Harper had another big Saturday
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire – On a soggy afternoon, the B-Mets split the doubleheader with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. With steady showers, and a soaked infield, it looked like yet another Binghamton weekend could be shortened by weather. In the raw New England cold, the bats heated up in the second game. Friday night’s suspended game restarted with two outs in the top of the fifth inning.
Binghamton 8 – New Hampshire 4
The runs came early and often as the lineup gave starter Michael Devaney breathing room to earn his first victory of the season. Caleb Stewart, Corey Coles and Brett Harper each knocked in a run in the first three innings off Fisher Cats’ starter, and former Mets farmhand, Yusaku Iriki.
New Hampshire centerfielder Dustin Majewski quickly responded to the 1-0 deficit in the bottom of the first. He led off with a home run to right-centerfield off Devaney and notched the score at 1-1.
In the top of the second, after a single by Nic Jackson and a double by Corey Ragsdale – who hit ninth on Saturday – Corey Coles registered his first of two RBI on the day with a sac fly to deep right field.
The Fisher Cats climbed back on top in the bottom of the inning. After a quick two outs, Devaney fell behind to Manny Mayorson and Ryan Klosterman, and surrended back-to-back singles up the middle. He hung a two strike curveball to catcher John Schneider who smacked a clean double to left-center which plated both runners.
”The two guys (in the second inning) hit the first pitch two times in a row for singles. I lost focus for one batter and that’s what it takes. I hung a curveball to the catcher and he did what he’s supposed to do to a hanging curveball,” said Devaney.
Brett Harper’s RBI double in the top of the third inning scored Mark Kiger and tied the game at three. After a shaky opening two innings, the Mets starting right-hander collected himself and shut down the Fisher Cats’ offense.
Devaney, who’s fastball lacked popped, demonstrated terrific control of his breaking pitches. As he settled down, his curveball and slider had the opposition lunging at balls. In his final four innings, he surrendered just two hits and walked three. More importantly, he kept the Fisher Cats’ off the scoreboard. Pitching coach Ricky Bones was pleased with the performance.
”Today’s weather was brutal for both teams but he came in strong.” Bones said of Devaney. “He fought to find some rhythm, and even though his fastball had less velocity, he used it well in many counts. He really put it together for the win.”
The score remained tied at three until the fifth. After 4 1/3 innings, New Hampshire manager Bill Masse pulled Iriki for left-handed sidearmer Jesse Carlson – he would soon regret the decision. With Jose Reyes on first, Nic Jackson turned on the first pitch from Carlson for a home run which exited Merchantsauto.com Stadium like a bullet. Corey Coles knocked in his second RBI with a single that scored J.E. Cruz who doubled after Jackson’s home run.
Up 6-3 in the sixth, Brett Harper launched a high, deep home run off Jo Matumoto that left the ballpark entirely. It raised the cushioned to a five-run lead. Going into the bottom of the sixth, Robert Paulk was warming up, but at 74 pitches, the coaches elected to send Devaney out for the inning and spare the bullpen.
”In the first inning, he threw 11 pitches, the second he threw 25 pitches. But from the third inning on, he got his pitch count down. With all the runs we got in the sixth inning, it gave us room to give our arms in the bullpen needed rest,” said Bones.
Marcelo Perez came into the pitch the seventh. He allowed a lead off walk to Schneider who advanced on a wild pitch. Schneider scored on a Juan Peralta RBI groundout.
Mark Kiger looked very impressive today as he ripped two doubles to the left-center gap. Kiger, who handled first base duties, finished 2-3 with two runs.
The B-Mets wrap up their 11-game road trip with a 1:05 start tomorrow.
New Hampshire 9 – Binghamton 7
Friday night’s suspended game started with a bang as Mike Nickeas cracked Orlando Trias’ second offering for a home run down the left field line. Unfortunately, that was the only offense the B-Mets would see.
With a 7-5 lead in the bottom of the sixth, Juan Peralta connected on an RBI single. Four batters later, Aaron Mathews drove a ball to deep right-centerfield and hustled into third for a two-RBI triple. The Fisher Cats would not trail again.
Raul Valdes, who relieved Salvador Aguilar, did not help his own cause. In the sixth, he committed two errors on the same play on a chopper back to the mound. He surrendered three runs in the inning, all unearned. Valdes, called up on May 15th when the team sent Brandon Nall to St. Lucie, surrendered back-to-back doubles in the seventh which ended his day.
Nic Jackson committed the team’s other error after he misplayed a ball in the fifth.
Joe Serfass pitched a perfect seventh and eighth inning.