Unlike their parent squad who uses the long ball as the primary tool in their offensive toolkit, the Binghamton Mets used small ball to eke out a 3-2 decision over Portland in an ice box called NYSEG Stadium. Binghamton totaled only three hits on the night, but used head’s-up base running and timely Dominic Smith hitting to squeeze out the victory.
Binghamton’s first two scores came without a hit. L.J. Mazzilli drew a walk to leadoff the home third. The B-Met second baseman advanced to second on a wild pitch. When Xorge Carrillo pulled a ground ball to third, Mazzilli challenged the Portland defense by trying to advance to third on the throw to first drawing a return throw from Portland first baseman Tim Roberson. The throw went wild with Mazzilli scrambling home for the game’s first score.
After Portland scored twice to grab a 2-1 lead, the B-Mets scored again without a hit. Kyle Johnson was hit by a pitch to lead off the sixth. The speedy center fielder then stole second. When Maikis De La Cruz tapped a squabbler on the first base side and in front of home plate that was played by the Portland catcher, the alert Johnson raced home with the tying run when the Sea Dog staring pitcher Teddy Stankiewicz failed to cover home on the play.
Johnson drew a base-on-balls to open the eighth. This time B-Met skipper Pedro Lopez chose to advance the winning run with a sacrifice bunt and De La Cruz delivered. After Derrik Gibson fanned, Dominic Smith laced a clutch line drive into left-center field for the game winner. Smith’s game winner came against Portland left-handed reliever Nik Turley and was his second opposite field single in the contest.
B-Met pitcher Andrew Barbosa, a 6’8” giant from Puerto Rico, was brilliant on the pitching mound, a strikeout machine who worked quickly and efficiently all night long. Not a high velocity pitcher, Barbosa mixed his pitches masterfully and used a lethal curveball and a devastating change-up to keep Portland batters literally waving at his pitches. Barbosa worked 7 1/3 innings, allowing only three hits and fanning 10 while walking only one Sea Dog.
Barbosa threw 96 pitches in his outing, 69 for strikes a 72 percent ratio. Nearly 1 of every 4 (17 of 69) his strikes was a swing and a miss, testimony of the big right-hander’s ability to mix his pitches. Portland batters fouled off just over 30 percent of his strikes.
Akeel Morris pitched 1 2/3 innings of perfect relief to pick up the save. Morris fanned three of the five batters he faced with the other two Sea Wolves hitting the ball to second base.
The win was the B-Mets’ third straight and improves their Eastern League record to 8-9 on the young season.
New York Mets owner Jeff Wilpon and General Manager Sandy Alderson were at NYSEG Stadium and brought the New York Mets National League Championship Trophy with them for all to see. Then they presented championship rings for Akeel Morris and select B-Met front office personnel.
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