Chris Dominguez moved Joseph to third with an infield-single and Ehire Adrianza brought him in for a 2-0 advantage with a fielder’s choice groundout.

The Thunder plated their only run of the night against Westcott in the top of the fifth inning.  Jose Pirela started the inning with a double.  Westcott recorded the first two outs of the inning, but Abraham Almonte notched a two-out double to bring in Pirela.

Richmond got right back after Hall in the bottom of the fifth inning.  Hall started his own trouble with a lead-off walk issued to Ryan Cavan.  Jose Flores followed and cracked a hard-ground ball to third base.  Kevin Mahoney couldn’t handle it, and his error allowed Cavan to third and Flores to second.  After Hall hit Gary Brown, Nick Liles singled to center field to plate two runs, extending the Richmond lead to 4-1.

Westcott (4-4) completed six strong innings, finished his night at 100 pitches, and earned his fourth victory of the season.  The outing marked his fifth consecutive quality-start, as he allowed just a lone run on four hits, walked two and struck out one.

Hall (4-5) also departed after the sixth, doomed to his fifth loss of the season.  Hall was charged with four runs – three earned – on seven hits.  He walked one and struck out two.

Squirrels’ right-hander Austin Fleet followed Westcott and was the only reliever Richmond needed.  He conceded just one single over three scoreless innings. He earned his second save of the year and struck out four.  Fleet struck out the side in the ninth, as he turned in his longest outing of the season.

Trenton right-hander Preston Claiborne was also stout in relief of Hall, holding the Squirrels without a hit over two scoreless innings.

Game two of the four-game series is scheduled for 6:35 PM on Saturday night at The Diamond. The Squirrels have yet to announce a starter for game two of the series.  Trenton will start RHP Brett Marshall (4-2, 2.98).  Pregame coverage will begin at 6:05 PM on Sports Radio 910 and SportsRadio910.com.

 

P-Nats outslug ‘Cats The Potomac Nationals held onto a 11-8 win over the Lynchburg Hillcats Friday night at City Stadium.  Potomac used a five-run first to get their first win on the road over their last seven tries.

The Nationals scored five runs in the first inning to get off to a quick start against Lynchburg starter RHP Cody Martin.  The key play was a missed catch of a throw by first basemen Chris Garcia with two out which opened the flood gates to three unearned runs.  The big hits: an RBI double by David Freitas and a two-out two-run double by Kevin Keyes.  Potomac’s five runs in the first were equal to the total runs scored by the P-Nats in the last two series on the road (at Carolina and Wilmington) over six games.

Potomac added runs in the second and third innings on RBI singles. Ricky Hague scored Adrian Sanchez in the second and Randolph Oduber got an RBI single with two-outs in the third to extend the Potomac advantage to 7-0.  The seven run lead equaled the biggest lead of the season for Potomac which was their home opener against Lynchburg back on April 13th.  It was the first time Potomac has led by seven runs on the road in 2012.

But the Hillcats chipped away against Nationals starter RHP Trevor Holder. Lynchburg had two outs and no one on in the fourth but scored three in the inning with Mycal Jones two-run triple being the key hit.  An RBI single from Nick Ahmed that scored Jones chased Holder from the game as he tossed three and two-thirds innings giving up three runs.

Paul Applebee came in for Holder and struggled himself.  Matt Weaver knocked an RBI single in the fifth off of Applebee to cut the Potomac lead to just 7-4.

The Nationals appeared to put the game away in the top of the sixth inning.  The P-Nats scored four runs highlighted by Michael Taylor blasting a two-run double off the wall to extend the lead to 10-4.  It was the 18th two-bagger of the year for Taylor who leads the Carolina League in that category. Potomac added another run when Oduber singled in Taylor and it was a 11-4 Nationals led.

Lynchburg came back in the bottom half of the inning with four runs of their own all off of Applebee. The inning started with Kyle Rose looking like he grounded into a out but an errant throw from Hague put him on.  Tommy La Stella hit a two-run single to bring Lynchburg within 11-6.  La Stella has knocked 14 of his 31 RBI of the year against Potomac in just seven games.  Two more runs were added off of Applebee and Neil Holland came on to get the final out of the inning to keep Potomac up 11-8 after six innings.

