State College Spikes Notebook: 2015 Week 11

The State College Spikes have oscillated between leading the league in the wild card standings and falling behind or tying with West Virginia. After one loss to Mahoning Valley (CLE) and one loss to Batavia (MIA), the Spikes have won the rest of their games by significant margins and are gearing up to face Williamsport – and coming full circle – one last time before the post-season begins.

Saturday, August 29: Auburn Doubledays (3) at State College Spikes (1)
Location: State College – Medlar Field at Lubrano Park: 6:05 p.m. ET. [Game 3]

In their last game of the series against the Auburn Doubledays (WSH), the Spikes (34-32) dropped a 3-1 decision that pushed them into a tie for second place in the New York-Penn League Wild Card standings.

Michael Pritchard aided the Spikes in an early run to tie with Auburn, with a stand-up triple before crossing home plate on a Leobaldo Pina RBI groundout. The game remained tied 1-1 until the ninth when Auburn had a two-run burst to take the lead.

Reliever Luke Harrison took the loss, allowing five hits and recording two strikeouts – the only two of the night – for the Spikes. Starter Josh Wirsu went 6 1/3 innings, allowing one run on six hits, four walks including an intentional free pass and a hit batsman while eliciting three double-plays – matching a Spikes’ season high.

WP: Valerio, Maximo. (1-0) [4.15]
LP: Harrison, Luke. (0-2) [1.23]

Sunday, August 30: DOUBLEHEADER

Mahoning Valley Scrappers (12) versus State College Spikes (5)
Location: Niles, Ohio – Eastwood Field: 3:05 p.m. ET. [Game 1]

In their first game of the doubleheader against Mahoning Valley, the Spikes lost to the Scrappers (CLE) in a 12-5 decision.

Home runs from Casey Grayson and Orlando Olivera kept the Spikes on the board, but a 10-run first proved to be too much for the Spikes to overcome. This was the most a Spikes’ opponent had scored in a single inning in 2015. Grayson’s three RBI – including a two-run homer in the sixth – supplemented Olivera’s homer in the first. Olivera’s fifth homer of the year was a two-run shot over left-center field wall.

Jacob Evans took the loss as he yielded all 10 Scrappers’ runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out one over 2/3 of an inning.

WP: Robinson, Jared. (2-3) [2.93]
LP: Evans, Jacob. (3-3) [3.09]

State College Spikes (4) at Mahoning Valley Scrappers (3)
Location: Niles, Ohio – Eastwood Field: 7:05 p.m. ET. [PPD (6/27) – Game 2]

The Spikes came back from a 12-5 loss to win the second game 4-3 against the Scrappers (CLE). The win put State College (35-33) only one game behind the West Virginia Black Bears (PIT) in the NYPL Wild Card race.

A two-run, bases-loaded single from Michael Pritchard in the seventh – and final – inning erased a one-run deficit. Thomas Spitz got State College the initial lead with a RBI groundout, and then Michael Massi tripled in the fourth to break a 1-1 tie.

Pedro Echemendia earned the win – instead of his 11th save –with just two hits (including an Austin Fisher double in the sixth) over his 1 2/3 innings.

WP: Echemendia, Pedro. (6-1) [2.23]
LP: Marquina, Yoiber. (2-2) [1.23]
SV: None.

Monday, August 31: State College Spikes (3) at Mahoning Valley Scrappers (0)
Location: Niles – Eastwood Field: 7:05 p.m. ET. [Game 3]

Jorge Rodriguez and Steven De La Cruz combined for a six-hit shutout against the Scrappers (CLE) in the third game of the series in Niles, Ohio. The win tied the Spikes with West Virginia (PIT) in second place behind McNamara Division co-leaders Staten Island (NYY) and Hudson Valley (TB). However, the Spikes (36-33) now hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Black Bears and the Renegades.

The Spikes took the lead in the second with runs from Casey Grayson and Orlando Olivera, adding an insurance run in the fifth from Ronnierd Garcia.

Rodriguez earned the win, allowing five hits and two walks over 6 2/3 innings, retiring 10 straight before allowing a base on balls (with two outs) in the seventh and striking out five. De La Cruz earned the save with a one-hit yield and one hit batsman over 2 1/3 innings.

