TROY, N.Y. - State College Spikes pitching was touched for eight runs in the first inning, the highest total allowed by the Spikes in one inning this year, which proved to be the difference as they fell to the Tri-City ValleyCats, 9-5, on Thursday night at Joseph Bruno Stadium.
State College (12-28) scored the first run of the game when Alex Fuselier walked, advanced to second on a groundout, stole third and crossed the plate on the ensuing throwing error by Tri-City (16-23) catcher Miles Hamblin. However, the ValleyCats quickly recouped that run and more, chasing Spikes starter Stetson Allie (0-2) from the game after five batters.
Allie yielded a leadoff double to John Hinson, and after an error, walked a batter and hit Zach Johnson and Brandon Meredith with pitches to force in a pair of runs. The 2010 second-round draft pick was then lifted with the bases loaded in favor of Vince Payne, who allowed four straight hits that resulted in another five runs, three of which were assessed to Allie. Payne then recorded three straight outs, including a sacrifice fly that brought in Tri-City's final run of the frame.
The Spikes battled back after the ValleyCats' flurry to score three more runs of their own in the second inning. Matt Skirving led with a walk, then came around to score on a fielder's choice by Fuselier. Kirk Singer then scored on the second wild pitch by Tri-City starter Euris Quezada, with Alex Dickerson plating Fuslier to make it 8-4.
The ValleyCats added their final run in the bottom half of the second after Matt Duffy, who contributed a two-run single to Tri-City's outburst in the initial frame, doubled in another run to make it 9-4, ValleyCats. State College finished off the scoring when Dickerson drove in a run with a sixth-inning fielder's choice. Although his four-game streak of multi-hit performances came to a halt, the Indiana product had the only multiple-RBI game for the Spikes.
Allie suffered his second professional loss as he allowed a total of five runs, four of them earned, on a hit, a walk and two hit batsmen. Jordan Cooper pitched three innings beginning with the second and allowed a run on two hits and a pair of walks. Trent Stevenson made his 2011 Spikes debut, shutting out Tri-City on three hits and a walk over four innings of work in his return to the club.
After Quezada got into trouble in the second inning, Dayan Diaz (4-2) came on and picked up the win by allowing one run over 3 2/3 innings. Diaz gave up two hits and two walks, but struck out seven batters during his time on the mound.
Friday, the Spikes and ValleyCats finish their three-game series with a 7 p.m. matchup at Joseph Bruno Stadium. State College will have right-hander Ryan Hafner (0-2) on the mound as he seeks his first professional win. Tri-City will go with left-hander Kyle Hallock (2-2), whose 2.12 ERA and 0.88 WHIP both rank among the top marks in the New York-Penn League.
The Spikes will be back at home for a three-game homestand against the Lowell Spinners (Boston Red Sox) starting on Saturday, July 30 with a 7:05 matchup.