Syracuse, NY – The Syracuse Mets collected a season-high 15 hits while the pitching staff racked up a season-high 16 strikeouts as Syracuse finished off its six-game series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in style, riding to an 11-4 win on a sunny and warm Mother’s Day Sunday at NBT Bank Stadium.
The game remained in doubt entering the bottom of the seventh inning, as the Mets led by just a slim 5-3 margin. Syracuse (10-19) left no doubt in its best offensive inning of the season, pounding out six runs on eight hits to roar out to an 11-3 lead that essentially iced the game. The Mets, remarkably, started the frame with seven consecutive hits.
Some highlights from the memorable seventh inning – Khalil Lee provided an RBI double, Mark Vientos had a two-run single, and Nick Dini slapped a single into center field that scored another run. Each of those three players scored multiple runs in the game, with Dini crossing home plate three times overall on the afternoon.
Early on in the game, Syracuse starting pitcher David Peterson grabbed the headlines. The left-hander, who has spent the season primarily in the Major Leagues, starred in his second start of the season with Syracuse, working five scoreless innings with eight strikeouts and only four hits allowed. Peterson fanned seven of the eight batters by way of swinging strikeout. He also worked around potential trouble brilliantly, stranding seven IronPigs on the basepaths.
Spurred on by Peterson’s excellent start, the Mets gave him some run support. Syracuse got right to it, plating a run in the top of the first on an RBI double from Patrick Mazeika. The two-bagger brought home Wyatt Young, who had singled to lead off the inning.
Syracuse scored again in the fourth on a solo home run by Dini, as his first homer of the season made it a 2-0 advantage for the Mets.
Syracuse made it an even larger lead with a three-run flourish in the sixth inning. The frame was marked by home run power. First, Mark Vientos slapped an opposite-field home run over the right-field wall to score Lee and make it 4-0. Then, Dini did it again, launching a no-doubt bomb over the left-field wall to make it 5-0 Syracuse. The two homers marked the first of the season for Dini. It was also the first time this season that Syracuse had a player hit two home runs in one game.
Lehigh Valley (17-13) briefly put some worry back in the big Mother’s Day crowd, as Austin Wynns hit a three-run home run with two outs in the seventh to make it a 5-3 ballgame. Wynns finished the game with three hits, including another extra-base hit (a double) in the fifth inning.
Despite the brief Lehigh Valley comeback, Syracuse’s six-run bottom of the seventh inning put the game out of reach. Lehigh Valley did score one more run in the top of the eighth to complete the game’s scoring at 11-4, but the IronPigs’ afternoon was marred by missed opportunities. By the end of the game, Lehigh Valley left ten runners on the basepaths. In fact, the IronPigs left at least one runner on base in all but one inning.
Syracuse’s pitching staff matched the excellent offense by the Mets hitters with a season-high performance of its own. Four pitchers (David Peterson, Anthony Vizcaya, Alex Claudio, and Collin Holderman) combined to fan 16 Lehigh Valley batters, a new season-high for the Syracuse pitching staff. In fact, 12 of the 16 IronPigs batters that struck out did so in swinging fashion. Holderman finished the game with a flourish, striking out the side in the top of the ninth to secure the victory for Syracuse.
Syracuse now hits the road for two weeks, starting with a six-game series at the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders next week. First pitch of the series opener on Tuesday night is slated for 6:05 p.m.