WP: Rodriguez, Jorge. (4-4) [1.36]
LP: Lovegrove, Kieran. (1-7) [3.28]
SV: De La Cruz, Steven. (1)

Tuesday, September 1: State College Spikes (9) at Mahoning Valley Scrappers (2)
Location: Niles, Ohio – Eastwood Field: 7:05 p.m. ET. [Game 4]

The series extended to four games against the Scrappers (CLE) and the Spikes ended it with a 9-2 win as R. J. Dennard slammed two homers and lead the attack against Mahoning Valley. The win tied the Spikes (37-33) in first with West Virginia (PIT) in the NYPL Wild Card race. However, State College holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over West Virginia with six games left in the regular season.

Dennard hit two long balls – both to right field – and became the second Spike to have two homers in one game this season after former Spikes player, Harrison Bader, became the first on June 30 in Staten Island. RBI singles from Craig Aikin and Orlando Olivera – as well as Michael Massi being hit by a pitch in the fourth and walking to first with the bases-loaded – allowed the Spikes to stay ahead and win.

Starter Dailyn Martinez earned the win, yielding two runs – one earned – on seven hits and a walk over six while striking out three. Luke Harrison earned the save after yielding two hits and striking out two over three scoreless.

WP: Martinez, Dailyn. (4-5) [3.33]
LP: Miniard, Micah. (0-1) [7.20]
SV: Harrison, Luke. (2)

Wednesday, September 2: Batavia Muckdogs (8) at State College Spikes (0)
Location: State College – Medlar Field at Lubrano Park: 7:05 p.m. ET. [Game 1]

Though Juan Perez struck out nine batters, the Spikes (37-34) fell to the Batavia Muckdogs (MIA) 8-0. West Virginia moved into the lead of the NYPL Wild Card race.

The Spikes threatened early when they loaded the bases with only one out in the second after a walk to Orlando Olivera and base hits from R. J. Dennard and Ronnierd Garcia. Batavia ended that threat with a double play and then limited State College to four hits.

Perez, over his six innings on the mound, yielding four runs – three earned – on six hits, two walks and a hit batsman.

WP: Holloway, Jordan. (5-6) [2.95]
LP: Perez, Juan. (4-3) [3.50]

Thursday, September 3: State College Spikes (5) versus Batavia Muckdogs (2)
Location: State College – Medlar Field at Lubrano Park: 7:05 p.m. ET. [Game 2]

The Spikes came back from an 8-0 loss on Wednesday night to win the second game of the series against Batavia (MIA) 5-2. State College (38-34) closed the gap between them and West Virginia (PIT) to one game in the NYPL Wild Card race.

Casey Grayson put the Spikes on the board in the third with his RBI groundout, with Michael Massi’s single and Thomas Spitz’s groundout each bringing home a runner in the fourth. Ronnierd Garcia collected three hits for the Spikes, including a two-run single in the fifth and a double while also scoring a run.

Josh Wirsu earned the win – his first with the Spikes – and allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits, a walk and a hit batsman over five innings while striking out three. Pedro Echemendia earned his 11th save for State College, allowing one hit on four outs. Echemendia is now one save shy of the single-season record of 12 set in 2007.

WP: Wirsu, Josh. (1-1) [2.20]
LP: Peters, Dillon. (0-3) [4.83]
SV: Echemendia, Pedro. (11)

Friday, September 4: State College Spikes (7) versus Batavia Muckdogs (2)
Location: State College – Medlar Field at Lubrano Park: 7:05 p.m. ET. [Game 3]

The Spikes (39-34) catapulted themselves to the top of the NYPL Wild Card race with a strong six innings from left-handed pitcher Jacob Evans in their 7-2 win over the Batavia Muckdogs (MIA).

Hits from Jose Godoy, Casey Grayson and R. J. Dennard tallied the score to seven after State College took the lead in the second.

Evans, who had taken the loss on Sunday with a 10-run less-than-one-inning outing against the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (CLE), rebounded to strike out a career-high nine batters for the win over six innings, ending one out shy of the team’s single-game record. The starter allowed two runs on four hits.

WP: Evans, Jacob. (4-3) [3.08]
LP: Bautista, Nestor. (4-3) [3.27]
SV: None.

