State College Spikes Notebook: 2013 Week 7

The Cardinals' New York-Penn League affiliate went 6-1 this week, moving into a Wild Card tie. Solid relief work has been key.

The Spikes (25-19) returned to their winning ways this week, taking six of seven and moving into a tie for the New York-Penn League Wild Card lead. State College received contributions from every part of its lineup and staff this week, and bookended the week with a pair of walk-off singles.

July 27 vs. Auburn, Win 2-1

Cesar Valera's bases- loaded walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth, his fourth hit of the game, gave the State College a 2-1 victory last Saturday.

State College trailed 1-0 going into the ninth, but got its rally started with Luke Voit's one-out infield single. Michael Schulze then ran for Voit and moved to second on Matthew Young's walk. Steven Ramos followed with another infield single to load the bases and set up Luis Perez's game-tying hit by pitch. On the very first pitch he saw, Valera stroked a base hit to right field to plate Young for the winning run.

Jacob Booden earned his first victory for Sate College with two scoreless innings of relief, in which he struck out five and yielded just one hit and one walk. Spikes starter Arturo Reyes was also effective, allowing just one run on four hits and two walks while striking out two over five innings of work.

July 28 at Batavia, Loss 10-5

The Spikes led 4-0 after three innings, but the wheels fell off for Willy Paulino in the bottom of the fourth on Sunday.

The Muckdogs opened the frame with two singles, a triple and an RBI groundout to bring home their first three runs in the fourth. With two outs, Paulino then plunked a batter, allowed a single then struck out Avery Romero, but the ball scooted away from Spikes' catcher Dante Rosenberg and Romero reached to load the bases. The lanky right-hander then issued a bases-loaded walk to give Batavia 5-4 lead.

Paulino's day was done after 3.2 innings, during which he allowed five runs, all earned, on six hits, three walks and one hit batter. Kyle Webb came on in relief, and got the next batter to ground out weakly to end the nightmarish fourth inning for State College.

The Muckdogs scored five runs to State College's one over the next three frames. The ten runs allowed by Spikes pitchers were the most in any game this season. State College had not allowed more than seven runs in a game prior to Sunday.

The Spikes' two, three and four hitters - Valera, Bruce Caldwell and David Washington - went a combined 9-for-14 at the plate, scoring five runs and driving in three.

July 29 at Batavia, Win 2-1 (13 innings)

The Spikes pushed the first run of the game across in the top of the fourth on an RBI double from Carson Kelly.

The Muckdogs came right back in the home half of the fourth though, and pushed a run across on an RBI groundout to tie the game.

In the eighth, with the score still 1-1, Muckdogs' right fielder Carlos Lopez barreled around third and crashed into Spikes catcher Alex De Leon while trying to score from first on a double. The Wooldland Hill, Cal. native received the throw from left field, and his chest took the brunt of the force. De Leon was removed from the game immediately following the collision. Though not on the disabled list, he has not played since.

Jacob Booden, one of six Spikes pitchers in Monday's contest, picked up the win. He held Batavia scoreless in the 11th and 12th frames, allowing one hit, two walks and one strikeout.

Caldwell led off the 13th with a line drive single to center, moved to second on a Washington infield single, and third on a sacrifice bunt from Kelly. Caldwell then came around to score the winning run on a sacrifice fly from Luis Perez.

July 30 vs. Tri-City, Win 6-2

The ValleyCats got on the board first on Tuesday when they pushed a run across on a solo home run in the top of the third.

State College came right back with a four-run offensive barrage in the fourth to take the lead.

The Spikes began the inning with consecutive singles from Matthew Young, Steven Ramos and Valera, who brought home Young with a line drive to center to tie the game at 1-1.

Later in the inning, with runners on the corners and one out, Washington ripped an RBI line drive to center and was followed by a two-run triple to left from Kelly, to push the Spikes lead to 4-1.

The Spikes added two more in the seventh, and Tri-City came back for one run in the eighth to make it a 6-2 ballgame.

Jimmy Reed started for the Spikes and gave up that solo shot in the third, but scattered Tri-City's four other singles en route to allowing just one run in five innings of work.

Andrew Pierce came on in the sixth and allowed just one run in his four innings of relief to back up Reed. The lanky righty allowed just three hits and struck out six to close out the win.

July 31 vs. Tri-City, Win 7-4

After the two squads traded punches early on Wednesday, Tri-City led 4-3 through six, but everything fell apart for Tri-City in the seventh.

Valera led off the inning with a hard ground ball to the ‘Cats shortstop, Chan Moon, who booted the ball, allowing Valera to reach.

Following a strikeout, ‘Cats pitchers issued State College three straight walks and gave up a sacrifice fly to Luis Perez as the Spikes took a 5-4 lead.

