The State College Spikes had a rough start to the week, dropping the final two games of its series with Staten Island to go 1-2 in the series. The Spikes had two days off for the NYPL All-Star Game, as five players represented State College on the South squad. The first place team rounded out the week going 2-1 against Williamsport, for an overall 3-2 record during the shortened week.
Saturday, August 13th: State College Spikes 3, Staten Island Yankees 5
State College may have scored first, but Staten Island kept them quiet from there until the ninth. Despite a comeback attempt in the last at bats of the game, the Spikes lost the 5-3 decision to the Yankees.
Riley Drongesen plated the Spikes’ first run with his sacrifice fly in the second, bringing home Jeremy Martinez. The comeback try started with back-to-back walks by Drongesen and Bladimil Franco (2-for-3). A groundout from Tommy Edman (1-for-5) and sacrifice fly from Andy Young (1-for-4) knocked in both runners, but the rally ended there.
Jordan Hicks started, tossing 4 1/3 innings and striking out six. Hicks took the loss after yielding four runs on seven hits and three walks. Bryan Dobzanski threw 4 2/3 innings after Hicks, giving up one run on six hits and a walk, while striking out four.
WP: Martin, Chad (2-0, 0.50)
LP: Hicks, Jordan (2-1, 2.87)
Sunday, August 14th: State College Spikes 3, Staten Island Yankees 11
The Spikes were overwhelmed early by the Yankees’ offense, which totaled 11 hits. State College could not answer with more than eight hits against a strong pitching performance from Staten Island, leading to a brutal 11-3 defeat to close the 1-2 series.
Two errors by Staten Island plated two of State College’s runs in the sixth. The third and only other run came from Elier Rodriguez’s (2-for-4) RBI single in the ninth. Rodriguez was the only Spike to tally multiple hits in the loss.
Carson Cross had trouble keeping Staten Island quiet, giving up six runs, three earned, on seven hits, including a home run, and two walks over five innings of work. Gerwuins Velazco followed with three strikeouts in 1 2/3, but also struggled and yielded four runs, all unearned, on four hits and a walk. Brady Bowen pitched 1 1/3, giving up one hit and one walk, but no runs, while striking out one. Greg Tomchick tossed the final inning, yielding one earned run on two hits, while striking out one.
WP: Padilla, Jonathan (2-1, 2.34)
LP: Cross, Carson (4-4, 3.25)
Monday, August 15th: No game. The Spikes had an off day for the NYPL All-Star break.
Tuesday, August 16th: NYPL All-Star Game - South 9, North 4
Five Spikes players helped their South All-Stars defeated the North All-Stars 9-4 at the 2016 New York-Penn League All-Star Game on Tuesday night at Dutchess Stadium.
Danny Hudzina pinch-hit in the fifth before remaining at third for the rest of the game. The Western Kentucky product went 1-for-2 with an RBI single in seventh. Tommy Edman started at shortstop and played the first five innings, but the Stanford product went 0-for-2 at the plate. Elier Rodriguez played first for all nine innings, posting a walk and a single (1-for-2), scoring both times he reached base. Jeremy Martinez started behind the plate, catching the first five. Martinez singled in the fourth (1-for-2) and scored a run. Eric Carter tossed the final inning for the South squad, yielding two hits and no runs while striking out one.
Wednesday, August 17th: State College Spikes 5, Williamsport Crosscutters 3
After the two-day NYPL All-Star break, the Spikes rejuvenated their offense to take a 5-3 decision from the Crosscutters.
The Spikes jumped ahead early, scoring three runs in the fifth and two more in the seventh, with help from Mick Fennell’s triple. Tommy Edman (2-for-4, 2 RBI) doubled and Andy Young (2-for-4, 1 RBI) tripled to lead the offense, both scoring a run. Williamsport outhit State College nine to eight, but the Spikes took advantage of two ‘Cutters’ errors and made timely hits.
