Ward Melville’s Steven Matz took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and, after he finally faltered, the Binghamton Mets mounted a ninth inning rally to win the Eastern League Championship in a walk-off, 2-1, against Richmond at NYSEG Stadium on Friday.
Pinch-hitter Jayce Boyd’s one-out single in the bottom of the ninth plated pinch-runner Gavin Cecchini for the winning run.
Brandon Nimmo (1-for-4, three strikeouts) struck out looking to start the ninth, but Xorge Carillo and Wilfredo Tovar followed with back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second. Cecchini was inserted for Carillo, the catcher, and Boyd was called on to bat for reliever Cody Satterwhite, who earned the win with a scoreless ninth.
Carillo was named playoffs MVP. He batted .250 with two doubles and a home run and had four RBIs in eight games.
On a 2-2 pitch, Boyd laced a single to center to give the Mets the Eastern League title.
The Mets swept the best-of-five series and won their last five games overall. They faced a 1-2 deficit in the Eastern League Division Series against Portland, but won the final two games to advance.
Matz, the Mets’ top lefthanded pitching prospect, was brilliant on Friday, striking out 11 in 7 1/3 innings. He tossed 106 pitches, 72 for strikes, and had eight groundouts. Matz took a no-hitter one out into the eighth inning, having walked just two hitters, but back-to-back one-out singles from Elliot Blair and Eliezer Zambrano put runners on first and second and chased the southpaw.
Nursing a 1-0 Binghamton lead, Hansel Robles replaced Matz and struck out pinch-hitter Tyler Horan. But Daniel Carbonell singled to right to tie the score. Rightfielder Travis Taijeron threw out Zambrano trying to advance to third to end the inning.
The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. Taijeron led off with a single, moved to third on Nimmo’s one-out single and scored on Carrillo’s sacrifice fly.
Binghamton and Richmond combined for 12 hits on Friday – all singles.