As New York-Penn League (single-A short season) moves into its second full week, the State College Spikes are looking fairly consistent in their success, having posted a 5-3 record against the Williamsport Crosscutters (Phillies), the Hudson Valley Renegades (Rays), and the Batavia Muckdogs (Marlins).
A recap of last Friday night’s season opener in Williamsport was posted following the conclusion of the game in our Week 1 Notebook.
Saturday, June 18th: Williamsport Crosscutters 3 at State College Spikes 6
With 5,088 fans filling the stands, the State College Spikes topped the Williamsport Crosscutters in the home opener at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park on Saturday.
The ‘Cutters broke out in the top of the third inning, but the Spikes answered back in the bottom half to tie it up 1-1. Williamsport tallied two more in the top of the fifth, but the Spikes kept battling and tied it up again at 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth. A double from Ricardo Bautista on a shallow fly ball to right field started off the inning for the Spikes. RBI singles from Bladimil Franco and Ryan McCarvel followed, in addition to a sacrifice bunt from Jeremy Martinez that moved Franco into scoring position for McCarvel.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Spikes broke the tie thanks to back-to-back walks from McCarvel and Jeremy Martinez, who was pinch-run for by Danny Martin. A sacrifice bunt from Mick Fennell moved both McCarvel and Martin over a base, and Fennell was able to reach safely at first. Two wild pitches during Jose Martinez’s at bat scored both Martin and McCarvel. Martinez then hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field, allowing Fennell to score from third and bring the score to 6-3.
Starter Carson Cross threw 89 pitches-60 for strikes-while posting four strikeouts and one walk, and allowing three runs on seven hits (all earned) in 6 1/3 innings. Dewin Perez was awarded the win after throwing 2 2/3 strong innings with two strikeouts and one walk, allowing only one hit and no runs.
WP: Perez, Dewin (1-0) [0.00]
LP: Ortiz, Geury (1-1) [8.10]
Sunday, June 19th: Hudson Valley Renegades 6 at State College Spikes 7
State College’s opener of a three game series at home against Hudson Valley was a nail biter up until the very end, as the Spikes won it in the bottom of the ninth in walk-off fashion.
The Renegades took the early 2-0 in the first, but the Spikes answered with three runs in the bottom half. Hudson Valley would go on to tally two in the third and two more in the fourth, but its offense would remain quiet for the remainder of the game. State College however scored two in the fourth as well, thanks to a fly ball triple from Chris Rivera that soared deep into center. Vincent Jackson followed, scoring Rivera on a fielding error. A stolen base from Jackson and a line drive single to right from Elier Rodriguez scored another, leaving the Spikes trailing by only one run after four innings.
The Spikes evened up the score in the bottom of the seventh after Danny Martin walked and Josh Swirchak blasted an RBI double to right field. Swirchak had three hits on the day, in addition to Tommy Edman who went 2-for-4. But the game changer came in the bottom of the ninth.
After Anthony Ray reached first safely on a bunt pop up-forceout at second, a single from Danny Martin and walk from Josh Swirchak brought Ray to third. With Tommy Edman at the plate, a pitch was mishandled by catcher Danny De La Calle, allowing Ray to come home on the passed ball and take the walk-off victory.
Steven Farinaro completed seven full innings, yielding nine hits and six runs, and striking out four on 85 pitches. Yeison Medina needed only 28 pitches finish the game, posting one walk and one strikeout.
WP: Medina, Yeison (1-0) [0.00]
LP: Torres, Elias (0-1) [0.00]
Monday, June 20th: Hudson Valley Renegades 5 at State College Spikes 0
In the 5-0 shutout, the Spikes only tallied one hit all night, coming from the bat of Vincent Jackson in the seventh. State College’s only other base runners came from walks drawn by both Jeremy Martinez and Mick Fennell.
Although the Spikes’ offense did not amount to much, the defense kept the game from being a blowout. Several great catches in the outfield from Fennell, Jackson and Bladimil Franco robbed Hudson Valley of extra bases, as well as runs.
Ronnie Williams got the start for State College, striking out four. However, Williams was responsible for all five of Hudson Valley’s runs, allowed eight hits and hit four batsmen. Bob Wheatley and Max Almonte both threw two scoreless innings in their first appearances this season in relief.
WP: Ott, Travis (1-0) [0.00]
LP: Williams, Ronnie (0-1) [9.00]
Tuesday, June 21st: Hudson Valley Renegades 4 at State College Spikes 0
State College was shut out for the second consecutive night at home. Their best threat was in the fifth, thanks to a single up the middle from Chris Rivera and infield singles from Anthony Ray and Danny Martin, but they were stranded. Vincent Jackson added the fourth and final State College hit in the sixth, but that was it.
