New York State In-depth

Syracuse falls short in 8-7 loss to Jacksonville on Saturday

Syracuse, NY – The Syracuse Mets rallied valiantly but fell just short on Saturday night, dropping an 8-7 decision to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Triple-A affiliate, Miami Marlins) on a sunny and warm evening at NBT Bank Stadium. The Jumbo Shrimp have now won three out of the first five games in the six-game series.

Early on, it looked like this one wouldn’t be much of a contest, as Jacksonville plated five runs on seven hits in the top of the first inning. Syracuse’s starter, Connor Grey, did not last past the first inning, recording just one out before being pulled from the game. JJ Bleday’s two-run home run highlights the early offensive barrage for the Jumbo Shrimp. The former fourth-overall pick has three home runs so far in this week’s series.

Syracuse would not take the early deficit lightly, plating the game’s next three runs to slim the deficit to 5-3 and crawl back in the ballgame. The Mets scored their trio of runs a bit unconventionally – Nick Plummer and Travis Blankenhorn drew a pair of bases-loaded walks in the second inning, followed by a Deven Marrero groundout in the third inning.

Jacksonville promptly boosted their lead back up to five runs in the next couple of innings, scoring once in the fourth and twice in the fifth to jump back to an 8-3 advantage. Luis Aviles, Jr. brought home both the runs in the fifth via a two-run single. The infielder finished the game with three hits in five plate appearances.

For the second different time in the game, Syracuse now trailed by five runs. Once again, the home team was determined to make it interesting. First, in the bottom of the seventh, Marrero plated two runs with a two-out, two-run single. By the end of the night, Marrero would have two hits and three runs driven in.

It remained an 8-5 game into the bottom of the ninth, when the Mets seemed poised to rally all the way back. First, Khalil Lee hit a mammoth solo home run to dead centerfield leading off the inning to make it an 8-6 game. Then, Nick Dini walked and moved to second on a wild pitch, putting a runner in scoring position with nobody out. Successive groundouts by Gosuke Katoh and Kramer Robertson plated Dini, making it 8-7 with two outs in the ninth. Marrero then strode to the plate as a hot hitter and with the chance to be the hero. However, it was not to be. Tommy Nance struck him out looking to end the game and hand Jacksonville its second straight victory.

While Syracuse did fall just short in an 8-7 defeat, the effort from its bullpen is still to be commended. After Connor Gray did not last past the first inning in his start, five pitchers (Joe Zanghi, Eric Orze, Stephen Nogosek, RJ Alvarez, and Locke St. John) pitched the remaining 8.2 of the game, allowing three runs earned with six strikeouts and keeping the Mets in the game. Nogosek put together another brilliant relief outing, striking out three in two scoreless innings of work. The former Oregon Duck now owns a miniscule 1.16 ERA in 15 outings with 34 strikeouts.

Syracuse wraps up its series against the Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, on Sunday afternoon. Thomas Szapucki is slated to start for the Mets. First pitch is set for 1:05 pm

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