Every baseball team that reaches the playoffs hopes to have a pitching ace that anchors their post season effort, that gives them quality innings to get their championship push off the ground. The Binghamton Rumble Ponies got all that and more last night at NYSEG Stadium from ace right-hander Corey Oswalt. Oswalt, the Eastern League pitcher of the year, threw 7.0 brilliant innings allowing Trenton, the regular season Eastern League champions, just a single first inning run, as the Rumble Ponies opened their post season drive with an impressive, 4-1 victory. Oswalt allows 5 hits, walking 1 and striking out 7.
Trenton scored their only run in the first inning. After striking out Jeff Hendrix to start the game. Thairo Estrada singled, and after Oswald caught Clint Frazier looking, Garrett Cooper singled driving Hendrix to third. Estrada would score the Thunder’s only run of the game when Oswalt was charged with a wild pitch on a low pitch Dante Bichette Jr. swung on and missed, with the ball scooting past the Ponies catcher Tomas Nido. I keep score and originally scored the pitch a passed ball because it is so rare to see a ball get behind Nido, but the official scorer saw it otherwise.
The inning ended with a spectacular play by Binghamton second baseman Luis Guillorme when Bichette Jr. the Trenton third baseman, hit a ball every one in the park thought was a single (at least) to right field. But Guillorme made a diving stop with enough time for the Rumble Pony infielder to record the out at first base. The defensive gem was one of two Guillorme would pull off on the night, with the busy second baseman completing four ground ball outs in the contest.
Binghamton fans were treated to the inclusion of Frazier in the Trenton line-up. The athletic Yankee super prospect had a tough night at the plate against Oswalt fanning in all three plate appearances. In fact, the Thunder pinch hit for Frazier in his final scheduled at bat.
Binghamton used a pair of two run doubles in the first three innings to complete the game’s scoring. Guillorme and outfielder Kevin Kaczmarski opened the Rumble Pony first working a base-on-balls. The Binghamton tandem have advanced plate discipline, ranking one-two in base-on-balls on the team with Guillorme drawing 72 free passes and Kaczmarski 61. Guillorme’s 72 total is the second best in the Eastern League. A good batting eye places both the Binghamton table setters in the Eastern League’s top ten in on-base-percentage.
Peter Alonso, recently elevated from St. Lucie to Bingo, drove a Dillon Tate pitch into he gap in right-center field to plate both Guillorme and Kaczmarski. The double was Alonso’s 8th extra base hit in 47 at-bats since his promotion.
The Rumble Ponies grouped three straight baserunners to start the bottom of the third to complete the scoring. Alonso opened the frame drawing a base-on-balls. Kevin Taylor advanced him to second with a base hit to right field. Both runners would score when Matt Oberste drove a long drive in the gap in left-center.
That would be all the runs the Rumble Ponies would muster on the night. The Ponies opened the fourth with back-to-back singles from Gustavo Nunez and Luis Guillorme putting runners on the corners with nobody out, but Mesa Jr. worked out of the jam without allowing a run to score,
Tim Peterson took over for Oswalt in the eighth inducing a Guillorme to Oberste ground ball and fanning the next two batters he faced. Newcomer Tyler Bashlor created some anxious moments before tossing a scoreless ninth. Bashlor entered the game throwing 14.2 scoreless innings in relief as a Pony, striking out 23 while walking only 4 and allowing 7 hits. That was good for a 0.75 WHIP. Bashlor, has mid 90’s heat with a nasty breaking ball and a developing change up. His scoreless streak appeared in jeopardy when he walked Garrett Cooper to open the frame and Bichette Jr, slashed a double just inside the third base line leaving second and third with nobody out. After Binghamton’s pitching coach Glenn Abbott visited the mound, Bashlor settled in striking out the next three batters in succession to end the game.
The Rumble Ponies will face Trenton again in game two, weather permitting, on Thursday night.