Inside Pitch caught up the Ricky Bones following the team's Saturday win at Portland. He explained…
Binghamton 11 - Portland 7 Full Recap
"He came at me with a fastball and I just turned on it, not much to it. It felt good," said Stewart.
His shot left the lead 3-0 until the fourth inning when Brett Harper found his stroke. After he swung and missed at a low fastball, he dialed in on an outside changeup and deposited it over the left field wall. Two batters later, Nic Jackson reach an error by Sea Dogs' shortstop Jed Lowrie. He then stole second and scored on an Enrique Cruz single.
"Their guy was working with inside with fastballs. He put a changeup away and I just went with it," said Harper.
It was the fourth inning that tested B-Mets starter Marcos Carvajal. He was on cruise control through the first three innings when he gave up two soft singles and a walk. However, in the fourth Carvajal was touched for five hits, including three ripped doubles, as eight Sea Dogs produced four runs.
Carvajal, who came into the game 0-2 with a 6.86 ERA, walked off the field visibly upset after he permitted a rally that let Portland back into the game. Pitching Coach Ricky Bones had a stern yet reassuring talk with his young right-hander in between innings – what he said paid off. He threw two more effective innings and gave way to the bullpen with an 8-4 B-Mets lead.
"It's what I've been waiting for from him," said Bones. "I've wanted to him to stay focused and regroup after having a tough inning. It's important for him as he continues to work and improve."
Aside from his rocky inning, Carvajal pitched extremely well. He went ahead in the count 0-1 on the first five hitters of the game and did so routinely throughout the game. His fastball was lethal both as a first pitch and an out pitch. Sea Dog hitters had great trouble catching up to it most of the afternoon. When he was not throwing his heater, his mixed his curveball and changeup at opportune times. It caused hitters to get out in front and hit weak ground balls or lazy pop-ups.
In the seventh, back-to-back walks by Corey Ragsdale and Caleb Stewart allowed Harper to collect his second RBI of the afternoon. Jose Coronado followed with an RBI double that scored Stewart. The B-Mets plated three in the inning.
Marcelo Perez relieved Caravajal, threw two shutout innings, and kept the Sea Dogs at bay until the ninth.
With a comfortable 11-4 lead, Manager Mako Oliveras called on Brandon Nall to pitch the final frame in hopes that he could turn around his recent struggles. With little help from his defense, Nall allowed three runs – one earned - and was wild around the plate. He threw many more balls than strikes which caused Oliveras to turn to Carlos Muniz for the final two outs.
The biggest theme of the day was the rise of the B-Mets offense. They pieced together effective rallies and moved runners station-to-station with key situational hitting.
While the offensive output was a positive, a glaring negative reared its head again. The team is simply striking out too much. The first eight outs the lineup recorded all came on strikeouts. Each player whiffed at least once as the team logged twelve strikeouts. Going into Saturday, every player averaged nearly a strikeout per game.
The heart of the Sea Dogs' order led the way offensively as Jay Johnson, Cory Keylor and Scott Youngbauer each knocked in a run. Third baseman Andrew Pinckney had two RBI.
Harper knocked in his third RBI of the afternoon in the ninth inning with a double that scored Jose Reyes.
Defense was an issue for both teams. Portland committed four errors to Binghamton's three.
Miguel Negron left the game in the fourth inning. He was shaken up after charging a ball hit by Corey Keylor. Corey Ragsdale came into play the hot corner, Mark Kiger switched from third base to left field and Corey Coles moved over to centerfield.
The B-Mets hits equaled their runs scored for the second straight game.
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