Spikes falter early, lose to Batavia

STATE COLLEGE — The Batavia Muckdogs extended their lead in the Pinckney Division to 2.5 games over State College after pounding the Spikes 14-2 at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park Monday night.

The Muckdogs own a 4-1 lead in the season series, including the first two games at State College. The loss was the third straight for the Spikes.

Walks and errors were the hobgoblins for State College early in the game. Three of the four free passes issued by the Spikes ended up scoring for Batavia. Two errors led to two more Muckdog runs.

“The walks and errors hurt us for sure. This just wasn’t our night tonight all around. You have games like this in baseball. We have to regroup, come back tomorrow and try to get a win before going back out on the road,” Spikes manager Jose Leon said.

The Muckdogs offense rung up 18 hits and scored at least a run in six of nine innings. Milton Smith II went 5-for-6 to lead Batavia (15-8), raising his average to .423 on the season. Troy Johnston was 4-for-5 with three RBIs, Albert Guaimaro and Dustin Skelton each had three hits and three RBIs.

“We know what a good-hitting club they have and tonight they showed how good they really are,” Leon said. “When they are on and hitting like that, there really isn’t much you can do. We just have to forget this and get prepared for tomorrow.”

Batavia took a 2-0 lead in the second when Nic Ready and Jack Strunc walked. Andrew Turner loaded the bases when he was hit by a pitch. Skelton reached on an error by Spikes third baseman Shane Benes, scoring Ready. Smith II followed with an infield single plating Strunc.

State College (13-11) answered in the bottom of the inning with a 419-foot homer to left field by Andrew Warner to make it 2-1. The jack was Warner’s third of the season and his 13th RBI.

“Andrew is very strong, he got the pitch he wanted, put good wood on the ball and took it out,” Leon said. “We know what he’s capable of and what he can do as a player.”

The Muckdogs took advantage of a lead-off double by Johnston, setting up an RBI knock to right by Skelton for the 3-1 advantage in the third.

Batavia extended its lead to 5-1 with two more runs in the fourth. Smith II led off with a base hit to center, Dalvy Rosario walked and Ready plated Smith II on a fielder’s choice ground out to first. Rosario later came home on a single to center by Guaimaro.

The Spikes added a run in the fourth after Benes singled and scored on a knock to left by Jonatan Machado. State College finished the contest with eight hits.

“We hit the ball okay, but couldn’t take advantage of the opportunities given us,” Leon said. “We had been hitting better with runners in scoring position, but we didn’t do that tonight. We left eight runners on base. As I’ve said before. It’s still early in the season and we have time to correct these things.”

Batavia put the game out of reach with a four-run fifth. Guaimaro collected his second RBI of the game. Johnston and Rosario had RBI singles and Smith II stole home. The Muckdogs added four runs in the seventh and a run in the eighth to round out the scoring.

Moises Castillo had three hits for State College, bumping his average up to .325.

Jacob Schlesener (1-2) took the loss for the Spikes. He gave up five runs, three earned, on five hits with seven strikeouts and four walks. Jackson Rose (3-1) picked up the victory in relief. He allowed one hit in four innings, fanning five and walking one. Muckdog starter Eli Villalobos went four innings surrendering two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and two walks.

State College faces Batavia today at 7:05 p.m. before going on the road for a three-game series with Tri-City.