By Christian De Guzman

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse Spartans (13-7-1) used a five-run rally in the seventh inning to defeat the Syracuse Salt Cats (8-13-1) by a score of 6-2. The Spartans are a perfect 6-0 against their Salt City rivals this season.

After a 45-minute rain delay, the Spartans and Salt Cats got going at OCC later than scheduled. The Spartans showed no signs that the delay affected them as they pounced early on the Salt Cats. Danny Cantor started the scoring with an RBI double in the first inning to give the Spartans an early 1-0 lead.

The Salt Cats battled back and took the lead with runs in the fourth and fifth inning. RBI doubles from Ethan Hennessey and Mike Destefano put the Salt Cats ahead of the Spartans in a game for only the second time this season. The Spartans trailed 2-1 after five innings of play.

The small blips in the fourth and fifth inning didn’t do justice to the performance from Spartans starting pitcher Zach Kemp. The Ithaca, N.Y. native tossed his second quality start of the season, going six innings with two runs allowed on six hits. Kemp struck out a season-high five batters in his outing.

“I was getting ahead in the count, throwing strikes, and using my off-speed as well,” said Kemp.

The Spartans tied the game in the seventh after a wild series of events. After Jake Sisto reached on an error by his brother, Aaron Sisto, Jackson Geisler came in to run from the Spartans catcher. Geisler moved to second on a single by Matthew Alexander, which brought Kyle Platt to the dish. Platt laid down a bunt and pushed it down the third base line. A throw to third base was not in time to retire Geisler, and he came home after no one covered the plate. That tied the game at 2-2.

An intentional walk loaded the bases after the at-bat to Platt, and the Spartans stayed patient to retake the lead. Grant Shepherd and Kyle Hoog forced back-to-back bases-loaded walks to give the Spartans a 4-2 lead. David Bedrosian followed that up with a two-run single to increase the Spartans lead to 6-2.

Matthew Bergan relieved Kemp after six innings and the Skyline College right-hander immediately went to work. Bergan set a personal season high with seven strikeouts over three innings to earn the save and shut the door against the Salt Cats. Bergan didn’t allow a hit in his outing.

The Spartans have hit the halfway point of the NYCBL season and have won four straight. With the victory, the Spartans take sole position of first place with 27 points.

“They’re having fun, which is a big part of this,” said Spartans Head Coach Matt Michalski.

The Spartans return to the field with a game against the Cortland Crush on Wednesday at OCC. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. For tickets, email [email protected]