Carson Cross (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

In-depth weekly news from the St. Louis Cardinals’ short-season Class-A affiliate in the New York-Penn League for the period of July 23-29.

State College still leads the New York-Penn League with a 27-13 record, a mark that keeps the Spikes three games above Williamsport in the Pinckney Division. Carson Cross and Steven Farinaro both threw six strong innings against the Crosscutters. Danny Hudzina and Tommy Edman are key elements to the offense.

Finishing a 4-2 week, State College is riding a three-game winning streak. The Spikes ended their home series against Auburn with a loss before traveling to Batavia, where they went 2-1 before their day off Wednesday. A quick trip to Williamsport ended in a decision in favor of the Spikes, who then closed out the week at home against the Crosscutters with a 9-2 victory.


Game Summaries

Saturday, July 23rd: Auburn Doubledays 8 vs. State College Spikes 4

Despite a three run ninth inning comeback, the Spikes fell to the Doubledays 8-4 after trailing most of the game by seven runs.

The Spikes were the first to score, when Andy Young (3-for-4) hit a line drive single to left field. Danny Hudzina’s (3-for-4) ground rule double to center brought Young to third, and Anthony Ray’s (2-for-4) line drive single to center scored him easily.

Although State College outhit Auburn 13 to 10, the Doubledays made the most of theirs and scored eight over the fifth through eighth innings. The ninth inning rally by the Spikes was driven completely by singles. Young, Hudzina, Ray and Tommy Edman all notched singles to the outfield. Matt Davis and Jeremy Martinez had the final two singles before the Doubledays could stop the scoring at three.

Ronnie Williams started, but took the loss after yielding five runs, three earned, on just six hits over six innings. The right-hander struck out three and walked one, and was replaced by Max Almonte. Almonte struggled early, yielding three runs, two earned, on four hits and a walk over just two innings, while striking out one. Greg Tomchick pitched one inning, allowing no hits and no runs, letting his defense do the work behind him.

WP: Ramirez, Yonathan (3-1, 5.04)

LP: Williams, Ronnie (4-2, 2.72)


Sunday, July 24th: State College Spikes 8 at Batavia Muckdogs 6

State College out-hit Batavia 13 to 8 to take the 8-6 decision, despite making errors on an interference call and a poor throw.

Danny Hudzina (4-for-5) led the way with three RBI, including a solo home run to left center in the fourth, his second of the season. Tommy Edman (1-for-4) scored the first run in the first, after being hit by a pitch, stealing second, and taking two more bases after consecutive wild pitches. Matt Davis (2-for-4) brought in another run in the second with a ground ball single to left field. Ryan McCarvel and Jeremy Martinez also both went 2-for-5, posting one RBI apiece. Every Spikes batter but two recorded at least one hit.

Bryan Dobzanski threw five excellent innings, allowing just one run on two hits. Dobzanski did walk three, but redeemed himself by also striking out three. Gerwuins Velazco went 2 1/3 innings but yielded three runs on four hits and two walks. Eric Carter pitched 1 2/3 innings, but gave up two runs, one earned, on two hits as the two nearly let Batavia come back by scoring five in the eighth.

WP: Dobzanski, Bryan (3-3, 3.35)

LP: McKay, Ryan (1-3, 4.03)


Monday, July 25th: No Game. Game two against the Muckdogs was postponed due to inclement weather and was moved to Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 26th: Doubleheader in Batavia (due to previous night’s postponement)

Game 1: State College Spikes 1 at Batavia Muckdogs 4 (7 innings)

State College’s offense was uncharacteristically quiet for six straight innings as the Muckdogs scored two in the first and two more in the second.

The Spikes couldn’t get the scoring going fast enough in the seven inning game, notching their only run in the final at-bat. A line drive double from Elier Rodriguez (1-for-2) and a fly ball single from Danny Hudzina (1-for-3), both to right field, put two baserunners on. Ricardo Bautista’s (2-for-3) line drive RBI single to left brought in Mick Fennell (PR for Rodriguez).

