CHARLOTTE, N.C. (SYRACUSE METS) –
The Syracuse Mets hit three home runs and held off a late Charlotte comeback as the Mets beat the Knights, 11-10, on Thursday night in a game delayed by rain before the start of the seventh inning for one hour and 34 minutes. The series thus far has been an absolute scoring bonanza, with the two teams combining for 53 runs in the first three games and each of the three games decided by just one run.
For the first time in the series, Syracuse (50-64) got on the board first with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Travis Jankowski reached on a fielding error to start the game, promptly swiping second base. Francisco Álvarez then walked to put two on base with nobody out, bringing Dominic Smith to the plate. Smith lined a sharp drive into the right-field corner, scoring Jankowski and advancing Álvarez all the way to third. However, Smith was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double, making it just a runner on third with one out and a 1-0 game. From there, the Mets tacked on another run. After a Mark Vientos strikeout and a Daniel Palka walk, Travis Blankenhorn blooped a single into center field that scored Álvarez and made it 2-0 Mets right out of the gate.
From there, Charlotte (44-70) raced in front with a run in the bottom of the first and two more in the bottom of the second. In the first, Mark Payton led off the frame with a walk, followed by a Yolbert Sanchez groundout that moved Payton up to second base. A Jake Burger single into center field scored Payton and knotted the game up, 1-1. In the second, the Knights scored via the long ball. Blake Rutherford and Zach Remillard each hit solo home runs to propel the home team in front, 3-2.
In the fifth, the Mets roared back with their own pair of long balls. JT Riddle and Travis Jankowski started the inning with singles, followed by an Álvarez strikeout that made it two runners on base with one out. Smith then did it again, lacing a three-run home run over the right-field wall for his fourth RBI of the night and a 5-3 Mets lead in a flash. Smith has now homered on back-to-back nights. Syracuse wasn’t done there. Mark Vientos singled and Daniel Palka then crushed a home run of his own, a two-run shot to left-center field, that pushed the Mets cushion up to four, 7-3.
The Knights, however, had a big inning right up their sleeve to crawl right back in the ballgame. In the bottom of the sixth, it all started for the home team after two quick outs to begin the inning. Then, Adam Haseley walked, followed by a Blake Rutherford double that plated Hasely and made it a 7-4 game. The next batter, Craig Dedelow, smacked a home run that turned it into a 7-6 game just like that.
The rain came soon after, delaying the game by an hour and 34 minutes. When the game finally resumed just shy of 10:30 p.m., the Mets got right back to scoring runs in the top of the seventh. After a one-out Smith single, Mark Vientos launched his 21st home run of the season, a two-run shot that vaulted Syracuse back up by three, 9-6. Vientos and Palka are tied for the team lead in round-trippers so far this season with 21 apiece.
The Mets scored two more times in the top of the eighth inning to seemingly put the game out of reach. Gosuke Katoh started the inning with a double but was stuck on second after consecutive outs. Francisco Álvarez walked with two outs to keep the inning alive, followed by another walk to Smith that loaded up the bases. Vientos and Palka followed up with back-to-back singles to score two more runs, make it 11-6, and put Syracuse in the driver’s seat.
Charlotte would score one run in the bottom of the eighth inning to make it an 11-7 game, and then it got really interesting in the bottom of the ninth inning. Phillip Diehl came out of the bullpen and got the first out of the frame quickly, but then gave up a walk and two straight singles to load up the bases with one out. A sacrifice fly scored one run and made it 11-8, but it also put the Mets one out away from a victory. However, back-to-back singles from Adam Haseley and Blake Rutherford plated two more runs, put runners on first and second, and all of a sudden made it a one-run game at 11-10. Craig Dedelow came to the plate with a chance to be a hero, but Diehl mercifully struck Dedelow out to end a wild game with Syracuse winning, 11-10.
The middle of Syracuse’s lineup had a feast at the plate on Thursday night as the 3-4-5 hitters (Dominic Smith, Mark Vientos, and Daniel Palka) each finished the game with three hits. The trio combined to drive in ten of Syracuse’s 11 runs on the night, and they also had nine of the team’s 14 hits.
Truist Field is known for being a hitter’s paradise, and this week has been no exception. The two teams have combined for 14 home runs in the first three games of the series, including six in Thursday night’s game alone.
Syracuse continues its six-game series against the Charlotte Knights on Friday night with the third game of the series. First pitch is slated to start at 7:04 p.m.