August 17 at Jamestown, Win 5-3
State College entered the ninth with a 4-1 lead, and added an insurance run on a solo shot from Alex De Leon before yielding two runs and seven Jammers batters to reach the plate.
After the first three Jammers reached base against Jeff Rauh in the ninth, he was lifted in favor of Andrew Pierce, who allowed two of the three inherited runners to score. With the bases loaded and only one out, the Spikes caught a break when Cesar Valera snared a line-drive from Michael Fransoso and promptly stepped on second for the game ending unassisted double-play.
August 18 vs. Batavia, Win 4-0
The Spikes jumped on top early thanks to a two-run single from Mason Katz in the first, but Batavia starter Ryan Newell sat down 19 State College batters in row, striking out nine. Newell left after giving up a two-out triple to DeLeon in the seventh.
State College received solid pitching efforts from Jimmy Reed and Chase Brookshire who combined on the Spikes' fourth shutout of the year and second in three nights. Reed gave State College six quality innings allowing just two hits and three walks while striking out two. Brookshire finished out the game with three one-hit frames in which he struck out four batters.
August 19 vs. Batavia, Win 2-1 (11 innings)
Down 1-0 going into the eighth inning, the Spikes tied the game when Ramos singled to left field, stole second, then came around to score when Muckdogs catcher Chad Wallach's throw sailed into center field.
Valera led the charge in the 11th, beating out an infield single with one out. Brett Wiley followed with a base hit to left-center, and after David Washington walked to load the bases, Ronald Castillo brought in the winning run with a single to center field.
State College starter Kevin Herget allowed just one unearned run on four hits and two walks in a career-long six innings. Herget also struck out five.
Victor DeLeon capped five innings of scoreless State College relief by not allowing a hit over his 1.1 scoreless frames on the mound and earning the win. DeLeon struck out one.
August 20 at Williamsport, Win 10-4
Washington set a new Spikes record with his ninth home run of the year as State College delivered three round-trippers and 15 hits total to topple the Crosscutters.
Washington's bomb was a two-run shot to left-center on a 2-2 pitch in the third inning to give State College a 3-2 lead.
The long ball jump-started the Spikes' offense as Jimmy Bosco broke a 3-3 tie in the fourth with a two-run blast to left. Ramos also went deep with a solo homer to left in the eighth, his second of the year.
Valera and Wiley each put together three-hit games while Ramos went 2-for-5.
Pierce notched his first professional victory in relief for the Spikes. Pierce went four scoreless innings and gave up five hits while striking out one. Spikes starter Juan Bautista allowed four runs, three earned, over four innings of work.
August 21 vs. Williamsport, Win 9-3
Washington knocked in three more runs Wednesday and Castillo collected four hits, as State College pounded Williamsport for the second straight night.
Washington drove in two runs with double in the fourth and another with an RBI single in the fifth.
Castillo went 4-for-5 and produced a double, an RBI, a stolen base and a run scored on the evening. It was the Dominican outfielder's second four-hit game against Williamsport this season.
Arturo Reyes gave State College another quality performance, going six innings for the win. Reyes allowed two runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out one.
August 22 vs. Williamsport, Win 4-3 (11 innings)
Following a 90-minute weather delay on Tuesday, State College walked off for the seventh time this season thanks to an RBI single from Bosco in the 11th.
Both teams put up a run in the fourth and a pair in the sixth to make it a 3-3 ballgame going into the ninth.
Kelly got the Spikes going in the 11th, with a one out single. He moved to second on a passed ball, then tagged up from second to third on fly ball to right from Voit. With runners on the corners and two outs, Bosco poked a single to right, plating Kelly for the game-winning run.
August 23 vs. Auburn, Win 9-3
The Spikes continued their torrid offensive pace Friday, pounding the Doubledays for 14 hits and nine runs.
State College was kept off the board for the first two frames, but caught fire in the third. The Spikes put up one run in the third, fourth and sixth innings, as well as three runs in both the fifth and seventh.
Ramos got the offense going with a leadoff triple in the third, one of three Spikes triples on the evening.
Ramos was one of three Spikes to have a three hit game, along with Kelly and Michael Schulze.
Young hit his second home run of the season, a one-out three-run laser down the left-field line.
Nick Petree got the start for State College and turned in another solid performance, allowing just three hits and one run over seven innings of work. Petree struck out three, walked none, and his only run allowed came on a solo home run to right field on an elevated fastball.
At the Plate
Ronald Castillo played his first full week since injuring his left shoulder back in mid-July, and provided an instant spark. In seven games this week, six starts and one pinch-hit appearance, Castillo went 10-for-29 (.344), driving in six runs.
When healthy, the Dominican native has been one of the important pieces of this State College offense. Since his return, the Spikes offense has regained its early-season form, putting up 57 hits and 32 runs in their last four games.
Carson Kelly is riding a six game hit-streak, and went 12-for-28 in six games played this week, good for a .428 average. The 19-year-old third baseman has really come into his own over the second half of this season. In his last ten starts, Kelly is batting .340 and has driven in four runs. The 2012 second-round pick looks more and more comfortable with each passing week, and has made tremendous strides to overcome a slow start.
David Washington set multiple Spikes records this week. The 6'5" first baseman broke the team single season home-run record on Aug. 20th, with his ninth, then went deep again for his 10th on Aug. 22nd. Washington also set the record for most RBI in a season for State College with 45. He is leading the NYPL in RBI, seven more than Harold Ramirez's second place total of 38, and is alone for third in the league with 10 dingers, behind Zach Green and Michael Martinez, who both have 11.
Brett Wiley has been hitting the cover off the ball for State College since being promoted from Johnson City. The second-baseman is batting .361 since joining the club. In 18 games with State College, Wiley has three triples, one home run, 11 RBI and six stolen bases.
The Huntington, Ind. native had big shoes to fill when Bruce Caldwell was promoted to Peoria, but in his short time with the club has been even more of an offensive threat than was Caldwell. Going into Friday night's contest, Wiley was batting .444 over his previous ten games, had driven in six runs, and scored seven.
On the Mound
Nick Petree continued to show that he is the Spikes best starting pitcher this year. Against Jamestown on the 17th, Petree went six innings, allowing six hits, one earned run on four strikeouts and no walks. In his second outing Friday, Petree worked a masterful seven innings in which he allowed just three hits and one run. The run came on a mistake pitch, and elevated fastball, sent deep for a solo home run. The Missouri State product is 3-1 on the year, with a 1.05 ERA and 40 strikeouts to just 14 walks in 43 innings.
After being scratched from his last scheduled start in Staten Island on August 7th with a shoulder strain, Andrew Pierce worked himself back into the fray with two scoreless relief appearances this week. In five total innings of work, he scattered eight hits, walked none and struck out one. There was never any official DL move for Pierce, and he appears to be healthy and back in form.
Johnny Polanco also worked two scoreless relief appearances this week, allowing just two hits in 4.2 innings of work. This was a big week for him as his last outing entering this week was arguably his worst of the season. Against Mahoning Valley on August 15, Polanco allowed four earned runs in just 1.1 innings. The 6'3" righty then settled down, and struck out four without walking any batters this week.
No transactions or injuries this week for State College.
On the Horizon
State College will wrap up its three-game set with Auburn Saturday and Sunday, then take on Williamsport in a mid-week three-game commuter series (first two in Williamsport, third in State College), before taking on division rival Jamestown on Thursday and Friday.
Follow Robert Davidson on Twitter at @robo_tweets, and on Flickr at flickr.com/photos/robert_davidson.
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