State College Spikes Notebook: 2014 Week 2

The State College Spikes are off to a solid 5-3 start in the New York-Penn League. Rowan Wick is dialed in at the plate.

After winning the season opener last Friday, the State College Spikes went 4-3 in its first full week of play. After getting out of the gate with a solid series win against Williamsport, the Spikes struggled defensively in the last two games against Batavia, but rallied for an extra inning win in Jamestown to cap the first week of action with a come from behind win.

June 14 vs. Williamsport (PHI), Win 6-2

Williamsport jumped out to an early lead, plating two runs on three hits last Saturday, but Spikes' starter Steven Farinaro settled down after the first, allowing just one hit over the next four shutout frames.

State College was able to break through for a run on a sacrifice fly from Ronnierd Garcia in the fifth, and never looked back. The Spikes scored three more runs in the sixth, two on one passed ball, and two more in seventh.

Robelys Reyes went 3-for-5 from the leadoff spot, Luis Cruz went 2-for-4 with one RBI and Leobaldo Pina and Alex De Leon both doubled.

Trey Nielsen earned the win as he was the first of a trio of Spikes relievers who combined four scoreless innings to finish the game.

June 15 at Williamsport, Loss 8-2

State College went six innings before collecting its first hit Sunday in Williamsport on the way to an 8-2 spanking.

The Crosscutters knocked in two runs off Ian McKinney (L, 0-1) in the fourth, before lighting up Spikes reliever Jeff Barkley for five runs in just 1/3 of an inning, as part of a six-run sixth.

Rowan Wick snapped the Cutters' combined no-hit bid with a single in the seventh and Nick Thompson hit his first professional home run in the ninth, a two-run shot to left field.

June 16 vs. Williamsport, Win 6-3

The Spikes got back on track in their series finale against Williamsport on Monday. Dailyn Martinez (W, 1-0) worked five innings, allowing just two runs, one earned on three hits in his first start of the season.

Despite Martinez's impressive outing, Wick stole the show going 2-for-2 with two solo home runs and two walks. The two home runs gave Wick four dingers in his first four games. It was his second multi-homer game of the season, after he swatted two home runs in the season opener at Williamsport last Friday.

Garcia also hit a home run, while Pina collected a double, and all but one Spikes' starter collected a hit on the night.

June 17 vs. Batavia (MIA), Win 8-0

Wick smashed another home run in a 3-for-4, two RBI effort, while Luis Perdomo (W, 1-0) scattered six hits over six shutout innings to collect his first win on the season. Reyes knocked in a two run single in the eighth and Adam Ehrlich scored twice, contributing to the Spikes 8-0 win.

Perdomo's six shutout innings were followed by three shutout frames from Barkley, Kyle Grana and Nielsen.

June 18 vs. Batavia, Loss 3-7

State College jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on a two-run home run from Jake Stone, his first of the year, but Batavia took a 5-2 lead in the third, thanks to a trio of State College errors, and the Spikes would never recover.

Will Anderson took the loss, allowing seven hits in five innings of work, but just one of his six runs allowed was earned. Anderson forced ground ball after ground ball in the third, but his defense could not make the plays it needed.

The first three batters in the Spikes lineup, Reyes, Danny Diekroeger and Stone each went 2-for-5 on the night.

June 19 vs. Batavia, Loss 8-4 (11)

Entering the ninth inning Thursday, State College and Batavia were locked in a 3-3 tie, before Batavia plated a go-ahead run in the top of the ninth. But three straight one-out singles tied the game back up at four and sent it to extras.

After a scoreless 10th, it all fell apart for State College and reliever Jacob Booden in the 11th. An error, two wild pitches, a walk and a hit batsman handed the game to Batavia. Booden struggled to get the ball down in the zone, something that has been a theme early on for the 6-foot-8 righty.

June 20 at Jamestown (PIT), Win 5-3 (10)

State College and Jamestown traded one-run punches all night Friday, before scoring two in the 10th on an RBI single and a Jammers defensive miscue.

The Spikes' first three runs all came via the long ball, with Diekroeger homering in the first, Wick in the seventh and De Leon in the ninth to send it to extra innings. Daniel Poncedeleon started Friday's game, going two innings, allowing a run on two hits and a walk in his professional debut.

Nielsen and Grana (W, 1-0) combined to allow just two runs over the next seven innings in relief. Nielsen allowed just one hit, a solo home run, in four innings, striking out five and walking one. Grana picked up the win on three innings of work in which he allowed three hits and one unearned run while striking out three.

Jeff Rauh picked up the save, his first of the year, after a perfect 11th inning.

At the Plate

Rowan Wick put on a show in his first full week of games, hitting four home runs. The North Vancouver, BC native is batting .393 with a .500 OBP and slugging 1.071. Wick is currently leading the New York-Penn League in batting average, slugging, OPS, home runs and is tied for the league lead in on base percentage. He is also second in the league in walks (six) and RBI (10).

Robelys Reyes has only played in five of the Spikes eight games so far, but has been a consistent table setter at the top of the lineup. Reyes is hitting .360 and has driven in four runs.

Nick Thompson's .160 batting average isn't anything to write home about, but the 2014 eighth-round pick out of William & Mary has seven RBI through seven games and has come through with big at-bats when needed.

On the Mound

While State College got solid efforts from most of its starters this week, the bullpen has been excellent.

Fernando Baez has appeared in three games and has yet to allow a hit. Through 6 2/3 innings of work, Baez has walked just one batter and struck out five.

Trey Nielsen, a former third baseman at Utah, is coming off Tommy John surgery and has been excellent out of the pen. Nielsen has worked seven innings over three appearances, allowing just two hits and one earned run while striking out 10.

Josh Lucas has also been effective in his three appearances this year. Lucas has worked four innings, allowed just one unearned run, and has struck out six.

Transactions

June 17 outgoing: RHP Steven Farinaro, RHP Dailyn Martinez, LHP Ian McKinney, INF Rafael Medina and INF Chris Rivera transferred to Rookie-level Johnson City.

June 17 incoming: INF Danny Diekroeger, LHP Austin Gomber, RHP Daniel Poncedeleon, OF Chase Raffield and RHP Cody Schumacher signed with Cardinals, assigned to Short-Season Single-A State College.

Injured: OF Brian Vigo Suarez placed on 7-day Disabled List (retroactive to June 14)

On the Horizon

State College will wrap up its two game series at Jamestown (PIT) on Saturday, before heading to Batavia (MIA) for two games. The Spikes then return home for a two-game set against the Jammers on Tuesday and Wednesday, before opening another four game commuter series with Williamsport (PHI).



Follow Robert Davidson on Twitter @robo_tweets.

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