Dewin Perez yielded all four of the Muckdogs’ runs on five hits and three walks over five innings, taking the loss. Spencer Trayner pitched one perfect inning in relief.

WP: Sawczak, Shane (1-0, 1.02)

LP: Perez, Dewin (2-2, 2.81)

Game 2: State College Spikes 8 at Batavia Muckdogs 2 (7 innings)

The Spikes bounced back from the Game 1 loss to defeat the Muckdogs 8-2 in the shortened seven inning second contest. Batavia’s five hits was no match for State College’s 12, and the Spikes also took advantage of two errors.

Mick Fennell (3-for-4) lead the offense with three hits, including an RBI double in the fourth. Fennell’s double was a part of the Spikes’ five run fourth inning that gave the team a 7-0 lead. Ryan McCarvel and Riley Drongesen (both 2-for-4) each posted two RBI. Tommy Edman (1-for-5) added two more RBI with his single in the electric fourth inning. Ricardo Bautista (1-for-3) added an RBI with a ground out that scored Matt Davis in the second.

John Kilichowski started and threw 4 2/4 solid innings, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out six. The left-hander did however yield Batavia’s two runs, one earned, before Harley Holt took over in the fifth. Holt went on to take the win after throwing the final 2 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out one.

WP: Holt, Harley (1-0, 7.36)
LP: Neubeck, Travis (1-3, 4.15)

Wednesday, July 27th: No Game. State College had its third off day of the season.


Thursday, July 28th: State College Spikes 2 at Williamsport Crosscutters 1

Thursday night’s matchup between the first and second place teams in the NYPL Pinckney Division proved to be a pitching duel, with the Spikes taking the close 2-1 decision.

State College tied it up 1-1 in the fourth after Vincent Jackson reached first safely on an error and stole second. Jackson then scored on Jeremy Martinez’s (2-for-3) ground rule double on a line drive down the right field line. Tommy Edman (1-for-5) then hit a solo shot over the left field fence in the fifth, which would be the difference in the 2-1 final score.

Carson Cross started, throwing six spectacular innings, allowing just two hits and one earned run, while striking out five to earn the win. Bob Wheatley added two scoreless innings, yielding one hit and striking out two. Brady Bowen earned the save after throwing the final inning, giving up a triple but striking out one and forcing a ground out to end the game.

WP: Cross, Carson (3-3, 3.47)
LP: Falter, Bailey (1-4, 3.00)

SV: Bowen, Brady (4)


Friday, July 29th: Williamsport Crosscutters 2 vs. State College Spikes 9

Four Crosscutters’ errors helped the Spikes take advantage, piling on early en route to a 9-2 victory. State College spread out the scoring over all eight spots in the lineup, doing most of its damage in the first four innings and taking a 7-2 lead. 

Elier Rodriguez (2-for-4) was a major contributor with his three run home run that was blasted into the right field stands in the third. But the victory was a major team effort, with Tommy Edman (2-for-4), Mick Fennell, Vince Jackson, Ryan McCarvel, and Yariel Gonzalez all knocking in a run apiece. Both State College and Williamsport notched seven hits, but a strong defense and pitching effort from the bullpen kept the ‘Cutters’ from gaining any significant momentum.

Steven Farinaro started, going six solid innings, giving up one walk and striking out three in 81 pitches, 54 for strikes. Although the right-hander did not start off extremely strong, yielding the ‘Cutters’ only two runs (one earned) in the third, he picked up his confidence and managed to get out of several tough situations to earn the win, his fifth this season. Max Almonte threw two innings in relief of Farinaro, giving up just one hit and one walk in 33 pitches, 19 for strikes. Jonathan Escudero worked the final inning, producing a fly out, strikeout, and ground out to end the game.