Farinaro was a key element to the win, tossing seven shutout innings while setting a new personal career high with eight strikeouts. The right-hander yielded four hits and no runs in a spectacular performance. Connor Jones came on in relief and nearly gave up the lead, pitching just 2/3 of the eighth inning, yielding three runs, all earned, on four hits, a walk and one strike out. Jones was replaced by Spencer Trayner, who earned the save after throwing the final 1 1/3 innings, allowing just one hit.
WP: Farinaro, Steven (7-1, 4.41)
LP: Falter, Bailey (1-6, 3.28)
SV: Trayner, Spencer (3)
Thursday, August 18th: State College Spikes 5 at Williamsport Crosscutters 4
State College’s combined 13 hits were just enough to edge out the ‘Cutters 5-4, as the defense held on to resist a seventh inning comeback attempt.
Bladimil Franco (3-for-4) and Jeremy Martinez (3-for-5) led the offense. Andy Young, Vince Jackson and Ricardo Bautista notched two hits each. The Spikes scored one in the third and one in the fourth to tie it up at 2-2. A three run seventh inning gave the Spikes a lead they would not relinquish, despite the Cutters’ adding two more in the bottom of the inning.
State College received a strong six inning start from Dewin Perez, who gave up just two earned runs on five hits and two walks. Perez struck out six. Jonathan Escudero tossed 2/3 innings in relief, giving up two runs, one earned, on two hits and a walk. Brady Bowen earned the save after allowing just one hit and striking out four over the final 2 1/3 innings.
WP: Perez, Dewin (3-3, 4.00)
LP: Kelzer, Jake (1-1, 5.28)
SV: Bowen, Brady (8)
Friday, August 19th: State College Spikes 2 at Williamsport Crosscutters 3
Although the Spikes were looking to sweep the Crosscutters’ and take an even bigger lead over the Pinckney Division, two errors and just four hits lead to a 3-2 Spikes loss that took away that possibility.
State College’s only two runs came in the fourth when Jeremy Martinez (1-for-3) hit a deep fly ball double to right center field that scored Ricardo Bautista and Andy Young. Bautista, Young and Danny Hudzina had the only other three hits for the Spikes.
In his first start in over a year, Greg Tomchick threw 4 1/3 innings, yielding two earned runs on four hits and two walks. Tomchick struck out three before Jordan DeLorenzo came on in relief for 3 2/3 innings. The West Florida product only gave up one unearned run on four hits, but that was enough for him to take the loss, despite striking out seven.
WP: Irvin, Cole (4-1, 2.08)
LP: DeLorenzo, Jordan (1-1, 2.49)
Steven Farinaro. Farinaro now leads the Spikes with seven wins and with 65 1/3 innings pitched. The right-hander reached a career high of eight strikeouts in a single game in his win on Wednesday, in addition to pitching seven scoreless innings and allowing just four hits. His stellar performance makes him the Spikes hottest pitcher this week and demonstrates how big his role may be as the season gets closer and closer to the postseason.
Bladimil Franco. Franco came up big this week, going 5-for-7 (.714) despite only making two starts. The Dominican Republic native had two RBI, two walks and one run scored. Although the Spikes have plenty of outfielders, Franco’s presence at the plate will ultimately earn him more starting time if he continues to stay hot.
Jeremy Martinez. Despite facing issues with his wrist after being hit with a pitch while catching, Martinez managed to find a way to stay in the offense as a DH. Although he has not been starting behind the plate quite as much as normal, Martinez went 7-for-19 this week (.368) with two walks, two runs scored and three RBI. However as the week has gone on, Martinez’ condition has improved and so have his batting numbers. Martinez currently ranks fifth in the league in batting average (.319).
Carson Cross. Cross played a big part in State College’s 11-3 loss to Staten Island on Sunday, responsible for six runs, though only three were earned. The New Hampshire native gave up seven hits, including a home run, and walked two, making it easy for the Yankees to gain plenty of baserunners. His pitches became far too easy for Staten Island hitters to pick up on after five innings on the mound. A typically consistent starter, Cross struggled to keep his spins off the meat of the plate.
