WILLIAMSPORT - Matt Skirving cleared the bases with a three-run, eighth-inning double to give the State College Spikes a 3-2 victory over the Williamsport Crosscutters and hamper their postseason chances on Friday night at Historic Bowman Field.
Skirving's two-base hit to right field capped off a State College (30-43) rally off of Williamsport reliever Austin Brough (2-3) that started with two outs in the eighth inning. Junior Sosa reached base on a fielding error to start the comeback, with Alen Hanson following by producing an infield single. Alex Dickerson then hit a groundball that barely passed the infield to give Skirving the opportunity at his heroics.
The sudden rally changed the face of a game that had been a pitcher's duel until that point. Spikes starter Trent Stevenson and Crosscutters starter Perci Garner allowed little offense in the early going, with the first run of the game not coming until the fifth inning. Brock Stassi notched that run on a solo home run to right field off of Stevenson to give Williamsport the initial lead.
The Crosscutters extended their advantage in the sixth inning. Jesus Brito (1-2) replaced Stevenson on the mound and hit Maikel Franco with his first pitch. Harold Martinez then scored Franco with an RBI double to right-center field to make it 2-0, Williamsport.
Brito shut the 'Cutters down the rest of the way, though, retiring the last five batters he faced over the seventh and eighth innings for the win. The right-hander yielded just one run on one hit while striking out one batter. Josh Poytress (2) set down the final three batters in order in the bottom of the ninth for the save.
Stevenson gave up just one run on a total of five hits and a walk while striking out five batters. The quintet of whiffs represented the highest total in a single Spikes start for the right-hander in 2011.
Garner tossed a gem for Williamsport, throwing six shutout innings and yielding four hits as well as a walk. The right-hander, who was drafted in the second round by the Phillies in 2010, also struck out seven batters.
Brough took the loss for the Crosscutters after giving up the three unearned Spikes runs on a total of three hits while striking out two over two innings of work.