For the second night in a row the Erie SeaWolves produced ninth inning magic. Unfortunately, this time they didn't have enough left in the tank to carry it into the tenth inning as they fell to Binghamton in the series opener 7-5.
Down 5-3 entering the bottom of the ninth inning, the SeaWolves offense manufactured a pair of runs to force extra innings. But their hard work was undone after Brooks Brown walked a batter and surrendered a home run to Mets' designated hitter Marshall Hubbard in the tenth.
"Yes (I think all of our games will be this dramatic), because of the way this team plays," manager Phil Nevin said. "This team always battles. I'm proud of the way we played."
The SeaWolves defeated Trenton with on a walk-off homer by Max St. Pierre on Sunday.
Cale Iorg had his best game of the season going 3-for-4 with a double and Andy Dirks went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Erie starter Thad Weber threw 7 1/3 innings while allowing four earned runs with three strike outs.
The SeaWolves started a furious rally in the bottom of the ninth inning, trailing by two runs.
Iorg started things off by hitting a double down the left field line off Roy Meritt and was brought home on a single to right by Shawn Roof, who was in the bullpen catching Brooks Brown when he got the call from Nevin to pinch hit for second baseman Justin Henry.
"I pretty much always got to be ready in the seventh, eighth and ninth inning. The guys on the bench - we're always looking for a situation like that," Roof said.
After a pitching change by Binghamton, Wilkin Ramirez came to the plate with two-outs and Roof on third. He hit a pitch off Clint Everts to left field that initially looked like a pop-up, but sailed into the outfield and nearly made it out of the park before hitting the top of the wall, allowing Roof to score and tie the game at 5-5.
"I didn't think that ball was even going to hit the wall," Ramirez said.
But the rally was ended in the tenth inning when Brown surrendered the home run.
"It's always tough to lose a game especially after the we clawed back," Roof said. "We fought, but they came out ahead."
Max St. Pierre was pulled from the game in the eighth inning after taking a ball off his right thumb. It is currently believed to be dislocated, but he was taken to the hospital for x-rays.
This led to an interesting development in the seventh inning. Jeff Kunkel, who was brought in for St. Pierre, led off the inning with walk and then took second on an Iorg single. Justin Henry came to the plate, and after fouling off two bunt attempts, laid down another with two strikes and successful sacrificed him to third. He eventually scored on a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 3-3.
"I have all the faith in the world in Henry, but with Wilkin hitting in the two hole, we want to try and get him up with guys on," Nevin said.
Erie is yet to win a series opener at home this season.