The Spikes weren't content with the one run lead, tacking on two insurance runs in the eighth to extend the cushion to 7-4.

State College's offense came from an unlikely source though. Voit, Young, Ramos and Valera, the bottom two and top two batters in the State College lineup, went a combined 7-for-17 with four RBI as Young extended his hit streak to ten games.

Mason Katz also had a good day the plate, going 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI.

August 1 vs. Tri-City, Win 4-1

In his first game action with the club, Brett Wiley was the catalyst for State College on Thursday, providing a two-run triple in the fifth and an RBI single in the seventh.

The Huntington, Ind. native was promoted from Johnson City, Tenn. on Wednesday, and was in the lineup just over 24 hours after arriving in State College.

The Spikes fell behind early when Tony Kemp ripped a triple to right field on the second pitch thrown by Spikes starter Kevin Herget, and scored on a groundout to give the ValleyCats a 1-0 lead.

The Spikes' offense came alive in the fifth as the club pushed across three runs on an RBI single from Perez and two more runs on Wiley's triple.

State College tacked on an insurance run in the seventh, when Luis Perez was singled home by Wiley to extend the Spikes' lead to 4-1.

Herget worked 5 2/3 innings, scattering four hits, allowing just the one run in the first and striking out four.

Mike Aldrete and Jacob Booden combined for three shutout innings to back up Herget and preserve the Spikes win.

August 2 vs. Vermont, Win 1-0

Steven Ramos lined a single to left-center field in the bottom of the ninth inning to plate the only run of the game.

Friday's contest was a pitchers' duel as Arturo Reyes and Victor DeLeon combined for eight shutout innings.

In the ninth, Katz reached on an error to lead off the frame, and after a sacrifice bunt and intentional walk, left for pinch-runner Wiley. Ramos sent a two-strike pitch to left-center to bring Wiley across for the game-winning run.

The game-winning hit came after Ramos had been thrown out at third base as the potential go-ahead run in the eighth inning on a sacrifice bunt by Juan Herrera. Herrera sacrificed Ramos from second to third, but Ramos overran third, thinking he might be able to take home. Vermont's catcher made the play on the bunt, and Ramos thought he might not get back in time, but by the time Ramos made up his mind he was in no man's land and was thrown behind by Vermont's first baseman for the double play.

At the Plate

Not the usual suspects – The State College offense wasn't clicking the way it was earlier in the season, but they received production when they needed it this week. It came from any given spot in the lineup any given night.

Matthew Young carried a ten-game hitting streak into Saturday's game, and he and Luke Voit provided key hits Tuesday and Wednesday.

Young, who really struggled in June, has picked it up, and is starting to come around now. Spikes manager Oliver Marmol said he and hitting coach Ramon "Smokey" Ortiz changed a few things mechanically a couple weeks ago and Young hasn't been getting beaten by fastballs as often.

Young is exceptional athlete, with a great arm, an instinct for right field and a good head on his shoulders. If his swing can come around, it would be a tremendous boost to this State College squad and his development.

On the Mound

Mike Aldrete – Aldrete, son of Cardinals bench coach Mike Aldrete, threw four innings of shutout relief over two appearances this week. The Salinas, Cal. native struck out four, and allowed just one hit.

Jacob Booden – Booden appeared in three games this week, pitching six shutout innings out of the pen (2.0 each game). The 6-foot-7 righty allowed just three hits and struck out seven in his six innings of work.

Kevin Herget – Herget (5-0) won his only start this week, tossing his one of his best outings of the season. The Kean University (N.J.) product went five innings, allowing just one run on four hits, while striking out four. The 2013 39th round selection leads the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division in wins this season, but has his offense to thank for many of them. Entering his start on Thursday, opponents were batting .348 against Herget this season.

The righty has found his curveball and been trusting his stuff more over his last two starts. At the beginning of the season, Herget was trying to blow his low to mid 90s fastball by hitters but said in his postgame remarks on Thursday that he is learning to pitch to contact.


7/31 – Infielder Bruce Caldwell promoted to Peoria
7/31 - Infielder Brett Wiley received from Johnson City
7/31 - Infielder Juan Herrera traded from Indians to Cardinals, assigned to State College


7/29 – Alex De Leon was injured in a collision at home plate. Initially reports were a chest injury, but concussion tests were run. No official injury status, but it doesn't appear that a DL stint will be necessary.

7/22 – Ronald Castillo was placed on the 7-day DL after injuring his left shoulder diving for line drive on July 21st against Connecticut. Castillo remains out, more than ten days since the injury. Castillo went to St. Louis to be evaluated by team physicians, but there has been no word on when a possible activation might occur.

On the Horizon

The Spikes will wrap up their home stand with games against Vermont on Saturday and Sunday before hitting the road Tuesday for a six-game road trip to New York to take on Staten Island and Brooklyn.

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