UNIVERSITY PARK – The State College Spikes came out victorious in a back-and-forth slugfest on Friday evening, topping the Williamsport Crosscutters 7-4 in front of 5,061 fans. The crowd was the Spikes sixth crowd over 5,000, surpassing last years mark with 11 home dates still remaining. Andrew Walker paced the offense with a 4-for-5 night including two RBI. The win also moved the Spikes back to the .500 mark at 27-27 and kept the Spikes 4.5 games behind Auburn in the race for the Pinckney Division.
For the second night in a row, the Spikes used their first turn at-bat to open the scoring. Brian Friday extended his hitting streak to 17 games when he started the rally with a leadoff triple to the left-centerfield nook, and later scored on a Keanon Simon RBI groundout to give State College a 1-0 lead.
That is how the score would stay as Nicolas Suero and Phillies' 1st round selection Joe Savery matched zeroes until the fifth. In the top of that inning, the ‘Cutters drew even with a solo home run from Michael Taylor, but in the bottom of the frame the Spikes took the lead right back. Simon started the inning with a single and came all the way around to score on Walker’s double. Erik Huber followed suit with another double to score Walker and push the Spikes lead to 3-1 after five.
The teams put up a pair of zeroes in the sixth before Williamsport trimmed into the lead with a single run in the seventh to make it 3-2. But once again the Spikes responded and pushed their lead to 4-2 on an RBI single from Matt Cavagnaro.
The see-saw scoring would continue in the eighth. Williamsport was able to once again draw even thanks to a pair of runs off of Spikes reliever Daniel Moskos to knot the game at 4-4. The tie wouldn’t last long, however, as State College answered in a big way in their turn at-bat in the eighth to take control of the game for good.
Austin McClune reached on the Crosscutters third error of the game to start the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Simon then followed with a lined shot off the leg of Williamsport reliever Christopher Kissock that ricocheted into short right field which allowed McClune to score with the go-ahead run on a bang-bang play at the plate. Simon then stole a pair of bases to move to third before Justin Byler scored him with a double. Byler then came around to score on Walker’s fourth hit of the night to put the exclamation point on the inning and give the Spikes a 7-4 lead.
Ronald Uviedo (2-0) pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless relief, and struck out the side in the ninth to close out the game and pick up the win.
The Spikes will close out the three-game series tomorrow evening in Williamsport before returning to Medlar Field at Lubrano Park on Sunday for a quick two-game series against the Jamestown Jammers. Great seats are still available for all of the Spikes action, and they can be purchased over the phone by calling 877-99-SPIKES, by logging on to StateCollegeSpikes.com, or in person at the Medlar Field at Lubrano Park box office.
--State College Spikes