Syracuse, NY – The Syracuse Mets gave the home crowd yet another dramatic finish on Thursday night in a season full of them at NBT Bank Stadium. Jonathan Araúz smacked an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to hand the Mets a 5-4, walk-off win over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Syracuse, NY – The Syracuse Mets gave the home crowd yet another dramatic finish on Thursday night in a season full of them at NBT Bank Stadium. Jonathan Araúz smacked an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to hand the Mets a 5-4, walk-off win over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. This is Syracuse’s 13th walk-off win this season.
Syracuse (60-83, 27-42) entered the bottom of the ninth inning down, 4-3, but it took three pitches for Syracuse to tie the game. Wyatt Young doubled on the first pitch of the frame, followed by a game-tying single from Joe Suozzi on the third pitch of the inning, knotting the game up, 4-4. Jaylen Palmer then tried to drop down a sacrifice bunt to advance Suozzi to second base, but Palmer bunted the ball too hard back to the mound and Suozzi was thrown out at second. Despite that play, Palmer moved to second on a Danny Mendick groundout. Then, Araúz came to the plate and ended the game with his single into right-center field to score Palmer for the 5-4 Syracuse win.
In the top of the first, Syracuse gifted Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (71-74, 37-34) a pair of runs via poor defense. Wilmer Difo walked to start the inning and then stole second. Difo was still stuck at second with two outs when Andrés Chaparro lofted a high fly into very shallow left field that appeared like it would get the Mets out of the inning. However, a misplay by the Syracuse outfielders allowed the ball to drop to the outfield grass and score Difo to make it a 1-0 game. The next batter, Josh Breaux, lined a drive off the left-field wall that seemingly gave the RailRiders runners on first and third with still two outs in the frame. Yet once again, a mistake handed Scranton/Wilkes-Barre another run. Carlos Cortes threw poorly back into the infield, and as the ball skittered down the first-base line and into right field, Chaparro hustled all the way around the bases to up the lead for the road team to 2-0.
After the early issues, Mike Vasil settled back into a familiar groove on the mound for the Mets. The big right-hander from Boston was forced to leave his start early after just four innings, due to the fact that he threw 85 pitches in those innings. However, Vasil racked up eight strikeouts in those four innings while allowing just one earned run on three hits and three walks. The 23-year-old ended his 2023 season strong. Vasil struck out 18 batters in ten innings in his final two starts of the season combined.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Mets backed up Vasil by scoring three runs to grab their first lead of the night at 3-2. The frame started with a bang when Wyatt Young launched a solo shot over the wall in right-center field to turn it into a 2-1 game. Then, a single from Joe Suozzi, a walk from Jaylen Palmer, and a single from Mendick tied the game up, 2-2, in a three-batter span. Mendick now has 11 hits in 13 games since returning to Syracuse from the New York Mets in early September. The next batter, Araúz, grounded into a double play that allowed Palmer to come home and hand the Mets a 3-2 lead.
It remained a 3-2 into the top of the sixth inning when the RailRiders flipped the script. Hunter Parsons had pitched a scoreless fifth inning and got the first out of the sixth inning before bad news struck when Jesús Bastidas and Aaron Palensky hit back-to-back home runs that roared Scranton/Wilkes-Barre back in front by a 4-3 count. From there, Parsons settled back into a groove. By the end of his three-inning relief outing, Parsons allowed the two runs on four hits while walking one and striking out six batters. The six batters struck out by Parsons set a new season-high for strikeouts in a relief outing for the right-handed reliever formerly of the Maryland Terrapins.
After the rocky third inning, the starter for the RailRiders settled into a groove of his own. Mitch Spence finished his outing with three runs allowed on seven hits in seven innings, walking three and striking out three. Spence accomplished two notable feats in his likely final start of the 2023 season. Spence finished the season with 153 strikeouts, which is second-best all-time in a single season for a Scranton/Wilkes-Barre pitcher. Spence also finished with 13 quality starts and went at least seven innings in seven different starts this season.
Despite Spence’s start for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Syracuse did enough against the RailRiders bullpen to come back for the 5-4 walk-off win.
Syracuse is home at NBT Bank Stadium this entire week, playing its final six games of the 2023 season against the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. The fourth game of the final homestand of the season is slated for a 6:35 start on Friday evening. Right-hander Peyton Battenfield is scheduled to start for the Mets against left-hander Edgar Barclay for the RailRiders.