BINGHAMTON, NY – Ricky Knapp and Marcos Molina each tossed complete games to guide the Binghamton Rumble Ponies to a doubleheader sweep of the Portland Sea Dogs on Friday at NYSEG Stadium. The Rumble Ponies grabbed the opener, 4-1, before snatching the nightcap by a 5-1 final. Binghamton lowered their magic number to clinch a postseason berth down to eight.
Game 1 – Binghamton 4, Portland 1
Pitching with Binghamton for the first time in nearly a year, Knapp shined in his return to the Southern Tier. The righty needed just 28 pitches to cruise through his first three scoreless innings. Knapp tossed a blank fourth, but surrendered a two-out RBI double to Jordan Procyshen in the fifth.
The tally proved to be the only blemish on Knapp’s tab. He responded by retiring the final seven Sea Dogs he faced, posting back-to-back strikeouts to seal his second complete game in as many starts at NYSEG Stadium.
The Rumble Ponies backed Knapp’s effort with a three-spot in the fourth inning against Henry Owens. Gustavo Nunez plated Tomas Nido with a sacrifice fly to center before Kevin Kaczmarski pelted the videoboard beyond the right-field wall with a two-run homer, his fourth long ball of the season.
Knapp (1-0) allowed one run on four hits over seven innings to claim the win. He struck out nine, falling one shy of his career-high. Owens (3-4) was touched for four runs on five hits over 5-1/3 innings in the loss.
Game 2 – Binghamton 5, Portland 1
Molina followed in Knapp’s footsteps to send Binghamton to their fifth doubleheader sweep of the season. The righty allowed a hit in each of his first three innings, but kept the Sea Dogs off the board.
The Rumble Ponies offense followed the same script from the opener, breaking a scoreless game with three runs in the fourth inning. Matt Oberste threaded an RBI double down the left-field line to put Binghamton on the board. David Thompson followed by blasting a two-run homer to left, his team-leading 13th of the season. Tomas Nido added a two-run single in the fifth.
Molina (2-6) carried the lead to the finish line to earn his first win at NYSEG Stadium. He struck out six and allowed one run on seven hits over seven innings in his second straight complete game.
Portland starter Elih Villanueva (4-5) allowed three runs on six hits over 3-1/3 innings in the loss.
The Rumble Ponies (73-49) continue their series against Portland with a doubleheader on Saturday at 5:35 p.m. LHP Tommy Milone takes the mound in the opener on Major League rehab. The Horizons Federal Credit Union Pregame Show can be heard starting at 5:20 p.m. on NewsRadio 1290 AM WNBF and the Binghamton Rumble Ponies channel on TuneIn.
POSTGAME NOTES: Binghamton pitchers have combined for 12 complete games in 2017, the highest team total since 1996 (17 complete games)…Binghamton is 21-6 in their last 27 games…the Rumble Ponies are 12-3 in their last 15 games at NYSEG Stadium
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.