Who’s Hot

Casey Grayson. In the past 10 games, Grayson collected two home runs – once against the Williamsport Crosscutters (PHI) and the other against the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (CLE) to continue breaking out of his slump. Grayson has also produced three multi-hit games for the Spikes, accumulating seven RBI. His average within these games was .265 with a cumulative season average of .311. Grayson is second on the team in average behind Orlando Olivera. In 34 at-bats in the last 10 games, Grayson has collected six runs on nine hits, two home runs, seven RBI, six walks and eight strikeouts. He is also fourth in the NYPL in batting average.

Orlando Olivera. Olivera has a 10-game average of .333 and a team-best seasonal average of .348. In his past 10 games, Olivera has scored three runs on 10 hits in 30 at-bats, one home run, three RBI, three walks and three strikeouts.

Pedro Echemendia. Though Echemendia is third on the team in lowest ERA at 2.15, in the past 10 games he has an ERA of 0.73. The right-hander has 11 saves over the course of the season, with six in the team’s last 10 games. Echemendia also garnered a win in a game against the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (CLE). The Cuban native has allowed 8 hits with one error, no walks and 10 strikeouts over the past 10 outings over 12 1/3 innings.

Who’s Not

Cole Lankford. The outfielder is just four for his last 32, a .125 average over his last 10 games. That dropped his State College average to .222 in 64 contests.

Jesse Jenner. Since August 22, the seventh-rounder from this June has four hits in 18 at-bats for a .222 average. That lowered the catcher’s Spikes average to .233.

Thomas Spitz. The outfielder has six hits in his last 34 at-bats (.176), though five of them have been in the last three games. Spitz’ batting average for the season is .239.

Transactions

On Monday, August 31, left-handed pitcher David Oca (No. 26) and his teammate, right-handed pitcher Gerwuins Velazco (No. 33), were promoted from Rookie-level GCL Cardinals and have joined the team in State College. Oca has a 7-1 record with an ERA of 1.70 – second best in the GCL with seven starts in 11 appearances – and started the GCL semifinal game on Sunday against the GCL Red Sox. Velazco, who also pitched in Sunday’s GCL semifinal game, has a 2-0 record with an ERA of 2.81 over 18 appearances of relief.

On Wednesday, catcher Chris Chinea was received from Rookie-level Johnson City. The 17-round draft pick from LSU has an average of .313 with six home runs and 27 RBI over 44 games for the JC-Cardinals.

Right-handed pitcher Kevin Alexander was promoted that same day to Single-A Advanced Palm Beach Cardinals. Alexander went 2-1 with an ERA of 3.66, yielding eight hits on 16 runs, eight errors and seven walks while striking out 21.

On Friday, September 4, outfielder Craig Aikin was promoted to Single-A Advanced Palm Beach Cardinals. With 22 runs on 37 hits in 152 at-bats, Aikin has collected 10 RBI, 20 walks and 39 strikeouts.

Injuries

None.

Team Stats

Batting     Pitching  
R 314   R 279
H 628   H 641
HR 18   HR 21
RBI 280   SO 533
SO 471   BB 194
BB 248   ER 236
AVG 0.253   ERA 3.27

New York-Penn League Pinckney Division Standings

1. Williamsport Crosscutters (PHI) [45-28]
2. State College Spikes (STL) [39-34]
3. West Virginia Black Bears (PIT) [39-34]
4. Auburn Doubledays (WSH) [34-37]
5. Mahoning Valley Scrappers (CLE) [31-41]
6. Batavia Muckdogs (MIA) [30-42]

State College and West Virginia have tied at 39-34, .534.

Wild Card Standings

1. State College Spikes (STL) [39-34]
2. West Virginia Black Bears (PIT) [39-34]
3. Aberdeen IronBirds (BAL) [38-35]
4. Hudson Valley Renegades (TB) [38-35]
5. Lowell Spinners (BOS) [36-37]
6. Connecticut Tigers (DET) [34-36]

What is Next

The Spikes will finish their regular season with three games against Williamsport – two of them at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park and the last game (Monday) at Susquehanna Bank Park at Historic Bowman Field. State College’s post-season hopes are hanging in the balance.





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