Gerwuins Velazco. Velazco only pitched 1 2/3 innings on Sunday after Cross made a mess yielding six runs. Velazco failed to do any significant “damage control” as manager Johnny Rodriguez said, allowing four more runs, all unearned, to pile up. Velazco gave up four hits and a walk, and although he was not given the loss he certainly did not have his best outing this season.
Ryan McCarvel. McCarvel went 1-for-12 in four starts this week, one of his poorest weeks at the plate so far this season. Although manager Johnny Rodriguez continues to place him in the cleanup spot of the lineup, McCarvel hasn’t been doing enough to stay there, with no RBI this week. The catcher / first baseman struck out three times in his 12 at bats, lowering his average from pretty bad (.220) to even worse (.211) by the end of the week.
Yariel Gonzalez. Although Gonzalez was hot last week, his batting has since cooled off. The Puerto Rico native went 2-for-14 (.143) this week with three strikeouts and no runs scored. The infielder struggled against Staten Island pitching like many of his teammates, but also hit poorly against Williamsport and did not have a lot to show for four starts this week.
Something to forget
On Sunday night, Vince Jackson missed an easy fly ball to center that he had to run slightly forward for. There was miscommunication among Jackson, Tommy Edman and Andy Young on who was going to get the ball, and it ended up dropping right in front of Jackson’s feet, giving the Yankees bases they didn’t deserve. The miscue was not marked as one of State College’s errors, which were high already at three, but definitely should have been.
Something to remember
While waiting in the rain delay that pushed back Saturday night’s game, the BB&T Nook Monster was playing around with the Staten Island Yankees near the visitor’s dugout. The big blue furry mascot even took one of the player’s gloves and started playing catch and calling pitches with a player, a sight that had everyone laughing, including all of the Yankees’ dugout. The comical sight made the best out of 30 minute rain delay and surely kept both teams energized.
State College ranks second in runs scored and third in hits, but falls down this week in the ranks in batting average. Even though West Virginia’s won-loss record falls far below the Spikes’, their team batting average (.260) ranks higher than State College. The Spikes are second lowest in times caught stealing (13), showing the team’s improved abilities on the base paths.
The Spikes pitching staff ranks fifth in the league in ERA (3.15), far behind Hudson Valley’s low (2.38). State College is sixth in runs allowed and second highest in number of hits yielded. The first place team also leads the league in saves (21) and has given up the fewest home runs (16).
New York-Penn League Pinckney Standings
1. State College Spikes (STL) [39-20]
2. Williamsport Crosscutters (PHI) [31-27]
3. Mahoning Valley Scrappers (CLE) [29-29]
4. West Virginia Black Bears (PIT) [27-32]
5. Auburn Doubledays (WSH) [22-35]
6. Batavia Muckdogs (MIA) [15-42]
The Spikes maintain first place in the Pinckney Division with a 7 ½ game lead over Williamsport. Now at 39 wins, the Spikes are set to become the first team in the New York-Penn League to reach 40 wins this season, almost guaranteeing them a spot in postseason play, with just 11 more wins or Williamsport losses needed to clinch their third division title in four seasons.
Although no updates have been made on his current status, a ball hit Tommy Edman in the face on Friday night before the bottom of the second inning while he was warming up at shortstop. The mishap caused Edman to be removed from the game to be checked out by a trainer.
Although Jeremy Martinez was mostly in the lineup as a DH after his wrist issues from last week, he has jumped back behind the plate for four starts at catcher this week, including his five inning appearance in the All-Star Game. His wrist seems to be functioning fine as he returns to provide an important presence behind the dish.
Anthony Ray remains out due to concussion symptoms. The center fielder has not started since he was first taken out for protocols on August 11th. Manager Johnny Rodriguez said that he is not going to rush Ray into coming back, wanting ensure Ray makes a complete recovery.
State College is set to travel to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers for a three game road series starting Saturday. The Spikes will then return home on Tuesday to host the Batavia Muckdogs for a three game home series before closing out the week in Auburn against the Doubledays.
Follow Kara Duriez on Twitter @KaraDuriez.
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