SYRACUSE, N.Y. (SYRACUSE METS) –

The Syracuse Mets fell behind early and didn’t rally back on Tuesday night, dropping the series opener to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 6-3, at NBT Bank Stadium. Despite the loss, Nick Plummer hit a two-run home run for Syracuse.

Lehigh Valley (14-11) jumped out ahead of Syracuse in the top of the second inning. Dustin Peterson doubled and Jorge Bonifacio singled to put runners on the corners. Yairo Muñoz followed with a groundout into a double play, but Peterson scored from third on the play for a 1-0 Lehigh Valley Lead.

The IronPigs extended their lead in the third when Darick Hall and John Andreoli provided RBI hits, a single and double respectively, to give Lehigh Valley a 3-0 edge.

In the fifth, Donny Sands led off with a single, and Hall added another double, putting runners at second and third base. In his last four games, Hall is 10-for-20 with a double and four home runs. Sands, meanwhile, scored from third base when a balk was called, making it a 4-0 ballgame.

Gifted with early run support, the IronPigs pitching staff made sure it held up. Five pitchers (Ricardo Sanchez, Jeff Singer, Joe Gatto, Tyler Cyr, Connor Brogdon) allowed just three runs on six hits in nine hits, racking up nine strikeouts in the process. Lehigh Valley did a masterful job on defense as well, turning a season-high four double plays behind their pitching staff. Sanchez puzzled the Mets batters in his starting role, allowing just three hits in four scoreless innings with five strikeouts.

The closest Syracuse (8-16) came to solving the IronPigs pitching staff was in the bottom of the sixth inning. Entering the frame down 4-0, the top of the Mets lineup provided a spark. First, Wyatt Young lined a single the other way into shallow left field. Then, Nick Plummer launched a two-run home run to dead centerfield, slashing the deficit in half to 4-2. Plummer now has four home runs in 13 games in Triple-A with Syracuse this season. After that, Daniel Palka walked, and Travis Blankenhorn was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with nobody out. However, Joe Gatto came out of the bullpen and put out the fire. The right-hander struck out Mark Vientos and got Patrick Mazeika to ground into a double play to end the threat right there.

The IronPigs put the game out of reach with a pair of runs in the eighth. Two hits combined with a hit batter, a fielder’s choice groundout, a stolen base, and a very costly error plated Bonifacio and Munoz and gave Lehigh Valley a 6-2 lead. Munoz finished the game with two hits – he was named Worcester’s MVP last season after batting .308 in 88 games in Triple-A in 2021.

To Syracuse’s credit, they battled until the bitter end. The Mets scored a run in the bottom of the ninth after some quality at-bats. First, Vientos walked after an eight-pitch at bat. He then moved to third after a one-out single from Mazeika and scored on a sacrifice fly from Carlos Cortes. However, Khalil Lee struck out swinging after that to end the game and give the IronPigs a 6-3 win to kick off the week-long, six-game series.

Syracuse is back at NBT Bank Stadium on Wednesday night, continuing its series with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Right-hander Jose Rodriguez is slated to start for the Mets, opposed by fellow right-hander James Marvel for the IronPigs. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m.