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Spikes take series from Yanks

Wins bring team to .500

August 7, 2010
By CHRIS McFARLAND, Sentinel sports reporter,

UNIVERSITY PARK - After being shut down by the Spikes pitching staff for a majority of the game, Staten Island rallied back in the eighth inning to cut the State College lead to one. The Spikes came right back in the bottom half of the inning with a run of their own and held on for a 4-2 win Friday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

With one out in the eighth, the Yankees hit back-to-back single for their first real scoring threat of the game. Shane Brown knocked in the first Staten Island run on a fielder's choice to shortstop. Garrison Lassiter followed and lined the first pitch he saw into center field for the Yankee's second run.

In the seventh inning, with the Spikes leading 2-0, Adalberto Santos hit an RBI single to score Kelson Brown with the eventual game winning run. State College added an insurance run in the eighth on a Miguel Mendez fielder's choice.

By simply looking at the final score, it would be hard to tell how much trouble the Spikes' pitching staff was giving the Yankee hitters. State College recorded 17 outs before Staten Island could even get its first hit Friday evening.

Spikes starter Zack Dodson cruised through five innings of no-hit ball. Dodson allowed only one base runner-a two-out walk in the fourth inning to Lassiter. He also struck out five Yankee hitters.

"I just threw a lot of strikes," Dodson said. "I felt good. It was the first time I've ever thrown past the fourth. I felt a big relief to get over that hump."

Dodson said he wanted the opportunity to take the mound in the sixth inning, but he knew there was little chance of that happening with him being on a strict pitch count.

"What (Dodson) did tonight was make simple adjustments instead of trying to revamp everything he's doing and he didn't go harder as better-he just made adjustments," State College manager Gary Robinson said. "He showed a much more mature approach to what he was trying to do. I think he learned that harder isn't necessarily better, and that's where he needed to go. He got the ball down and got outs. That's what we want him to do and he'll get it."

Staten Island finally got its first hit with two outs in the sixth inning-a single to center by Shane Brown.

The Spikes got things going right off the bat against Yankees starter Shane Greene. A leadoff walk to Mel Rojas Jr. followed by single to left field by Gift Ngoepe gave the Spikes two runners in scoring position, after Ngoepe advanced to second on the play at third. Santos knocked in the run on a fielder's choice to short.

State College put together a two-out rally in the third. After the first two batters of the inning quickly struck out, Matt Curry slapped a double down the first base line. Pat Irvine followed with an RBI single to right to give the Spikes a 2-0 lead.

State College opens a three game series at home today with the Tri-City Valley Cats at 7:05 p.m.

"If we play like we're capable of playing, we can be pretty dag gum good," Robinson said. "In my opinion, we're as good as anybody in the league. Whether we play the game as well on a nightly basis is what we strive to do. Maybe, if we do that, we can make some noise. We still got time."

NOTES: The New York-Penn League all-star rosters we announced Friday night with three Spikes making the list - Curry, Santos and Jhonathan Ramos. Staten Island will host the all-star game on Aug. 17. ... The Spikes' Ngoepe failed to advance from the round of 16 in Minor League Baseball's annual Moniker Madness contest, which allows fans to choose the player with the most unique or funny name. Brett Butts of the Mississipi Braves (AA Southern League) passed Ngoepe as a bracket finalist.



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