After a pivotal wild card win against the Saltcats, the odds only lessened for Syracuse, as the Spartans then drove out to Cortland, to face the reigning NYCBL champions, in the Cortland Crush. Having come into the matchup 4-4 against each other, it was tough to tell which way this 3 game playoff series would sway, as we prepared for a 6pm first pitch for game 1 of the Eastern Division Championship. The Spartans went to their RHP Ethan Collins, as the Crush threw Connor Brinkman. In typical Spartans fashion, the game went down to the wire, as they lost in walk off fashion to the Crush, with a final score of 4-3.
It was a pitcher’s duel in favor of the Spartans early, though. Both pitchers held each other scoreless through 3 innings, with minimal batters reaching base on both sides. It wasn’t until Noah Roots opened up action in the top of the fourth inning, when we saw our first run of the ballgame. With a lead off single, he came all the way around to score as Camden New drove him in, reaching base with an error from the third basemen of the Crush. One more run followed as Robert Johnston doubled to plate Camden New.
The Crush were the first to go to the arm barn, throwing Noah Wieczorek for the final three innings. As for Syracuse, they threw Aaron Cole out of the bullpen in the seventh inning as well.
The first Crush run came in in the eighth, as Aaron Cole allowed a pinch-hit RBI single from Mason Kirchberg. That would be the lone run of the inning. The Spartans quickly responded with a run of their own in the top of the ninth, as JC Ng drove in a run with an error from the replacement shortstop Jason Arrigo. Michael Perales scored.
Then came the bottom of the ninth. With the Spartans up 3-1, chaos broke loose. With two outs and the bases loaded, a wild pitch plated Nick Palma, scoring one, and putting the tying and walk-off runners in scoring position. After one more walk, Alec Gomez snuck a ground ball up the middle for a walk off single, as the Spartans dropped game 1 of the Eastern division championship series, in brutal fashion.
Game 2 is at OCC tomorrow, 7pm first pitch.