STATE COLLEGE - The State College Spikes came sprinting out of the gates to score four runs in the first three innings, but the Auburn Doubledays scratched at the Spikes' lead one run at a time until a sixth-inning flurry gave the Doubledays a 6-4 victory on Wednesday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
State College (31-37) went down 1-0 in the top of the first inning when Auburn (42-27) leadoff man Mike McQuillan doubled and came in to score on a wild pitch. However, the Spikes tied the game in the bottom half when Walker Gourley and Chris Diaz each singled to start the frame, clearing the way for Gourley to score on Jacob Stallings's sacrifice fly to center field.
In the second inning, State College took the lead after each of its first four batters reached base. Yhonathan Barrios's RBI single to left made it 2-1, Spikes, with Gourley contributing a run-scoring fielder's choice one batter later. Jon Schwind then brought in another run in the third inning with a sacrifice fly to center, giving State College a 4-1 lead.
The Doubledays would retalitate starting in the fourth inning, though. Carlos Alvarez gave Auburn its second run with his sac fly to left field in the fourth, and Shawn Pleffner helped McQuillan score his second run with a groundout to first base.
Spikes starter Adrian Sampson then left the game with the lead after five innings of work in which he yielded three runs on four hits and four walks. Sampson also struck out four batters, and was in line for his first professional win.
The sixth inning was the pivotal time of the game, though, as Auburn put two runners on base via Isaac Sanchez (0-1) walks. With two outs, Narciso Mesa doubled to left field to bring in a run and tie the game, 4-4. One batter later, McQuillan tripled down the right-field line to knock in what would prove to be the winning runs and cap the scoring.
The Spikes brought the tying run to the plate in each of the next four innings, but could not break through to score against Auburn relievers Travis Henke and Derek Self (12).
Gourley, Diaz and Jimmy Rider each produced multiple hits for State College, with Rider and Gourley also adding a stolen base apiece.
Sanchez took the loss in his second Spikes appearance, allowing all three Doubledays runs in the sixth inning on two hits and two walks while striking out one.
Cody Davis (4-1) followed Auburn starter Will Hudgins on the mound with two outs in the second inning, and tossed 3 1/3 frames of one-run ball to earn the win. Davis gave up a total of three hits and struck out a pair of batters. Self picked up the save with a scoreless ninth inning in which he gave up one hit and notched one strikeout.
McQuillan was the main cog in the Doubledays offense, delivering a double and two triples as part of a 3-for-4 night.
Thursday, the Spikes start their last road trip of the 2012 season with doubleheader action at Russell Dietrick Park against the Jamestown Jammers (Miami Marlins). The pair of seven-inning games will begin at 5 p.m. and start a four-game, three-night series between the two teams.
18-year-old right-hander Luis Heredia (4-2) gets the ball for State College in game one after going five innings to earn the win as the Spikes topped the Jammers, 5-0, on Saturday. Left-hander Dalton Friend (3-1) will make his first professional start in game two for State College.
Jamestown will have a pair of right-handers set to go on the mound for the twin bill, as Mason Hope (3-3) gets the ball for game one and Drew Steckenrider (1-2) starts the nightcap.