STATE COLLEGE - Streaks are a part of the game of baseball and the State College Spikes realized both sides of the coin within a period of 24 hours.
Wednesday night, the Spikes snapped a five-game losing skid with an 8-2 win over Lowell. Thursday night, the shoe was on the other foot as the Spinners hung on for a 4-3 win, snapping a five-game home winning streak for the Spikes.
One glaring statistic in the game was that the Spikes outhit Lowell 14-8, but came up on the short end of the score.
"The timing of base hits wasn't there and we made a couple of mistakes on the base paths that hurt us," Spikes manager Oliver Marmol said. "Early on, if you are going to make a mistake I would hope you would make an aggressive mistake rather than being passive. We definitely outhit them, but we didn't get enough hits at the opportune time."
With Spikes starter Andrew Pierce battling the combined pitching efforts of Lowell starter Corey Littrell and reliever Simon Mercedes through four scoreless innings, the Spinners drew first blood with a run in the top of the fifth.
Cleuluis Rondon reached on an error charged to Spikes second baseman Mason Katz, advanced to second and third on consecutive ground outs by Nick Moore and David Sopilka and scored on a bloop single to left by Tzu-Wei LIN.
Responding to the scoring effort by Lowell, the Spikes quickly went to work with the bats to put up a crooked number in their half of the fifth to take a 2-1 lead.
Carson Kelly started things with a single to center and Alex DeLeon followed with a swinging bunt single down the third-base line.
Michael Schulze reached on a fielder's choice, Kelly moving to third and Jimmy Bosco chased Kelly home with the first State College run with a sharp single to right.
With Schulze at third, Steven Ramos executed a safety squeeze bunt to perfection, chasing Schulze home with the go-ahead run. Ramos continued to be on fire with the bat with four hits in the game. He now shows 22 hits in his last 40 at-bats.
"He (Ramos) is doing a great job," Marmol said. "He is just transferring everything he is working on his routine in the cages and BP and is taking it into the game. He is sticking to a plan and right now, he is just doing a phenomenal job. He is starting to understand what type of hitter he needs to be and it is coming into play. We are excited what we (coaches) are seeing from him on a day-to-day basis."
"I am seeing the ball real well right now," Ramos said. "I am feeling real comfortable up there (at the plate) and it has been working real well for me."
Pierce departed with the 2-1 lead. The righty allowed one unearned run on just three hits, striking out three and walking two.
"He (Pierce) did a real nice job," Marmol said. "He kept their hitters off balance by mixing all three of his pitches well and the defense did a pretty job behind him today as well."
Jhonny Polanco followed Pierce to the bump, and the righty was roughed up by the middle of the Spinner lineup.
The seesaw fashion of the scoreboard continued in the top of the sixth as the Spinners regained the lead on a monster home run to right center by Aaron King following a walk issued to Kevin Mager.
With Polanco continuing to have a difficult time finding the strike zone, Jantzen Witte and Carlos Asujae drew back-to-back walks.
The Spinners tacked on another run on an RBI single to left by Rondon and Polanco departed from the scene without retiring a single Spinner batter.
Jacob Booden followed Polanco to the bump and the lanky right-hander did a bang-up job. He worked two innings, facing seven Spinner batters, allowing just one hit while striking out five.
"He came in there and did a real nice job keeping the game close by getting those strikeouts," Marmol said. "He did a real nice job by throwing his big curveball for strikes."
State College closed the gap to 4-3 with a run in the eighth, but it proved to be too little too late and the loss was in the books.
The two teams will conclude the series tonight with a single game starting at 7:05 p.m.
Lowell will send Jamie Callahan (1-1) to the bump and the Spikes will counter with Juan Bautista (0-2).
Notes: Cesar Valera is tied for third in the NY-PL in doubles with 10 and is tied for the top spot in hit by pitch with six. ... Jimmy Bosco is ninth in the league in batting average (.320), third in slugging percentage (.540), second in triples (4) and tied for first in runs scored (21). ... David Washington is tied for first in RBIs with 23 and is tied for third in home runs with five. ... Bruce Caldwell is tied for the top spot in runs scored with 21, third in OBP (.423) and fourth in walks (16).