MANCHESTER, NH - New Hampshire catcher Max Pentecost launched a go-ahead, three-run homer in the eighth inning to send the Fisher Cats past the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, 9-7, on Saturday night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. The Rumble Ponies failed to protect two separate leads and watched the Fisher Cats clinch a postseason berth.
Before the Ponies' loss went final in Manchester, the Rumble Ponies' playoff fate had already been sealed. The Trenton Thunder's victory over the Hartford Yard Goats officially eliminated the Rumble Ponies from postseason contention.
Pentecost's shot put a bow on a see-saw battle highlighted by four lead changes. Trailing by two entering the third, Binghamton hung five runs on starter Hector Perez. JJ Franco and John Mora supplied run-producing doubles in the big frame. New Hampshire erased the three-run lead with a Connor Panas homer in the fourth and three runs off Binghamton starter Nabil Crismatt in the fifth.
Trailing 6-5, Binghamton's last push to take the lead back started in the eighth with a walk by Will Toffey. Kevin Taylor followed by scorching a single off the right-field wall. Reliever Francisco Rios notched a pair of outs before handing off to Travis Bergen. Tyler Moore greeted the lefty with a roller up the middle. Shortstop Santiago Espinal grabbed the grounder, but his low throw to first skipped past Juan Kelly and allowed Toffey and Taylor to score.
The Rumble Ponies handed their new-found lead to David Roseboom in the bottom of the eighth. The southpaw walked Jon Berti and surrendered a single to Forrest Wall before facing Pentecost. The catcher launched Roseboom's 2-2 offer down the right-field line to cap his three-hit game.
Bergen worked a scoreless ninth to seal New Hampshire's memorable win.
Crismatt was touched for six runs (five earned) on twelve hits over five innings in his first start with the Rumble Ponies following a nine-start stint in Triple-A with the Las Vegas 51's. Ryder Ryan replaced Crismatt and struck out six over two scoreless innings.
The Rumble Ponies (61-70) close their three-game visit to New Hampshire on Sunday at 1:35 PM. RHP Harol Gonzalez takes the mound for Binghamton. The Horizons Federal Credit Union pregame show starts at 1:20 PM and can be heard on NewsRadio 1290 AM WNBF and the Binghamton Rumble Ponies channel on TuneIn.
POSTGAME NOTES: Binghamton failed to make the postseason for just the second time in the last six seasons…Ryder Ryan's six strikeout performance was the most by a Binghamton reliever since Drew Smith struck out seven Portland Sea Dogs on August 19, 2017…three other Eastern League teams were officially eliminated from the postseason on Saturday (Hartford, Richmond & Bowie)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.