Starter Bryan Dobzanski went six innings, allowing six hits, two walks and three runs. Dobzanski struck out two in 53 efficient pitches overall before Jordan DeLorenzo came on in relief for one inning, posting one strikeout, one hit and one walk. Gerwuins Velasco pitched the final two innings, allowing four hits and one walk, and their fourth and final run.
WP: Moran, Spencer (1-0) [0.00]
LP: Dobzanski, Bryan (0-1) [4.50]
Wednesday, June 22nd: State College Spikes 11 at Batavia Muckdogs 1
After back-to-back shutouts by Hudson Valley, State College turned on its offense in the series-opening game at Batavia. After breaking a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning with four runs, the Spikes continued to pile on the runs on 17 total hits. Dylan Tice had a four-hit night, while reaching base five times. Tommy Edman also reached base five times, with three hits. Vincent Jackson also posted three hits.
Ryan McCarvel, Anthony Ray, Edman and Tice had two RBI apiece. Bladimil Franco, Danny Hudzina and Josh Swirchak drove in one each.
Paired with the explosive offensive game, Dailyn Martinez had a remarkable night on the mound. Martinez pitched seven innings, striking out six batters and throwing 102 pitches, 64 for strikes. The right hander allowed only one unearned run on a walk and three hits. Brady Bowen added two scoreless innings with striking out two and allowing only one hit.
WP: Martinez, Dailyn (1-1) [1.42]
LP: Hovis, Reilly (0-1) [5.19]
Thursday, June 23rd: State College Spikes 8 at Batavia Muckdogs 4
In game two of the series, the explosive offense from the night before turned into more on an opportunistic offense. Taking advantage of four errors, two wild pitches and a passed ball, State College ran up the score early.
The Spikes took a three run lead in the bottom of the first inning via a double error - a missed catch and a poor throw from Batavia’s catcher with the bases loaded. The scoring continued in the third inning, as the Spikes notched five more. Danny Martin had three hits, including two doubles. Dylan Tice and Bladimil Franco also posted doubles. However, the key were the miscues by the Muckdogs that led to five of the Spikes’ eight runs being unearned.
Carson Cross earned the win after throwing the first 5 1/3 innings. Cross walked one and struck out two, while allowing four runs on eight hits. Dewin Perez followed with three innings, keeping the Muckdogs from scoring thanks to five strikeouts. Greg Tomchick took the mound for the final two outs, striking out one, to earn the save.
WP: Cross, Carson (1-0) [5.40]
LP: McKay, Ryan (0-2) [5.68]
Friday, June 24th: State College Spikes 10 at Batavia Muckdogs 3
Game three of the Batavia series marked another double digit run total from the Spikes offense, enabling the road sweep. The Muckdogs again hurt themselves in the field, with four errors for the second straight night. The Spikes also committed two errors but generated enough offense to recover.
All three of State College’s starting outfielders stood out on offense. Right fielder Ricardo Bautista led the Spikes with three hits including two doubles, three RBI and two runs scored. Centerfielder Anthony Ray also had a pair of hits and two RBI. Left fielder Vincent Jackson also notched two hits, one RBI and two runs scored. In total, the Spikes tallied 10 runs on 11 hits. Six of the 10 total runs came in an electric third inning.
Steven Farinaro pitched six innings, allowing five hits and three runs - only one earned. Farinaro walked two and struck out one, but threw three wild pitches. Bob Wheatley struck out two and walked one, allowing just two hits in three scoreless innings for the save.
WP: Farinaro, Steven (1-0) [4.15]
LP: Holloway, Jordan (0-1) [19.29]
Tommy Edman. Edman’s recent presence at the plate has been the definition of having a “hot bat.” The sixth round draft pick made his professional debut in Williamsport, with four hits in five at bats, including two singles and two doubles. Edman currently leads the Spikes with a .417 average, while ranking third in the New York-Penn League.
In the Spikes 11-1 victory over Batavia, Edman went 3 for 4 with a double, two walks and two RBI, with three runs scored. His performance at the plate highlights his versatility and power even when he is not on the field, as most of his starts for State College so far have been as a designated hitter.
A .533 on-base percentage and .625 slugging percentage proves Edman can hit the cover off the ball with several extra-base hits, but also move his teammates around the bases with key singles and patient at-bats. Edman’s electricity at the plate will undoubtedly start to turn some heads, if he hasn’t done so already. If Edman keeps his hot streak going, the Spikes would be mistaken to leave him out of the lineup.
