May 20, 2017
Story and photo by Aubrie Tolliver Syracuse, N.Y. — For the second game in a row, the Syracuse Chiefs and Lehigh Valley IronPigs went into extra innings. And just as in Friday night’s game, the IronPigs scored in the top of the tenth to beat the Chiefs 4-3 Saturday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium. This time, […]
Story and photo by Aubrie Tolliver
Syracuse, N.Y. — For the second game in a row, the Syracuse Chiefs and Lehigh Valley IronPigs went into extra innings. And just as in Friday night’s game, the IronPigs scored in the top of the tenth to beat the Chiefs 4-3 Saturday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium. This time, after they’d scored two in the ninth to send it into the extra frame.
“The thing about their team is that they’re so talented,” Chiefs manager Billy Gardner said. “You make a mistake and you’re going to pay for it.”
Chiefs take early lead
The sun was beaming down on NBT Bank Stadium, flying high behind the home plate for most of the game, which is something the fans–and the team, for that matter–have been waiting for as the second month of the season comes to a close.
The sun, however, created a problem for Lehigh Valley second baseman Pedro Floriman when he lost Rafael Bautista’s high popup in the bottom of the third.
It should have been the final out of the inning.
Instead, the Chiefs plated their first run of the game as Caleb Ramsey scored from second base.
It went in the books as an earned run, since the ball landed a few feet in front of Floriman, who was ducking out of the way, afraid it was going to land on the top of his head.
Lehigh Valley immediately responded in the top of the fourth. The IronPigs had the bases loaded with two out when starting pitcher A.J. Cole missed the base as he took a toss from Clint Robinson on a ground ball to the first baseman, allowing all runners to safely advance and Taylor Featherston to score. The run was unearned.
Irving Falu gave the Chiefs the lead two innings later on a line drive that went just over the outstretched arm of Floriman. Adrian Sanchez expanded the lead the following inning, launching his third homer of the season.
Syracuse led 3-1 until the ninth. Manager Billy Gardner then put Rafael Martin in charge of closing out the game, but Martin was unsuccessful in his efforts. J.P. Crawford and Cameron Berkins drove in a run apiece on line drives to center field, tying the game at three.
A scoreless bottom of the inning for the Chiefs gave the IronPigs another opportunity to win it in extra innings and Nick Williams took advantage of it by smashing his fourth homer of the season, this one off Chiefs right-hander Cody Sadderwhite.
Syracuse had two runners on with two out in the bottom of the tenth, but Pedro Beato struck out Brandon Snyder giving the Chiefs their seventh loss in their last eight games.
- Andrew Stevenson, who has struggled at the plate since being called up almost two weeks ago, batting .188 in those 13 games, racked up two hits.
- Sanchez is hitting a team-high .312 on the season and continued to prove be the most consistent hitter for the Chiefs, going 1-3 with the long ball.
- Lehigh’s starting pitcher Thomas Eshelman went eight innings allowing two earned runs while striking out four. He was also 2-2 at the plate in his first two at bats of the season.
- The game-time temperature bounced around the upper sixties–a change from Friday night’s game and most of the other games this season where players were having to warm their bats and hands beneath the heaters planted in the dugout.
“Obviously baseball is made for warm weather,” Gardner said in a post-game interview. But, he insisted the weather has not affected the outcomes of the previous games, since both teams on the field have to endure the same circumstances.
- The Chiefs’ pitching staff has a league-worst 5.59 ERA–a full run above the next team average. But, in the past two games, the pitching staff has allowed no more than four runs to the IronPigs–the team with the best record in the division, 28-14.
- Syracuse possesses the worst division record at 13-25.
The Chiefs will look to salvage the final game of the series against Lehigh Valley Sunday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium. First pitch is set, once again, for 1:05 p.m.