Former Buc Bobby Parnell relishing Mets' closer role


      CHARLESTON, S.C. - Former Charleston Southern standout Bobby Parnell was on the mound last night at Yankee Stadium to help the New York Mets close out a four-game sweep of the Yankees with his ninth save of the season. The outing comes as the latest highlight in what has been a breakout year for the 28-year old right-hander.Parnell, who pitched at CSU from 2003 to 2005, has excelled as the Mets' closer after earning the role in spring training. Armed with a mid-to-high 90's fastball and a refined knuckle-curveball, Parnell is currently 4-1 with a 1.85 ERA and nine saves. The former ninth round pick has dominated hitters over his 24.1 innings, allowing just 14 hits and seven walks while striking out 23 and holding opponents to a .173 batting average.The Salisbury, North Carolina native also saved the opener of the four-game set against the Yankees, and is a perfect 7-for-7 in save opportunities during the month of May. His performance has more than validated the Mets' decision to sign him to a one-year, $1.7 million contract this past offseason.Parnell has been a consistent contributor near the back end of the Mets bullpen since making his Major League debut in 2008, and is coming off an excellent 2012 season. He helped the Mets to a 47-40 first-half record last year, and finished the season 5-4 with a career-best 2.49 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 68.2 innings.