It may have taken a little bit of extra time, but the Syracuse Spartans won the first game of a three game series against the No. 1 team in the East, the Syracuse Salt Cats, 8-2 in 10 innings.
Zach Soder got the nod for the Spartans, going a strong six and two thirds innings before he had to hop on a plane back to his hometown in Atlanta, GA. The Belmont Abbey pitcher allowed two runs on five hits.
The Spartans and Salt Cats traded runs in the first two innings, with the Salt Cats striking first in the bottom of the first inning off the bat of Tim Gorton. Gorton doubled into center field to bring in leadoff man Xander Ferlanda. Gorton has been hot as of late, winning NYCBL Player of the Week last week for his epic performances. Over that span, the catcher has 13 hits, five doubles and five RBIs.
The Spartans notched their first run in the top of the second inning thanks to an RBI single from left fielder Micah Riddick. Riddick finished the day 3-3 with three singles before being replaced in the sixth inning after suffering a hand injury.
The Syracuse teams traded one run frames in the third inning, with the Spartans grabbing theirs courtesy of third baseman Britton Lawrence's sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. The Salt Cats tied the game at 2-2 with an RBI groundout by the NYCBL Player of the Week.
From the fourth inning on, both pitchers were locked in, not allowing a run in the rest of regulation baseball. Christain LaLomia came in relief for Soder, going three and a third solid innings and only allowing two hits.
The ninth inning came and went, with neither team able to cross the plate. The Spartans entered their second straight extra inning affair, with the same outcome. Instead of taking a 3-2 lead in the tenth like they did against Cortland last night, the Spartans poured it on against the Salt Cats, scoring six runs in the top of the tenth inning.
The top half of the frame was highlighted by designated hitter Edison Mercado's RBI double for his second extra base hit of the night. Earlier in the game Mercado was credited for a triple, his first of the NYCBL season. Lawrence also had a two-RBI single to clear the bases, bringing his RBI total on the night to three.
LaLomia closed the door in the bottom of the tenth inning for his first win of the playoffs, and the Syracuse Spartans are now one game away from clinching the Eastern Division Pennant and heading to the Championship round.
SPARTAN OF THE GAME: Zach Soder
Soder has been solid for the Spartans all season, especially in the month of July. His final performance for the Spartans was no different, as he went six and two thirds innings, allowing only two runs on five hits. He finished his Spartan career 5-1 with a 3.02 summer career ERA.