With home runs from Andy Burns, Anthony Alford and Forrest Wall, the Bisons ended the 2019 season on a winning note, defeating the RailRiders, 5-3, Monday afternoon from PNC Field. With the victory, the Herd finished the season with a 71-69 record and a third-place finish in the IL North Division.
The Bisons had the chance to play spoiler to the team that knocked them out of playoff contention just five days ago and Buffalo did just that. Because of their win and Syracuse’s victory over the Red Wings in Rochester, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will be forced to host the Mets for a one-game play-in on Tuesday to see which team advances on to the postseason.
Buffalo jumped all over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre starter Josh Maciejewski, who had spent most of the season at the Single-A level. Jonathan Davis pop up on the infield was misplayed by rehabbing superstar Edwin Encarnacion and Burns followed with a laser home run to left field for the 2-0 lead.
For Burns, the home run was his career-best 19th of the season. The fan-favorite finished the season strong with home runs in three of the four games in the series. He finished the year with a team-best 113 hits to go along with 63 RBI.
After an RBI-single from Davis in the second put the Herd up 3-1, Alford demolished the first pitch of the third inning for his seventh home run of the year. Not only did the RailRiders’ left field not move on the play, but the team’s bullpen in left field barely flinched as the ball soared over the heads.
The final hit and home run for the Bisons in the game belonged to Wall, who went deep for the second consecutive day. He led off the sixth inning with a shot into right field off RailRiders reliever, Trevor Lane.
That proved to be enough as five Bisons pitchers came out of the bullpen to close out the final game of the year. Ryan Feierabend and Andrew Sopko were both activated off the injured list before the game and worked an inning of shutout relief. Feierabend needed just six pitches in a 1-2-3 fifth inning to earn the win. Sopko matched that with a six-pitch sixth inning.
Kirby Snead allowed a run on three infield singles in the seventh but got maybe the biggest out of the day. With the bases loaded and only one out, he struck out Encarnacion with a fastball off the outside of the plate.
After Jackson McLelland’s shutout inning, Bryan Baker worked around a leadoff walk in the ninth to earn his third save of the season.
Sean Reid-Foley started for Buffalo and allowed two runs on five hits in four innings of work. He picked up six strikeouts and walked just one batter.
The Bisons will now look to the start of the 2020 season, which will begin where this one ended on April 9. After four in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and four more in Pawtucket, the Herd will host Rochester for a fridaynightbash! Home Opener on April 17.