It was a chilly night at NYSEG Stadium Thursday as the Binghamton Mets opened their home schedule against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Temperatures dipped into the mid 30’s and the B-Mets bats were as cold as the night air.
Binghamton managed just three hits against Fisher Cats pitching and lost the game 3-1.
Fisher Cats starting pitcher Deck McGuire, who led the Eastern League with 15 losses a year ago and came into Thursday’s start with an earned run average of 5.79, held the B-Mets to one run on two hits over seven innings of work.
“He’s a kid that we saw last year and actually we had a lot of success against him,” said Binghamton manager Pedro Lopez. “He did his homework, it’s 2013 it’s a new year and he was a lot better than he was last year against us.”
Cory Vaughn got Binghamton’s first hit in the third inning when he banged a single to center. Josh Rodriguez got the second hit off of McGuire in the fourth when he doubled just inside the left field line. He moved to third when McGuire threw a pitch in the dirt that catcher Sean Ohchinko couldn’t corral.
Rhyne Hughes turned that at bat into a walk and Cesar Puello was next to the plate. He grounded into a fielder’s choice at short, allowing Rodriguez to score and put Binghamton on top 1-0.
B-Mets pitcher Logan Verrett made that lead stand up through six innings, with his bend but don’t break approach. The Fisher Cats got a runner to third in three of the first five innings, but Verrett kept them 90-feet away.
New Hampshire threatened again in the sixth when Kevin Pillar led off with a double. Ryan Schimpf popped one down the right field line that Hughes caught up with deep in foul territory. Pillar took off for third, but Hughes made a perfect throw to nail him to complete the double play and end the threat.
Unfortunately, Verrett ran into trouble again in the seventh inning that he couldn’t get out of. That’s because Adam Loewen ran into a pitch and sent it deep into the night and over the right field wall to tie the game at one.
Verrett got through the inning, finishing with 89 pitches, 58 of those for strikes.
John Church came in to pitch the eighth for Binghamton and was greeted with a single off the bat of John Tolisano.
One out later, Pillar stepped to the plate and just as he did on his sixth inning double, he got a pitch to hit and this one went a long way over the left field wall. That gave the visitors a 3-1 lead they would not relinquish.
“I thought the effort was there,” said Lopez. “There’s no doubt about it. Unfortunately we made some mistakes over the middle of the strike zone and they hit them out and we didn’t.”
"We got a good ball club, he continued. “They’re gonna make some mistakes, but I feel good about it. They seem to have no fear out there and they like playing the game and they play hard.”
That hard play continued into the bottom of the ninth when the B-Mets got the first two runners on against New Hampshire closer Chad Beck. Darrell Ceciliani walked and Rodriguez got his second hit of the night, a single to center. He finished 2-for-4 on the night for Binghamton.
Hughes and Puello followed with back-to-back strikeout and the game ended when Juan Centeno grounded out.
For more info: New Hampshire @ Binghamton boxscore
“We gotta make adjustments at the plate and make sure that when we get good pitches to hit, we execute,” said Lopez. “Last year we came in with a much older ball club and had a good mix of young guys and older guys. This year, they’re much younger overall than what we had last year.
“A lot of these guys here, it’s their first time in the Eastern League. New Hampshire was more experienced than Akron and Erie; it is a good test for us.”
The pitching, especially the starters have been pretty good for this B-Mets squad early in the season. Four of the five starters are pitching in Double-A for the first time and they are definitely holding their own.
The starters came into the game allowing 13 walks in six games. Verrett allowed one and Chase Huchingson walked one in the ninth for a total of 15 in seven games.
Binghamton (4-3) will look to get the bats started in the right direction tonight, facing these Fisher Cats in game two of the series.
Right-hander Tyler Pill (0-1, 7.20) makes his second start for Binghamton in game two of the four game series. Pill was roughed up in his first start, against Akron. He gave up five hits and five runs, four earned in a 13-3 Aeros win.
Righty Tyson Brummett (0-0, 0.00) will be on the mound for New Hampshire (5-3). Game time is 7:00 p.m.