The Syracuse Spartans dropped game two in the Eastern Division Finals, 11-4 against the Salt Cats, paving way for a decisive game three being held at Onondaga Community College; the victor moving on to the Championship round this weekend.
Mike Bubniak got the start for the Spartans, going six full innings, giving up three runs (two of which were earned) on six hits while striking out three.
It was a sloppy game form the beginning, as both teams combined for four errors on the day. Not only that, but the Spartans could not figure out starting Salt Cat pitcher Kyle Taylor. Taylor allowed a season-high eight walks in his five and a thirds innings. In that span, he only allowed only one run on two hits.
The Spartans were down early, as the Salt Cats jumped on top of them 1-0 in the top of the second inning. That score would hold for a little bit, until the top of the fifth when they grabbed one more off of Bubniak. Bubniak would allow one more run in the top of the sixth inning before the Spartans would crack their goose egg.
Spartan right fielder Robert Ballinger scored for the first run of the game. Ballinger finished his night 1-3 with a single and three walk.
Relief man Nick Borek came into the top of the seventh inning, along with catcher Nick Cardieri who replaced Edison Mercado. Borek gave up two runs to extend the Salt Cat lead to 5-3, and it did not get better from there. The Spartans gave up six more runs in the final two innings to give the other Syracuse team the 11-4 victory.
The Spartans did not connect on a few cylinders, specifically getting runs with men in scoring position. The Spartans left ten men on base throughout the game, including two innings with men on second and third base.
SPARTAN OF THE GAME: Julian Gutierrez
Gutierrez was a bright spot in the somewhat bleak Spartan offense. He seemed to have found his swing back, as the Milikan player went 2-4 on the base path with two singles.
The Spartans take on the Salt Cats tomorrow afternoon at 12pm for the deciding game, as the winner will take on the winner of the Hornell/Genesee game in the Championship round.