Pete Alonso swatted 14 homers and posted an absurd 1.128 OPS for the University of Florida during their 2016 season, a season that saw them win 52 games and surge to the #1 spot in all of college baseball. On that team was a breakout freshman shortstop, too, one who would eventually play his way into being the #5 overall pick of the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft.
That would be Jonathan India, of course, who the Cincinnati Reds selected with said pick and watched emerge as the 2021 National League Rookie of the Year.
The two former Florida stars were front and center in Queens on Friday night, first with Alonso swatting a mammoth 3-run homer off Hunter Greene to level the score at 3-3 in the 6th inning of game previously dominated by Cincinnati, and later with India punching right back with the game-deciding 2-run blast in the Top of the 7th. It was precisely what the Reds were looking for on all accounts, really - finally, a starting pitcher pitching his way deeper into the game, for once, and one of their oft-injured stars back in the lineup and socking a timely homer to lead the club to a big, big win.
Said win, the 77th of the season for the Reds, pushed them back into the final Wild Card spot in the National League in a virtual tie with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Greene, it should be noted, was rather brilliant right up until the meatball he served up to Alonso. He had breezed into the 6th inning have allowed just a lone hit and lone walk, and while Alonso’s big fly ended up marring his overall line, he was still flashing some the more electric stuff we’ve seen from him before or after the hip issue that forced him on to the 60-day IL earlier this season. His final line - 5.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, BB, 6 K on 98 pitches - tells the story it tells, but the trend line for Greene of late sure seems to signal he’s ready to keep improving for as far as he can help carry the Reds this season.
The Reds and Mets will run it back on Saturday at 7:10 PM ET, with Andrew Abbott looking to turn back the clock to his brilliant start to his 2023 big league season in lieu of the struggles he has faced in recent starts. Righty Tylor Megill will get the start for the Mets, meaning we’ll get the chance to finally see Joey Votto back in the lineup once more.