Late runs not enough for Spikes
WILLIAMSPORT — The beat goes on for State College.
The Spikes were hoping that a day off and a change of venue might provide the spark that would help them turn things around.
Mired in the midst of a losing streak that now spans seven games, things unfortunately didn’t change for the Spikes as they dropped a 4-2 verdict to Williamsport before 1,998 fans at Bowman Field Thursday night.
The Spikes took a 1-0 lead in the third and they did it with only one hit.
Delvin Perez and Matt Duce worked Cutter starting pitcher Jhordany Mezquita for free passes and with one out, Nick Dunn juiced the sacks with an infield single to short.
Two pitches following Dunn’s hit, Mezquita plunked Edwin Figuera, forcing Perez across the dish with the game’s first run.
“We loaded the bases in the third inning and the only run we got out of it was by a hit-by-pitch,” Spikes manager Joe Kruzel said.
The Spikes lead was short-lived, however, as the Cutters came back with a single tally in the bottom of the third.
Bryan Gonzalez led off the inning with a walk, stole second and scored when Edwin Rodriguez ripped an RBI double off the centerfield boards.
With the 1-all deadlock holding into the fifth inning, the Cutters took the lead for keeps and they did it with a pair of doubles.
Jonathan Guzman smacked a one-out double to left and one out later, Matt Vierling chased Guzman across the dish when he rattled the left field boards with his RBI double.
Already leading by one, the Cutters all but put the win in the books with a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth.
A single by Keudy Bocio, an intentional walk issued to Rafael Marchan and a two-run double to left by Ben Pelletier did the job.
But don’t count the Spikes out because the way they have been playing might attach the label of “comeback kids” to them.
“We loaded the bases again in the ninth with nobody out and we can’t get the ball out of the infield,” Kruzel said. “Right now it appears to be avalanching on these guys and they just have to understand that each pitch is a new pitch and each day is a new game. They can’t start wondering about what is going to happen because sooner or later, they have to make it happen.”
With a lot of baseball remaining to be played, it now appears that the ball is in the hands of the Spikes’ players and only they can determine what happens for the rest of the season.
Rondon (0-2) gave up just two runs on seven hits and a walk during the night, finishing just 1/3 of an inning shy of a quality start. The right-hander also notched three strikeouts and threw 96 pitches, 70 of them for strikes
“Tonight was a situation where (Angel) Rondon pitched well, (Jacob) Schlesener did a really good job and we can’t afford to give up any more runs,” Kruzel said. “We simply have to do a better job of shutting that down to give ourselves a chance. It just seems that at times we just bury ourselves a little too deep. I love these guys, but sooner or later, someone is going to have to step up, both offensively and defensively.”
The two teams will play the second game of the 3-game series tonight with a single contest at Medlar Field @ Lubrano Park.
Jim Voyles (0-1), will get the ball for State College in the 7:05 p.m. match up. Voyles retired the first eight batters he faced, and recorded eight strikeouts, in a four-inning outing against West Virginia on Saturday. Williamsport is slated to start left-hander Ethan Lindow (0-0) on the mound for his second outing against the Spikes.