The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, earned a doubleheader split on Sunday afternoon against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. After dropping the first game, 5-2, the Chiefs rebounded for a 3-2 win in the second game on a walkoff, eighth-inning single by Jimmy Van Ostrand.
In the first game, Syracuse (6-3) struck first with an opening-inning run. Second baseman Will Rhymes tripled with one out against right-hander Ethan Martin to start the rally, and first baseman Chris Marrero completed it with a two-out double. That scored Rhymes for the game's first run.
Lehigh Valley (4-5), meanwhile, didn't have a base runner for the game's first four-and-one-third innings against Chiefs starter Yunesky Maya. But the IronPigs finally broke through with a pair of one-out singles from Josh Fields and Cody Overbeck. Two batters later, shortstop Michael Martinez tied the game with an RBI single to center field.
The IronPigs then broke the tie with four runs in the sixth inning, all charged to Maya. Pete Orr's leadoff single started the rally before Leandro Castro bunted him over to second base. After an intentional walk of Jermaine Mitchell and strikeout of Darin Ruf, Fields made the Chiefs pay with a two-run double into the right-center field gap, scoring Orr and Mitchell. Two batters later, catcher Tommy Joseph doubled in a pair, pushing the IronPigs' lead to 5-1.
The Chiefs would get one run back in the bottom of the sixth, but their bases-loaded rally was ultimately cut short. Mike Costanzo walked to begin the inning against left-hander Jake Diekman, and with one out, Micah Owings and Zach Walters also walked. With the bases full, right-hander Zach Miner entered for Diekman, and third baseman Carlos Rivero promptly greeted him with an RBI single, slicing the lead to 5-2. But the Chiefs would score no more, with a Carlos Maldonado fly out and Jeff Kobernus groundout ending the frame.
In the doubleheader's second game, Syracuse again jumped out to a first-inning lead. Rhymes and Kobernus singled against right-hander B.J. Rosenberg to start the inning, before Corey Brown reached on a throwing error by second baseman Cesar Hernandez, loading the bases. Marrero followed with a sharp single to the left side, driving in Rhymes, though third baseman Cody Asche's sprawling stop saved at least one more run. The Chiefs added a second run when Mike Costanzo grounded into a double play.
Lehigh Valley wouldn't score until the fifth inning, when Steve Susdorf's two-out double plated Steve Lerud. That run, however, was the only tally the IronPigs would claim against Chiefs starter Ryan Perry. The right-hander tallied five innings of four-hit ball, walking none and striking out four. He gave way to J.C. Romero, who cut down the IronPigs in a scoreless sixth frame.
But Lehigh Valley wasn't done, with Ruf doubling to begin the seventh inning against right-hander Erik Davis. After a pair of strikeouts, Lerud then poked a single into left field, scoring pinch-runner Jermaine Mitchell to tie the game at two.
That set the stage for the Chiefs' victorious bottom of the eighth inning. Kobernus reached on an infield single to start the frame, before Brown bunted him to second base. He then stole third on a 3-0 ball to Chris Marrero, which preceded an intentional walk of Mike Costanzo, loading the bases. After Zach Walters grounded into a force out at home plate, Van Ostrand stepped in and lined an 0-1 pitch from Mike Stutes into center field to end the game.
Syracuse next begins a four-game series with the Buffalo Bisons at 6:00 on Monday night. Chiefs left-hander Danny Rosenbaum will throw against Bisons right-hander Claudio Vargas.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.