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Great Moments in Mets Minor League History: 2014 Eastern League Championship Series, Game 3

Game 3 of the 2014 Eastern League Championship Series was a great moment in Mets minors history.

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2014 Eastern League Championship Series, Game 3

With the Binghamton Mets up 2-0 on the Richmond Flying Squirrels in the best of five series, the two teams headed north to Binghamton for game three on September 12, 2014. Binghamton won the first two games of the series on the road in Richmond, and entered the game with a chance to clinch their first Eastern League Championship in 20 years, having last won the title in 1994. The Mets sent their ace, left-hander Steven Matz, to the mound to start against Ty Blach, one of the Giants top prospects, in the potentially decisive game.

Matz would prove to be the correct choice for Binghamton, as the Long Island native absolutely shoved, striking out a then career high 11 batters and holding Richmond to just two hits and two walks in 7 13 scoreless innings. The Mets tenth best prospect at the time, Matz carried a no-hitter an out into the eighth inning before allowing back to back singles to the bottom of the Flying Squirrel’s batting order and being pulled from the game after 106 pitches. The performance was later commemorated in a bobblehead giveaway, and served as the perfect cap on a breakout season for the tall lefty. After a couple of injury shortened seasons to start his professional career, Matz flourished between Advanced-A and Double-A in 2014, putting up a 2.24 ERA with 131 strikeouts in 140.2 innings pitched. His stellar performance during the season, along with his stellar performance in the championship game, helped Matz shoot up prospect lists in the upcoming 2014-2015 offseason, with Matz heading into 2015 ranked as the team’s second best prospect behind only Noah Syndergaard.

Binghamton struck first in the fourth inning, when Travis Taijeron singled to lead off the inning and later came around to score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Xorge Carrillo, giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. Carrillo would later be named the 2014 Eastern League Playoffs Most Valuable Player, after hitting .250/.310/.458 with two doubles and a homer in 24 playoff at-bats. The game remained at 1-0 until Matz was removed from the game with two runners on in the eighth inning. Hansel Robles was brought in to relieve Matz with one out, and managed to strike out the first batter he faced, before allowing the tying run to score on a single from Richmond’s Daniel Carbonell. Robles settled down from there and the game headed to the ninth tied at 1-1.

After Cody Satterwhite pitched a scoreless top of the ninth, the Mets went to work on trying to end the game in the bottom half of the inning. Xorge Carillo led off the inning with a single, and advanced to second on a single from Wilfredo Tovar. Former first round draft pick Gavin Cecchini came in to pinch run for Carillo on second with Jayce Boyd coming to the plate. Drafted by the Mets in the sixth round of the 2012 draft out of Florida State, Boyd was one of the better hitters on the BMets in 2014, hitting .293/.382/.414 in 477 at bats. With Cecchini on second and Tovar on first, Boyd drove a walk-off double to deep center field off of future big-leaguer Steven Okert to drive in the winning from second. For the first time in 20 years, and for the third time overall, the Binghamton Mets were the champions of the Eastern League.