The Syracuse Spartans seem to have gotten their swagger back. For now, at least. The Spartans (21-16) thrashed the Rome Generals (18-17) 13-7 to solidify first place in the tight eastern division of the NYCBL.
Syracuse leads the division by only half of a game, with the Syracuse Salt Cats and Cortland Crush firmly on their heels. Only three games separate the first place Spartans from the last place Sherrill SilverSmiths, whom they play today at 5pm.
The 13-7 come-from-behind win was what the Spartans needed to hop back on track and get their offense working. Now, all thats left is to do it on a consistent basis.
"We needed this one today," Head Spartan Coach James Williamson said. "We strung together a few hits and guys stepped up. I don't think we figured it all out today, but this was a good game."
The Spartans looked to Mike Bubniak on the mound to get things going. The Binghamton native went a solid five innings, giving up four runs on seven hits.
"We had to be a bit creative on the mound," Williamson said. "We wanted to limit Mike's pitching just because of his college season. We didn't want to tire him out."
Creativity has been the key for the Spartans, as pitching has not been the source of concern. Over the last four games, Syracuse's starting pitchers have only given up an average of three and a half runs per game. It is the Spartan bats that have gone cold.
Well, not in this game.
The spartans did have to work from behind early, something they have done a few times this season. Rome scored early, as leadoff man Christain Aybar drew a leadoff walk, and ended up scoring on a straight steal of home to take a quick 1-0 lead.
That lead grew to 4-0 by the top of the fourth inning. The Spartans got a run on the board in the bottom of the frame thanks to an RBI single by second baseman Rocco Leone. It was Leone's 12th RBI on the season.
The Spartans got two more in the next bottom half inning, thanks to back to back RBI doubles from first baseman Jay Perry and designated hitter Chris Schad.
That is when the bats got hot. The Spartans took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning with a two RBI single by catcher Edison Mercado to take the 5-4 lead. Mercado leads the team in RBIs with 26.
Rome did score two more in the top of the seventh to take the 6-5 lead back. But, the bottom of the seventh would prove otherwise.
The Spartans scored eight runs in the bottom of the frame on eight hits while sending 13 men to the plate. The inning was highlighted by right fielder Rob Ballingers two hits and two RBIs.
Relief man Michael Kochen was on the mound for Rome during the seventh inning extravaganza. He got the loss, allowing eight runs in two innings.
SPARTAN OF THE GAME: Rob Ballinger
The Johnson and Wales player for the Spartans had a great day, going 4-5 with a double, single, two RBIs and two runs scored. His performance was good enough to earn him the NYCBL Player of the Night.
Syracuse continues its playoff push as it takes on the Sherrill SilverSmiths today at Noyes Park. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00pm, and will be a shortened, seven innning game.