TROY, NY -- The State College Spikes won a wild one on Friday evening, taking the series opener from the Tri-City ValleyCats by the score of 7-6. State College had a 6-0 lead in the eighth, but the ValleyCats roared back to tie the game before State College won in their final at-bat. Bobby Spain, who went 3-for-5 on the evening with three RBI, drove home the winning run in the top of the ninth. The Spikes win coupled with an Auburn Doubledays loss moves the Spikes within 3.5 games of first place in the race for the Pinckney Division lead.
The Spikes and ValleyCats traded zeros in the first two innings before State College broke the scoreless tie in the third. The frame started innocently enough when Brian Friday was hit by a pitch with two outs, and Keanon Simon singled before Justin Byler walked to load the bases for Andrew Walker. The fifth round selection from TCU responded with an RBI single to score the games first run and Bobby Spain followed with a two RBI single to push the Spikes advantage to 3-0.
That is how the score would remain until the seventh inning when State College tacked on another pair of runs. Austin McClune singled to start the inning and moved to third on Brian Friday’s double to put two runners in scoring position for Spikes All-Star Keonon Simon. Simon drove home the pair with a line-drive single to centerfield to increase State College’s lead to 5-0. An inning later, Friday was once again at the heart of the rally, with what proved to be a critical RBI single that scored Nick Stillwagon and gave State College a 6-0 lead.
That advantage evaporated in the bottom of that eighth inning however, when the Tri-City ValleyCats sent 11 men to the plate and scored six runs on seven hits to knot the game at 6-6 heading into the ninth. The big blow of the inning came on a grand-slam from Stephen Brown off of reliever Brian Tracy.
But State College got the momentum right back on their side in the top of the ninth. Justin Byler started the inning with a double off the left field wall and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from Andrew Walker, which was misplayed by the Valleycats and allowed Walker to reach. Bobby Spain then scored the go-ahead run with a lined single through the middle to score Byler and give the Spikes a 7-6 lead.
Ronald Uviedo (1-0) pitched a scoreless 1.1 innings of work to get his first win of the year. Tony Watson made the start for State College and tossed five shutout innings, allowing only four hits, but received a no-decision when the bullpen collapsed in the eighth inning.
The Spikes will take on the ValleyCats in the middle game of three tomorrow evening at 7:05 p.m. RHP Matt Foust (2-3) will make the start for State College. After this weekend’s series, the Spikes will take a three-day break for the 3rd Annual NYPL All-Star Game before returning to action against the Williamsport Crosscutters on Thursday evening.
-State College Spikes