Skole goes yard, helps Rafters swamp Solar Sox
Playing first base for the first time, Nationals prospect drives in three runs
Matt Skole had played nothing but third base since the Nationals selected him in the fifth round of the 2011 Draft out of Georgia Tech. On Wednesday afternoon, he moved across the diamond in his Arizona Fall League debut for the Salt River Rafters.
The shift seemed to agree with the 23-year-old slugger, who went 3-for-5 with a solo homer and a two-run double as the Rafters beat the Mesa Solar Sox for the second day in a row, 11-3.
Salt River jumped out to an early lead, scoring four runs in the first inning. Matt Davidson (D-backs) launched a three-run homer before Skole, the Nats' No. 12 prospect, went back-to-back.
Davidson and Skole teamed up again in the fourth, with the D-backs' No. 4 prospect singling home Brian Goodwin and scoring on a two-run double by Skole, who singled again in the eighth.
Wrapping up his second year of pro ball, Skole batted .291 in 119 games between Class A Hagerstown and Class A Advanced Potomac. He was named South Atlantic League MVP, led Nationals farmhands with 27 homers and ranked second in the system with 104 RBIs.
Skole posted a .919 fielding percentage at third base, committing 23 errors. Last year with short-season Auburn, he made 14 errors in 155 chances (.910).
Goodwin, Washington's top offensive prospect, was 2-for-5 with a solo homer and Midwest League MVP Kevin Pillar (Blue Jays) reached base three times and slugged his first Fall League homer.
Cleanup hitter Jonathan Singleton -- a key part of the deal that sent Hunter Pence from the Astros to the Phillies in 2011 -- accounted for all of Mesa's runs. MLB.com's No. 25 overall prospect homered, tripled and plated three runs.
Southern League All-Star Chase Anderson (1-0) started for Salt River and gave up a run on two hits and two walks while striking out two in 2 2/3 innings. Solar Sox counterpart and Orioles right-hander Mike Wright (0-1) lasted one inning and was charged with four runs -- three earned -- on four hits.
John Parker is a contributor to MLB.com. Ashley Marshall contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.