WP: Farinaro, Steven (5-0, 4.80)

LP: Medina, Adonis (4-1, 1.66)


Who’s Hot

Carson Cross. Last week Cross gave up eight hits, three earned runs and two walks in five innings against Auburn, a less than impressive performance. But this week, the right-hander made a turn around with a six stellar innings against Williamsport, allowing just two hits, two walks and no earned runs. The 24-year-old struck out five Crosscutters to help bring his ERA down from 3.98 to 3.47. Cross ranks second in the league in innings pitched (46 2/3).

Steven Farinaro. Farinaro threw six innings on Friday night, yielding two runs early (one earned) in the third inning. Despite the minor setback, Farinaro kept the damage low after that to keep the competitive Crosscutters at bay for three scoreless innings. Battling in what was arguably one of his best performances this season, the right-hander notched three strikeouts and one walk over 81 pitches, 54 for strikes, to earn his fifth win this season. His 5-0 record is the best of any Spikes’ pitcher, despite giving up a league leading 59 hits.

Danny Hudzina. Hudzina hit his second home run of the season on Sunday night, while going 4-for-5 with three RBI. Looking at this week’s games as a whole, the third baseman went 10-for-20 with at least one hit in each of his starts. In his last 10 games, Hudzina has hit for a .436 average with his overall average up to .270. The 22-year-old has found a way to majorly contribute to the offense.

Tommy Edman. Edman’s solo shot on Thursday night was the difference between a Spikes loss and win, as the shortstop’s second home run of the season sealed the 2-1 victory. For the week, the San Diego, California native went 8-for-27 with seven runs scored and five runs batted in. Edman went 2-for-4 on Friday night, including a leadoff triple and RBI single. The Stanford product now leads the league in runs scored (33) and walks (26), while ranking third in on-base percentage (.422).


Who’s Not

Vincent Jackson. Although Jackson is typically a force to be reckoned with on offense, his bat has been relatively quiet this week. The outfielder made an effort to produce more later on in the week, but only tallied three hits in 16 at-bats and two RBI. Jackson does lead the team in stolen bases (10) but did not get on base much. In Friday’s home game against Williamsport, Jackson struck out looking and was hit by a pitch but picked off at first base after taking too big of a lead.

Dewin Perez. Perez was held responsible for all four of the Muckdogs’ runs on Tuesday’s Game 1. The right-hander gave up five hits and three walks over five innings, taking the loss in a sub-par performance. Although his ERA is admirable (2.81), he has given up the most walks of any Spikes starter (20).

Anthony Ray. Ray, who was the regular starter in center, has been seeing less and less time in the field lately. Although the Chicago, Illinois native went 2-for-4 on Saturday with two RBI, his batting presence decreased as the week went on. A 1-for-3 day in Batavia on Tuesday and even worse 0-for-4 night in Williamsport on Thursday led to Ray not starting on Friday. His batting average rose to .213 but has since dropped back down to .207, lowest among active Spikes.





Something to forget

The Spikes tallied three catchers’ interference calls this week, two on Jeremy Martinez and one on Riley Drongesen. Although interference calls are ruled by each umpire's discretion, both Martinez and Drongesen need to start playing a little smarter when positioning themselves for throws home. Not only are the errors avoidable, but they may be scoring unearned runs that would have been outs otherwise. Obviously errors will happen, but three of the same problem in one week’s time is getting out of hand.


Something to remember

Yariel Gonzalez made two impressive catches at third base in his first game with the Spikes. Both foul balls were hit high into the sky and nearly went into the opposing team’s dugout, but Gonzalez handled them with ease. The plays may have looked easy, but Gonzalez’s ability to track the high pops quickly and without hesitation suggests that he can handle regular duties at the hot corner.


Team Stats

Batting     Pitching  
R 213   R 159
H 359   ER 125
HR 19   HR 8
RBI 184   SO 256
SO 256   BB 120
BB 157   H 346
AVG 0.261   ERA 3.15

State College remains in second in most hitting columns behind Tri-City, including hits (359), runs batted in (184), runs scored (213), and on-base percentage (.347), among others. A .261 team batting average sits at third behind Tri-City and Lowell. The Spikes strikeout total (256) is the second lowest, just three above Auburn.