Lynchburg would have three more threats in the final three frames but the door was shut by Holland who was able to toss two crucial scoreless innings.  Holland (3-1) earned the win. Cameron Selik came on for the last out of the eighth and tossed a scoreless ninth for his sixth save.

The loss went to Cody Martin (5-5) who yielded seven runs with just four being earned.

The slugfest featured just one “1-2-3” inning: the top of the ninth for Potomac.  The teams combined to leave 23 players on base with only one half inning having none left on.  28 hits were belted between the two teams with none being homers.

The Potomac offense was led by a three hit day from Taylor who had three runs scored.  Hague and Freitas each reached base four times.  Nick Ahmed had five hits to lead the Lynchburg attack. Every player who started the game either had a hit or run scored.

Tomorrow the P-Nats look to win the series with RHP Matt Swynenberg (3-2, 4.57) taking the hill for the 6:05 start.  Potomac returns home on Memorial Day for a 6:05 contest with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.  For tickets, please contact us at 703-590-2311 or for more information visit www.potomacnationals.com.

 

Salem routs Keys The Keys struck first, but a two-run first inning became a quick afterthought when Drake Britton bore down and the Red Sox offense erupted for a dominating 13-2 victory on Friday night at Harry Grove Stadium. Salem put together a five-run second and a four-run fourth to grasp a 9-2 lead, adding a pair each in the sixth and seventh to prevail by 11, the largest margin of victory for the Sox this season. Every single member of the lineup reached base and scored a run, while seven of the nine drove in a run in the laugher.

Xander Bogaerts and Michael Almanzar each belted homers, with Bogaerts’ solo shot in the second opening the floodgates of the scoring. At the time, Bogaerts’ one-out bomb cut a two-run deficit in half, but the Red Sox second-inning rally had just begun. Immediately after the homer, Christian Vazquez reached on a fielding error by Garabez Rosa. Carson Blair walked, preceding consecutive RBI singles from James Kang and Felix Sanchez. Kang scored on a wild pitch, while Sanchez crossed on a sacrifice fly from Jackie Bradley, Jr., giving the Sox a 5-2 lead.

Four of the first five Keys batters had reached against Britton in the first inning, but the Salem southpaw allowed just a two-run single from Michael Flacco before navigating out of the mess. After the first, Britton allowed just one hit and one walk over the final four innings of his outing. He tossed 46 of his 68 pitches for strikes over five innings, allowing just two runs on four hits while striking out three and walking one. Having previously gone winless in seven starts against Frederick, Britton finally tasted victory over the Keys on Friday night.

The Sox poured it on with a huge two-out rally in the fourth. With Bradley and Kang on first and second with two away, Matty Johnson laced a two-run double over the head of Johnny Ruettiger in right, giving the Sox a 7-2 lead. Drew Hedman followed with another RBI double, while Almanzar singled home Hedman to make it 9-2.

In the sixth, Almanzar’s two-run blast made it 11-2, while a bases loaded walk and hit-by-pitch forced two more runs across in the seventh. Kang led the Red Sox with three runs scored and was one of four Salem Sox with multiple hits. Johnson and Almanzar each drove in three runs. Ironically, Bradley, the league’s leading hitter, finished as the only Sock without a knock. However, Bradley walked three times and drove in two runs for Salem.

The Red Sox went 6-for-7 with runners in scoring position, capitalizing on almost every opportunity. Conversely, the Keys went just 1-for-6 in similar situations.

Salem (26-18) remains a half game ahead of Winston-Salem (26-19) in the Southern Division race.

On Saturday, the Red Sox and Keys will reunite at Harry Grove Stadium for a 6 PM start. Salem will send Brandon Workman to the mound, while Frederick counters with Dylan Bundy, the fourth overall pick in last June’s draft who was recently named the top overall prospect in all of minor league baseball. It will be Bundy’s Carolina League debut after making eight starts for Low-A Delmarva, striking out 40 and walking two without allowing an earned run in 30 innings on the mound.



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