State College Spikes Notebook: 2014 Week 4

The State College Spikes had an up and down week, but closed it out with three straight wins to move to 14-7 on the season, and take sole possession of first place in the New York-Penn League's Pinckney Division.

June 28 at Williamsport (PHI), Loss 8-4

A second-inning error cost the Spikes four runs. Matt Shortall led off with a solo home run, but Robelys Reyes booted what should have been an inning-ending ground ball at second to load the bases with two outs. The next batter, Rhys Hoskins, took advantage of the mistake and hit a grand slam to give the Crosscutters a five-run lead.

The Spikes scored four runs on six hits, as Rowan Wick went 2-for-4 with a home run (10), two RBI and two runs scored. Ronnierd Garcia and Nick Thompson each drove in a run as well.

Austin Gomber (0-1) started and took the loss for State College, giving up five runs, but just one earned, in his pair of innings.

June 29 vs. Williamsport, Win 5-0

State College spotted its starter, Will Anderson, a three-run lead with a trio of runs in the home half of the first inning Sunday. But that was two more runs than the Spikes would need as Anderson, Jacob Booden and Josh Lucas combined for a three-hit shutout of the Crosscutters.

Anderson scattered the three Cutters' hits over seven innings in his best outing of the season. The soft-tossing righty used his off-speed early and often on his way to striking out 10 Williamsport batters, a franchise record.

The top two-thirds of the Spikes order did all the damage as the first six State College batters were responsible for each hit, run and RBI.

Darren Seferina went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored, Wick went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI and Danny Diekroeger went 3-for-4 with a run scored and one RBI.

Booden and Lucas each worked a perfect frame in relief to close out the Spikes' shutout.

July 1 at Batavia (MIA), Loss 6-4

Dewin Perez has struggled mightily since his first outing of the NYPL season and Monday's outing was no different as the lefty surrendered five runs, four earned, in five innings. Perez gave up three runs in the second and a pair in the fifth, while allowing seven hits on the night. The lone bright spot for Perez on Monday was his command. The Columbian southpaw has struggled with it of late, averaging 5.7 BB/9 through his first three starts in 2014, but walked just one batter while striking out four on Monday.

State College tried to climb back into the game, and came within a run of the Muckdogs after a three-run sixth, but Batavia added an insurance run in the eighth for a 6-4 win.

July 2 at Batavia, Win 9-3

Wick was the story once again for State College on Wednesday night. Although the Spikes scored nine runs in the game, Wednesday was Wick's night as his three-run blast in the eighth inning, his 11th home run of the year, broke the State College Spikes' single-season record for home runs, previously set by David Washington, who hit 10 last year.

Wick went 2-for-5 with four RBI, and was one of three Spikes batters with multi-hit games. Nick Thompson went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and one driven in and Collin Radack was 2-for-5 with one RBI.

Fernando Baez started his second game of the season and allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits in 4 1/3 innings. The Dominican righty also struck out five, walked three, and earned a no decision.

July 3 at Batavia, Win 7-1

A steady offensive attack and trio of solid pitching performances keyed the Spikes' second straight win over the Muckdogs. Every State College starter recorded a hit, and four Spikes had multi-hit games. Alex De Leon, Diekroeger and Wick each recorded two hits, Andrew Sohn had his first professional three-hit game and Jake Stone hit his second home run of the year.

On the mound, Daniel Poncedeleon, Trey Nielsen and Jeff Barkley each worked three innings. Poncedeleon allowed one hit and one earned run in his three innings while striking out three. Nielsen followed, allowing two hits and striking out one three innings of work. Barkley surrendered two walks and one hit over the final three stanzas.

July 4 vs. Jamestown, Win 11-9

A grand slam from Stone, his second home run in as many days, spurred a come-from-behind win over the Jammers yesterday.

Trailing 5-1 heading into the home half of the sixth, State College plated three runs on four singles, to make it a one-run ballgame. Then, in the seventh, Stone sent a ball over the fence in right-center field to clear the bases, giving the Spikes a 10-5 lead.

The Jammers responded with a four-run top of the eighth, but it was too little too late as the Spikes added an insurance run in the home half of the eighth and Josh Lucas worked a 1-2-3 ninth.

Six Spikes had multi-hit games Friday. Seferina, Diekroeger, Stone and Sohn each had a pair of hits, Thompson had three and De Leon had four. Sohn went 2-for-3 with two RBI, Thompson went 3-for-5 with three driven in and Stone went 2-for-4 with five RBI.

Of the five Spikes hurlers that appeared, Lucas, who earned his fourth save, was the only one to not allow a run.

At the Plate

Rowan Wick's accomplishment is even more impressive when you consider the fact that he broke the single-season record in just 19 games. The North Vancouver, B.C. native is impressing in all facets of his game this year. His strikeouts are down, his walks are up, and he has carried a .391 average through the first four weeks of the season. Wick has also made some impressive plays in the field, showing off a strong throwing arm, with three outfield assists.

Jake Stone appeared in just three games this week, but went 3-for-11 with two home runs and seven RBI. The first baseman has appeared in just ten of the Spikes 21 games, but may be seeing more playing time after his solid week.

Andrew Sohn has appeared in every game since Robelys Reyes' promotion on July 1, and went 6-for-13 in the four games with three RBI and just one strikeout. Sohn has a .324/.395/.500 slash line through ten games and has made just one error in 42 chances in the field.

On the Mound

Will Anderson set a Spikes record for strikeouts in a game with ten in his start against Williamsport on June 29. Anderson saw a big fluctuation in velocity in his last start before this week (his fastball slipped from 91-92 to 88-89 for two innings before jumping back up), but his fastball consistently sat in the low 90s throughout his seven shutout innings Sunday.

After starting the season in the bullpen, Fernando Baez has been moved to the starting rotation and is working through some growing pains, but adjusting well. On Wednesday, in his second start of the season, Baez worked 4 1/3 innings and allowed two runs and three walks, but allowed just two hits and struck out five. The biggest issue for Baez is building back his stamina, but the 6-foot-1 righty has been able to keep his fastball in the mid 90s into the third and fourth innings of his appearances, which bodes well for his potential as a starter.


July 1 – INF Robelys Reyes was promoted to Peoria

On the Horizon

State College will close out its weekend series at home against Jamestown before heading to Auburn (WAS) for two games. The Spikes will return home to wrap up the week with a six-game home stand against Brooklyn (NYM) and Staten Island (NYY).

Follow Robert Davidson on Twitter @robo_tweets.

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