Ironically, State College’s pitching staff has struck out the same amount of batters (256) as Spikes’ batters have struck out. But this number of strikeouts (pitching) ranks as the third lowest in the league.

The bullpen has been keeping its walks down, ranked fourth lowest with just 120 compared to Batavia’s league-leading 163. The Spikes are the only staff in the NYPL to give up less than 10 long balls this season (8).


New York-Penn League Pinckney Standings

1. State College Spikes (STL) [27-13]

2. Williamsport Crosscutters (PHI) [24-16]

3. West Virginia Black Bears (PIT) [20-20]

4. Mahoning Valley Scrappers (CLE) [18-22]

5. Auburn Doubledays (WSH) [17-23]

6. Batavia Muckdogs (MIA) [9-31]

The Spikes now have a three game lead over Williamsport, leading the Pinckney Division for the fifth consecutive week. State College also remains on top of the entire NYPL with a 27-13 overall record.



7/23 - INF Josh Swirchak promoted to Peoria. Swirchak spent most of his time at second and third base before his promotion to the Chiefs. The 23-year-old went 11-for-59 (.186) in 16 games, posting five RBI and five walks. As his promotion occurred nearly a week ago, Swirchak has already played three games for the Chiefs, but remains hitless with three strikeouts in only three at-bats.

7/28 RHP Greg Tomchick transferred down to Johnson City. In nine appearances as a relief pitcher, Tomchick kept a 0-0 record, but struggled to keep opposing lineups from scoring runs (8.44 ERA). The 23-year-old gave up 10 runs on nine hits over 10 2/3 total innings, including one home run. The 27th round draft pick from 2015 struck out six but walked five. Tomchick got his first and only save of the season on June 23rd while in Batavia after getting the final two outs.

7/29 INF Matt Davis promoted to Peoria. Davis played just nine games with the Spikes before his promotion. The 21-year-old went 8-for-38 (.211) with four runs, three RBI and one walk. Before being assigned to the Spikes, the Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania native was a free agent picked up by the Cardinals on July 14th.

7/29 INF Yariel Gonzalez received from Johnson City. The Mayaguez, Puerto Rico native was signed as a non-drafted free agent this June out of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. Gonzalez hit .308 in 19 games in Johnson City before his promotion, tallying nine doubles, 11 RBI and one home run. Gonzalez made his first appearance Friday night against Williamsport at third base, going 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly that plated a run.



After over a month of recovery from a torn right hamstring, Danny Martin returned to the starting lineup for the first time on Friday night. Martin went 0-for-2, but walked twice and scored a run.

Manager Johnny Rodriguez described Martin as an “energizer” and said that having him back will benefit the entire team. “I needed him to rest, but now he’s ready to play again,” Rodriguez said. “He’s a Bugs-Bunny type player, always bringing the energy and that’s what this team thrives on.”

The second baseman’s absence was surely felt by his teammates and coaches, but no one understood the pains of being injured quite like Martin did himself.

“I’m the only one who knows my body. So you want to think you’re OK, but it was always frustrating. There were plenty of times where I wanted to push it and come back,” Martin said. “But I’m glad I waited the time that I did because I’m feeling great now. I was close to coming back a couple of times but I had to make sure I was really ready. So it’s great to feel the adrenaline of finally playing again. It’s really a fantastic feeling.”

Although there was no specific injury, John Kilichowski did not start last week in his normal spot in the rotation due to general muscle fatigue. This year’s 11th round draft pick is reportedly not used to pitching a heavy amount of innings and not starting him was a choice made only to give him a slight break to prevent any possible extra fatigue. Kilichowski did however start in Game 2 of the doubleheader in Batavia and threw 4 2/3 innings without any complications.


Up Next

State College is set to finish its series at home against the Williamsport Crosscutters on Saturday and then host the West Virginia Black Bears for another three game series. Following the five game home stand, the Spikes round out the week by traveling to Auburn for three against the Doubledays.

Follow Kara Duriez on Twitter @KaraDuriez.

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