Spikes Jump Up Early but Can’t Hold Lead in Loss to Rival Williamsport

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The State College Spikes took an early lead, but the Williamsport Crosscutters chipped away and grabbed a 3-2 win on Sunday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

(Photo: Yariel Gonzalez. Photo courtesy of State College Spikes)

The Spikes (34-31) and Crosscutters (30-32) produced just one hit apiece over the first three innings, but State College broke through to plate a pair of runs in the fourth. Yariel Gonzalez delivered a ground-rule double to right-center field to knock in his league-leading 33rd run of the season, and Josh Lopez followed with an RBI single to right field.

Williamsport was able to halve the advantage in the sixth on Josh Stephen’s ground-rule double. Jake Scheiner then lined the first pitch of the seventh inning to the Pepsi Picnic Pavilion in left field for his third home run of the season to tie it up.

In the eighth, Greg Pickett’s one-out double set up Cole Stobbe’s wall-ball double to left to put the Crosscutters ahead for good.

With the loss, the Spikes fell to four games back of Mahoning Valley for the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division lead with 11 games remaining in the regular season. State College stayed 3 ½ games back of Hudson Valley in the race for the league’s lone Wild Card berth.

Jonathon Mulford started for State College and allowed two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out seven batters over 6 1/3 innings. The right-hander retired 11 straight batters from the first through fourth innings, and his strikeout total for the night set a new season high.

Reliever Alex Fagalde (0-1) took the loss for the Spikes after yielding the go-ahead run on a total of three this and a walk over 1 1/3 innings. Fagalde also recorded one strikeout. Jesus Cruz retired all four batters he faced, three via strikeout, to finish out the game for State College in his debut with the club.

Kyle Dohy (2-1) picked up the win in relief for Williamsport. Dohy gave up one walk and struck out five batters over two scoreless innings. Luis Ramirez (11) added to his NYPL-leading saves total with a 1-2-3 ninth.

The Spikes now head to Monongalia County Ballpark in Granville, WV on Monday to begin a six-game road trip with the opener of a three-game set at the West Virginia Black Bears (Pittsburgh Pirates). State College will send NYPL All-Star left-hander Daniel Castano (7-3), the league’s leader in innings pitched with the fourth-most strikeouts in the loop, to the mound for the 7:05 p.m. matchup. Castano has elicited 67 whiffs on the year, and is just one strikeout shy of Brad Furnish’s single season-franchise record of 68, set back in 2006.

The Black Bears, who sit in second place in the NYPL Pinckney Division a game ahead of the Spikes, will send right-hander Beau Sulser (2-3) to the hill.

State College will face the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Cleveland Indians) in a three-game set that begins on Thursday to complete the road swing before coming home on Sunday, September 3 to start the last homestand of the regular season.

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