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Puello homers twice as B-Mets win rubber match vs. Thunder

BINGHAMTON, NY  Cesar Puello hit two solo home runs, including the game-winner in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Binghamton Mets defeated the Trenton Thunder, 5-4, Thursday afternoon at NYSEG Stadium.

Puello hit four home runs in the series, as Binghamton won their third consecutive series overall.

For the second straight game, the Thunder scored in the top half of the first inning. Ramon Flores reached on a leadoff walk to start the game, and advanced to second on a pick-off attempt that bounced into the dugout. Slade Heathcott placed a sac bunt down to move Flores up to third, and he scored on an RBI single up the middle by Tyson Blaser.

They struck again in the second inning with two outs. Ali Castillo smashed an RBI double into centerfield to score Reegie Corona, and Flores followed with a double down the right field line to put the Thunder up 3-0.

In the bottom half Binghamton took advantage of control problems by Matt Tracy. Tracy walked the first four batters of the inning, and had a stretch of 13 consecutive pitches out of the strike zone. The B-Mets scored their first run when Alonzo Harris walked, and plated another on a double-play hit by Xorge Carillo. In the inning they scored two runs without the aid of a base hit.

With a 3-2 score after two innings, both starting pitchers settled down on the mound. Cory Mazzoni and Matt Tracy both found their grooves and tossed three consecutive scoreless innings.

In the bottom half of the sixth however, Cesar Puello hit his fourth home run in as many days to tie the game at 3-3. After the next two hitters were retired, Joe Bonfe reached on an infield single to keep the two-out rally alive. He then stole second base, and Alonzo Harris lined a double down the line to give the B-Mets their first lead of the game at 4-3.

Mazzoni was removed from the game in the top of the seventh inning after allowing Castillo to single. The righty allowed five hits in 6.2 innings. Jack Leathersich struck out Flores to end the inning, but got into trouble in the eight.

He allowed two walks and a single to load the bases with nobody out. Neil Medchill struck out for the first out of the inning, and Leathersich then handed the ball to closer Jeff Walters.

On the first pitch to Jose Pirela, he hit a pop fly to the warning track in left field. Joe Bonfe made the catch, but it was plenty deep enough to score Heathcott from third as Trenton tied the game 4-4. Walters then got Corona to pop to end the inning.

Puello did not let the tie stand for long; he blasted his second home run over the left field wall off of Fred Lewis to give Binghamton a 5-4 advantage. Walters stayed on the mound and sealed the win with a perfect ninth inning.

Binghamton (35-25) goes on the road on Friday to start a three-game series against the Altoona Curve. First pitch on Friday night is scheduled for 7:00 PM as Logan Verrett battles against Ethan Hollingsworth on the mound.

(Courtesy Binghamton Mets)

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