BINGHAMTON, NY - The Binghamton Rumble Ponies dropped their third straight contest, 2-1, to the Erie SeaWolves Thursday afternoon at UPMC Park. Rumble Ponies collected just one hit on eight tries with men in scoring position and left four aboard in the final three innings. Binghamton outhit Erie in all three games of the series, but suffered their first three-game sweep of the season.
Trailing by one run in the seventh inning, Binghamton's Matt Oberste launched a one-out double and moved to third following Jio Mier's groundout. SeaWolves Manager Lance Parris turned to left-hander Jairo Labourt to diffuse the danger and he did. Needing just one pitch, Labourt induced a Gustavo Nunez groundout to strand the potential tying run on third base.
Binghamton threatened again in the eighth inning, after a Champ Stuart walk and Kevin Kaczmarski double. Parrish again turned to his bullpen, summoning Bryan Garcia to finagle his way out of the one-out jam. In his second Double-A appearance, Garcia struck out Tomas Nido and Cody Decker to keep the SeaWolves 2-1 lead in tact.
The Rumble Ponies efforts to scratch the tying run across strengthened in the ninth inning. After back-to-back singles by Oberste and Mier, Nunez, playing against his former team, stepped to the plate with a chance to tie the ballgame. The Ponies shortstop looped Garcia's pitch into short centerfield, but Mike Gerber dove and caught the would-be single for the second out, keeping the Rumble Ponies runners at bay. David Thompson pinch-hit for Champ Stuart as Binghamton's last hope, and before he can put a ball in play, the Rumble Ponies executed a double steal, moving both into scoring position. Thompson popped up a 3-2 pitch behind home plate, sending Miguel Gonzalez to the dugout railing to make the catch for the final out.
P.J. Conlon (5-5) suffered the loss despite logging seven innings of two-run baseball. He was touched for his sixth home run in his last six starts, when Christin Stewart opened the scoring with a fourth-inning solo home run.
After issuing a leadoff walk to Zach Cox in the fifth, Conlon allowed a double to A.J. Simcox, plating Cox for Erie's second run.
A.J. Ladwig (3-1) hurled 6-2/3 innings and gave up his only run in the top of the sixth inning. Stuart bunted for a single and advanced to second on Gabriel Quintana's throwing error. Guillorme moved Stuart to third with a ground out, before Kaczmarski doubled home Stuart to halve the deficit, 2-1.
Corey Taylor was the lone Rumble Pony reliever on Thursday afternoon, working a scoreless eighth inning.
The Rumble Ponies (34-26) return home for a week-long home stand starting Friday evening at 7:05 against the Reading Fightin Phils. RHP Casey Delgado takes the bump for Binghamton in their first meeting with second-place Reading. The Horizons Federal Credit Union Pregame Show can be heard starting at 6:50 PM on News Radio 1290 WNBF and the Binghamton Rumble Ponies channel on TuneIn.
POSTGAME NOTES: Binghamton finished the series 3-for-29 with runners in scoring position…Kevin Kaczmarski collected two hits in his 24th straight start in Right Field and is over .300 for the first time this season (.303)…Erie hit a home run in all three games of the series, while Binghamton failed to connect on a long ball…
Tickets for Binghamton's entire home schedule can be purchased at the NYSEG Stadium box office, online on www.bingrp.com and over the phone at (607) 722-FUNN.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.