Spikes break stalemate in 11th

WILLIAMSPORT – State College shortstop Cesar Valera scooped up the barrel of a broken bat in the bottom of the 11th inning Tuesday night at Bowman Field, the remnants of a pitch which got in the kitchen of Williamsport’s Samuel Hicicano.

The way he was going, Valera probably could have gotten a hit with the sawed off portion of bat he handed to the bat boy.

Valera had four hits for State College, the last of which was a one-out RBI single in the top of the 11th inning to spark a four-run rally which led the Spikes to a 7-3 win over the Crosscutters.

In a reversal of roles from the season opener Monday night in State College, the Spikes pounded out 14 hits against Cutters pitching. The Spikes were also 5-for-18 with runners in scoring position.

Williamsport was just 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, and are just 4-for-29 in that scenario in the first two games of the season.

The rally from State College spoiled a brilliant night from Cutters third baseman Zach Green, who was 3 for 5 and drove in all three runs for Williamsport. His solo home run, the first of the year for Williamsport, in the eighth inning forced extra innings.

It was the fourth home run of Green’s career after hitting three last year in the Gulf Coast League. All three of Green’s RBIs Tuesday night erased a one-run State College lead.

The first one game in the bottom of the first inning with Williamsport trailing 1-0 when Green jumped on the first pitch from State College starter Chris Perry, driving a two-out ground-rule double down the left-field line. The ball rolled under the fence in foul territory and likely prevented Andrew Pullin from scoring the go-ahead run.

Green again erased a one-run State College lead when he hit his second two-out double of the night, this one the other way off the base of the right-field wall to score Dylan Cozens who had worked a two-out walk on a 3-2 pitch. But the biggest of Green’s three run-scoring hits was his homer in the eighth.

To that point, State College relief pitchers had allowed the Cutters offense just six hits and one run in seven innings of work through two games. But Green hammered a 1-2 hanging breaking ball from Spikes reliever Victor DeLeon just inside the left-field foul pole for his first home run of the season, tying the game 3-3.

Anderson was hit hard in his first outing for Williamsport, surrendering eight hits in 4 1/3 innings. All three runs he allowed were earned. He left one State College runner stranded on base in all four innings he completed.

Williamsport pitcher Lino Martinez was saddled with the loss, allowing all four runs in the 11th inning. Martinez was strong in his first two innings of work, but surrendered three hits and walked two more in the decisive 11th inning.

The home run allowed by DeLeon was the only run allowed by State College’s bullpen, which allowed just three hits in seven innings. State College pitching struck out 12 Cutters batters, and 21 total in the first two games.

State College took three separate one-run leads last night. The first time came in the first inning when Cesar Valera hit a one-out double and scored two pitches later when Bruce Caldwell singled.

After Williamsport responded in the bottom of the first with the first of two RBI doubles from Green, Carson Kelly led off the top of the second with a moonshot double to center field. A gusting wind was the only thing that prevented the 18-year old third baseman from his first homer of the season. Drew Anderson, making his debut for the Cutters got back-to-back groundouts before Luke Voit recorded his first professional hit to drive in Kelly.

The Spikes, again having let go of a one-run lead, got took another lead in the fifth thanks to a two-out bases loaded walk from Kelly. Yacksel Rios, relieving Anderson, came on with the bases loaded and one out and got a quick out before walking Kelly on four pitches.

That lead held up until Green crushed a 1-2 hanging breaking ball in the eighth inning. Williamsport had an opportunity to win in the bottom of the ninth after Gabriel Lino (3-for-4) singled to lead off the inning. After he was bunted to second, pinch-runner Samuel Hiciano was stranded there after Gustavo Martinez popped out and Angelo Mora grounded out to second.

The teams return to Medlar Field at Lubrano Park tonight to complete the first set of the Sawbuck Series.