Vincent Jackson. Jackson’s speed on the basepaths has not gone unnoticed. The outfielder leads the Spikes with four stolen bases in six attempts. Additionally, Jackson had a good week at the plate. In 28 at-bats, Jackson notched eight hits (.286) and scored five runs.
The outfielder collected a hit in both of the Spikes’ shutout losses to Hudson Valley. In the 5-0 game, Jackson’s single up the middle in the seventh was the only hit and ended the no-hitter for the Renegades. In Tuesday’s 4-0 defeat, Jackson singled, one of only four hits by the Spikes. Jackson went on to steal second but was left stranded. The outfielder also notched his first RBI in his professional career against Batavia Friday night. His ability to spark the Spikes’ offense, even in their toughest games so far, makes Jackson a key element in the lineup.
Jose Martinez. While the Spikes have been consistently starting Martinez at shortstop, he has been doing very little offensively. In 19 at-bats, Martinez has only posted one hit and one run. He does have two RBI and two walks, but his five strikeouts are tied for second highest among Spikes. A .053 batting average and .136 on-base percentage depict a very slow start at the dish. This undoubtedly harmed the Spikes this week, especially coming from one of their seemingly most prominent defensive players.
Ronnie Williams. The right handed pitcher made his first start as a Spike, against Hudson Valley on Monday, seeing five innings on the rubber. Williams was responsible for all five Renegades’ runs, including eight hits and hitting four batters. The 20-year-old did post four strikeouts against a powerful Hudson Valley offense. Williams ERA now sits at 9.00, the highest on the staff so far in 2016.
Something to forget
Hudson Valley pitching shut out State College 5-0 in game two and 4-0 in game three. Although being shut out is never ideal, the losses look slightly even more embarrassing in front of two home crowds at Medlar Field. The lack of offense, of course, could be attributed to stellar performances from the Renegades’ pitching staff, but seven combined strikeouts over two days from four pitchers is not really that threatening. Hudson Valley’s defense was also effective, but the lack of hits ultimately comes back to the Spikes’ offensive inconsistencies.
Something to remember
The Spikes’ offense bounced back from back-to-back shutouts by Hudson Valley. In Game 1 against Batavia, the Spikes notched 17 hits to beat the Muckdogs 11-1. All but four of the 13 total that stepped in the box for State College (pinch hitters included) had at least one hit. Coming off two games with a combined total of only five hits, the 17 hit attack shows the Spikes’ ability to move on and leave previous series results in the past where they belong, a promising sign for the rest of the 2016 season. Hopefully, the offense will work harder to find a balance between the hot and cold fluctuation.
The Spikes are ranked seventh in the NYPL overall in team batting average and 10th in team ERA. Oddly, neither they nor their opponents have yet to go deep this season.
New York-Penn League Pinckney Division Standings
1. West Virginia Black Bears (PIT) [6-2]
2. State College Spikes (STL) [5-3]
2. Auburn Doubledays (WSH) [5-3]
4. Williamsport Crosscutters (PHI) [4-4]
5. Mahoning Valley Scrappers (CLE) [1-7]
6. Batavia Muckdogs (MIA) [0-8]
The Spikes shifted multiple pitchers around this week, gaining two from draft choices straight out of collegiate baseball. They also said farewell to two, sending one down to Johnson City and one up to Peoria.
6/18 LHP John Kilichowski. 11th round draft pick for the Cardinals has joined the State College roster. Kilichowski pitched for Vanderbilt University.
6/18 RHP Eric Carter has been assigned to the Spikes. The 26th round draft choice hails from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.
6/22 RHP Yeison Medina was transferred down to Johnson City (Rookie Level). Medina leaves the Spikes after coming on in relief on Sunday to take the 7-6 walk off victory over the Renegades. Medina threw two innings for State College, allowing one walk and one hit, and recording one strikeout.
6/22 RHP Gerwuins Velazco was promoted to the Peoria Chiefs (Low-A Level). The catcher-turned-pitcher returns to Peoria for the first time since 2014, however now on the mound instead of behind the plate. While in State College, Velazco threw a total of 3 1/3 innings in two appearances, with two strikeouts, one walk and five hits, but no runs.
The Spikes are riding a three game winning streak heading to West Virginia (PIT) for a three game series against the Black Bears that opens on Saturday evening. Following the road trip, State College will return to Medlar Field at Lubrano Park for a six game homestand, playing three against the Brooklyn Cyclones (NYM), followed by three versus the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (CLE).
Follow Kara Duriez on Twitter @KaraDuriez.
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