By Andrew Carey
ROME, NEW YORK—Liam Devine delivered in a big way for the Syracuse Spartans (17-21) as they got a much-needed win over the Rome Generals (15-22) by a score of 5-2. Devine went six strong shutout innings of one-hit baseball, striking out five in the process.
“He was competing, he really wanted to pitch against this team (Rome),” said manager Brian Burns on Devine’s outing. “He was really attacking the hitters and he stayed aggressive the whole time. He wanted to strike everyone out and he was throwing the ball well, giving it all for the guys.”
The Spartans offense got to the Rome pitching early, as Kotaro Kajita gave up six hits through just two innings of work. Andrew Pedone’s return was a big reason why the Spartans offense got things going early on.
Pedone fueled the Spartans two run first inning, hitting a single and then eventually coming around to score on a Micah Riddick RBI base hit. Pedone’s final line read 2-3 with two singles, two walks, a run, and a stolen base, bringing his total up to 37 stolen bases on the season.
“We got Pedone back which was huge,” said Burns on Pedone’s instant impact for the offense. “We had arguably our best hitter back in the lineup and he got a single in the first inning. That kind of relaxed everybody, just to see him back swinging the bat.”
In total, the Spartans offense had 12 hits, as they broke out of their slump with some contagious hitting.
Brandon “Buzz” Shirley had a great game for Syracuse, going 3-5 with an RBI and a stolen base. Micah Riddick had a good game, as he continues his second half surge. Riddick went 2-4 with a walk, a run and an RBI. He also threw out a runner at on the base paths for the second time in as many days.
Raimiel Rodriguez recorded a two-hit game for Syracuse as he had two doubles on the night. In addition, the Johnson & Wales middle infielder scored a run, had an RBI, and drew a walk.
The Spartans now sit two games back of the Silversmith’s for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Division. The two teams will meet this upcoming Saturday in Sherrill in a pivotal game with tons of playoff implications.
“The next three games are huge,” said Burns on the final playoff push. “Obviously it’s coming down to the stretch and the next three games are the biggest of the season. If we win the next three, we could possibly clinch depending on what Onondaga does tomorrow with Sherrill. So, tomorrow is huge, if we could sweep, that puts us in a good position for Saturday.”
The Spartans travel to Onondaga Community College tomorrow for two games against the Syracuse Salt Cats. The first game is scheduled for 5:00, while the second game will start around 7:00.