AUBURN, N.Y. - The State College Spikes persevered through the first six innings, and the Auburn Doubledays' late miscues allowed D.J. Crumlich, Jacob Stallings and company to power the Spikes' surge in a 4-2 win on Thursday night at Falcon Park
State College (27-25) fell behind in the first inning when Auburn (30-21) first baseman Chris Marrero, the former major leaguer on rehab assignment from Triple-A Syracuse, crushed a 1-2 pitch from Adrian Sampson over the left-field wall for a solo home run. Sampson then allowed an unearned run in the fourth inning when Wander Ramos reached on an error and Brandon Miller tripled him in to make it 2-0, Doubledays.
Sampson gave up a total of five hits and two walks in three-plus frames. However, the Pirates' 2012 fifth-round draft choice also matched a season-high for strikeouts by a Spikes pitcher in a single outing with six.
In the seventh inning, the Spikes kicked the offense into gear with Auburn's help. Samuel Gonzalez led off by reaching on the Doubledays' third error of the game, and after a wild pitch, Tyler Gaffney was hit by pitch for the league-leading 17th time this season to place two runners on base.
After Walker Gourley placed a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position, Crumlich came through with a run-scoring single to cut the deficit to 2-1. Stallings followed with another RBI single to tie the game. Chris Diaz, the next batter, then brought in the go-ahead run when third baseman Carlos Lopez's errant throw pulled the second baseman off the bag on a fielder's choice.
The Spikes added a run in the eighth inning when Gonzalez slid safely into home amidst a cloud of dust to beat the throw from right field on Gourley's single.
Crumlich, Stallings, Gaffney and Gourley all notched multiple hits for the Spikes, who pulled within 3 games of the Doubledays in the New York-Penn League's Pinckney Division and jumped back into second place with Batavia's loss.
Pat Ludwig (3-1) earned the win with three scoreless innings of relief from the sixth through the eight. Ludwig yielded two walks after allowing just one all season, but no hits. Kyle Haynes (6) stayed perfect in save opportunities with a perfect ninth inning in which he struck out two batters.
Auburn reliever Silvio Medina (0-3) took the loss after allowing all three of the Spikes' seventh-inning runs, although only one ended up earned. Medina yielded two hits and struck out five over three innings as the Doubledays collected a total of 15 strikeouts as a pitching staff during the game, the most for any Spikes opponent this year.
On the flip side, the four Auburn errors were also the most for any Spikes opponent in 2012.
Saturday, the Spikes enter the final phase of their six-day swing through upstate New York as they begin a two-game series against the Jamestown Jammers (Miami Marlins). Right-hander Luis Heredia (2-1), who turned 18 years old on Friday, will get the ball for State College in the 7:05 p.m. matchup at Russell Diethrick Park. Heredia's 2.28 earned run average is good for eighth-best in the New York-Penn League and second-best in the entire Pirates minor league system.
Jamestown will turn to right-hander Helpi Reyes (1-4) on the mound. The meeting between the Spikes and Jammers will be the first between the two teams this year.