Pete Alonso made a promise to himself: Don’t forget. Remember those empty at-bats against Aaron Nola.
Years later, it appears to have helped him.
The Mets slugger continued Saturday night to enjoy success against the stellar Phillies right-hander, driving in the lone run in the Mets’ 1-0 victory in front of a sold-out crowd of 43,857 at Citi Field.
In college, when Alonso played for Florida he struggled mightily against Nola, who pitched for LSU. He couldn’t hit him. In one game, Nola struck him out three times.
“They were really bad at-bats,” Alonso recalled after driving in his major league-leading 23rd game-winning run of the season. “He’s one of those guys that really owned me in college and I just used that prior experience and took that as a learning tool.”
Alonso has enjoyed a lot of success against Nola at the big league level. He’s 14-for-40 lifetime against him with four home runs and eight RBIs. He credits some of that to getting a good look at Nola years ago in college.
“Just because I know what this stuff looks like. I was introduced to how he pitches and his stuff, really,” Alonso said. “He was really effective against me. I learned from those experiences and as I progressed and matured in my career, I was able to make those adjustments.”
The Mets mustered just four hits in eight innings against Nola, and none after the second inning, but Alonso’s opposite-field, first-inning base hit was enough for Jacob deGrom and three relievers.
With two outs and Starling Marte on third base, Alonso lined an 0-1 fastball to right field to plate the game’s lone run, notching the 97th RBI of his strong season.
“Fastball over the plate. I was trying to just stay inside of it, drive the ball to the right side of the park,” Alonso said. “He didn’t really make too many other mistakes tonight, so I’m just happy I was able to capitalize when I got one.”