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B-Mets win title on Boyd's walk-off single

After Matz takes no-no into eighth, Binghamton ends 20-year drought
September 12, 2014

The last time the Binghamton Mets won the Eastern League championship, Jayce Boyd was 2 1/2 months from his third birthday.

Boyd ended the Mets' 20-year title drought Friday night, delivering a walk-off single after Steven Matz flirted with a no-hitter, as Binghamton completed a sweep of Richmond with a 2-1 victory.

Pinch-hitting in the bottom of the ninth inning, Boyd lined a single to center field off reliever Steven Okert to score Gavin Cecchini with the winning run and send the Mets' Double-A affiliate to the third title in team history and first since 1994.

"It was a mix of emotions, because when Jayce hit that ball in the gap, I really didn't know what to do," B-Mets manager Pedro Lopez said. "I wanted to start jumping around, but I thought, 'Hey, I'm the manager, I've got to keep my composure.' I don't like to be the guy jumping around, I don't want to disrespect their team, so I didn't know what to do. I threw my hands up, I'm clapping, I wanted to jump around, but once everyone got into the dugout, I went over to [pitching coach] Glenn Abbott and Jason Griffin, our strength coach, and we were all hugging.

"It was a great feeling, something I felt coming a long time ago. And I just thank God we were able to do it tonight."

Matz, a 23-year-old left-hander from Long Island, recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts in front of a near-sellout crowd of 5,904 that included Mets general manager Sandy Alderson. The the Mets' No. 9 prospect took a no-hitter into the eighth before Elliot Blair blooped a one-out single to right and ended up allowing a run on two hits and two walks in 7 1/3 innings.

Hansel Robles gave up an RBI single to Daniel Carbonell in the eighth before Cody Satterwhite (2-0) struck out one in the ninth to earn his second playoff win.

Binghamton also set a franchise-record for combined wins between the regular season and the playoffs in a year, shattering the mark in 1994 when the B-Mets won 88 games.

Lopez said he kept the faith in his players, even when they hit a slump to finish the regular season and fell behind, 2-1, to Portland in the Eastern Division finals.

"It was incredible. Last year we came up short, and being able to do what we did against Portland was a turning point," Lopez said. "Everyone was concerned with the way we finished the season, we lost six straight. After the second loss in Portland, I told them, 'Just give me all you've got, don't quit on me. All I'm asking is don't quit on me because we're going to do this. Whether we win or lose, it doesn't matter, but if you're going to win, you have to earn it.' Being able to do it here and win the championship in front of our home fans was great."

The B-Mets struck first in the fourth when Travis Taijeron hit a leadoff single and postseason MVP Xorge Carrillo plated him with a sacrifice fly. The lead held until the eighth.

Boyd, a 2012 sixth-round pick out of Florida State, batted .293 with eight homers, 59 RBIs and a .382 on-base percentage in 119 games this season. He was ranked among the Mets' top 20 prospects earlier this year but slipped, despite hitting .333 in July and .378 in August.

Lopez said he knew Boyd would be called upon to hit for his reliever in the ninth.

"I told him thank you," Lopez said of his postgame message to Boyd. "With Satterwhite pitching all three games, I needed the double-switch. I knew he was only going to pitch one inning. The guys did a great job, all the credit goes to the players. It's a great year for us, I'm extremely happy we were able to do what they did tonight."

Matz, who threw 72 of 106 pitches for strikes, fell five outs short of the second postseason no-hitter in B-Mets history. Bill Pulsipher tossed the first Eastern League playoff no-no exactly 20 years ago in Game 2 of the Finals.

"Incredible," Lopez said. "I really did [think he could finish it], it's just too bad his pitch count got up there. We had Robles ready. We knew his pitch count was up, he was 11 away, but what a performance. The way he threw the ball, he deserved the win tonight."

Matz started Spring Training in Major League camp and made two Grapefruit League relief appearances. A Met fan who grew up an hour from Shea Stadium, he attended nearby Stony Brook University and was the team's second-round pick in 2009. He earned midseason All-Star honors with Class A Advanced St. Lucie before joining Binghamton on June 21. In 24 starts across the two levels, Matz was 10-9 with a 2.24 ERA and 131 strikeouts over 140 2/3 innings.

Ty Blach, the Giants' No. 6 prospect, started for the Flying Squirrels and struck out seven while allowing a run on five hits over seven innings. Cody Hall escaped trouble in the eighth after Tyler Rogers walked two batters, but Okert (0-1) took the loss after allowing the winning run on three hits.

Danny Wild is an editor for Follow his MLBlog column, Minoring in Twitter.