PORTLAND, ME – The Binghamton Mets will play in the Eastern League Championship Series for the first time in 20 years. The B-Mets used a six-run fourth inning and 3-1/3 scoreless innings from their bullpen to defeat the Portland Sea Dogs, 8-5, in Game 5 of the Eastern Division Championship Series on Sunday afternoon at Hadlock Field. Binghamton will take on the Richmond Flying Squirrels for the Eastern League title, starting night in Richmond.
Binghamton set the tone early, jumping on Luis Diaz in the first inning. Brandon Nimmo started the contest by ripping a leadoff double into the right-field alley. Two batters later, Brian Burgamy put Binghamton on the board by slicing an RBI two-bagger to left-center. Following a walk, Travis Taijeron blooped an RBI single down the left-field line, giving the B-Mets a 2-0 lead.
Portland returned serve immediately. Rusney Castillo lined Gabriel Ynoa’s second pitch of the game into right-center for a double and took third on a groundout. David Chester brought him home by lining a two-out single into left field, cutting Binghamton’s lead in half.
The B-Mets broke the game open in the fourth, chasing Diaz from the hill. After a single and a sac bunt, Wilfredo Tovar extended Binghamton’s lead by lining an RBI single into center. Nimmo followed by punching a single into right, Tovar took third on the hit and scored when Jonathan Roof’s throw skipped into the seats.
Diaz exited the game after walking Burgamy and hitting Jayce Boyd with two outs. Darrell Ceciliani greeted reliever Dayan Diaz by belting a bases-clearing, three-run double off the Maine Monster in left field. Taijeron followed with an RBI single to right, giving Binghamton an 8-1 advantage.
Portland chipped away at the deficit against Ynoa. Shannon Wilkerson launched a two-out homer over the Monster to start the comeback bid in the fourth. Following a leadoff double by Heiker Meneses in the fifth, Castillo laced an RBI single up the middle. Jonathan Roof’s RBI double off the left-field wall with two outs in the sixth, ended Ynoa’s day. Menses welcomed reliever Hansel Robles to the game by ripping a run-producing single into left, cutting the B-Mets lead to three.
Robles kicked into another gear in the seventh. After surrendering a leadoff single to Mike Miller, the righty blazed through six straight batters, capping 2-1/3 scoreless innings of relief. Robles fanned Carson Blair and Chester to end the seventh and froze Jonathan Roof looking to end the eighth.
Cody Satterwhite took over in the ninth and struck out the first two he faced before Miller doubled to left-center. Satterwhite notched his first postseason save and punched Binghamton’s ticket to the Championship Series by inducing Keury De La Cruz to ground out to short.
Ynoa (1-0) allowed five runs on nine hits over 5-1/3 innings to collect the win. Diaz (0-1) was tagged for seven runs on eight hits and lasted 3-2/3 innings in the defeat.
POSTGAME NOTES: Binghamton is unbeaten in the Eastern League Championship Series, taking the title in 1992 and 1994…the series victory ends a stretch of five straight postseason series loses for Binghamton…Binghamton won two of three games in Portland, their first winning visit in four attempts at Hadlock Field in 2014