Spikes drop opener to Doubledays

UNIVERSITY PARK — One thing is certain in the game of baseball and that is if you don’t score, you can’t win. And when you don’t have many chances to put runners on the base paths, that makes scoring almost impossible.

Only able to send one more batter than the minimum for the nine innings of the game, State College found itself on the short end of a 4-0 final before 4,063 fans Friday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

“We had trouble getting the line starting tonight. We only had three hits,” Spikes manager Joe Kruzel said. “We didn’t have that many chances to keep the line going and it was one of those nights that when we did hit the ball hard, they made the plays. The shortstop made a couple of nice plays and the center fielder ran down a couple of balls in the outfield. It was just one of those days where we couldn’t get started.”

The center fielder referred to by Kruzel was Victor Robles who is on a rehab assignment from the Washington Nationals.

The Doubledays drew first blood in the second inning when Jacob Rhinesmith went shopping at the right-center field gap for a triple, Rhinesmith scoring on a sacrifice fly to left off the bat of Jamari Blash.

Still holding on to the 1-0 lead, the Doubledays picked up three insurance runs in the seventh. Singles by Rhinesmith, Robb O’Connor and Ricardo Mendez loaded the bases.

Rhinesmith scored on a wild pitch uncorked by Gabe Gentner and O’Connor and Mendez scored the third and fourth runs of the game for Auburn with a two-run single to center by Cole Daily.

“He (Voyles) gave up those two hits to begin the seventh and that is when (Gabe) Gentner came in,” Kruzel said. “He got the first out, and then the passed ball allowed a run (the second one) to score. He (Gentner) got the second out but then they got the base hit that scored the final two guys. Gentner and (Will) Changarotty had a clean ninth on seven pitches. Unfortunately we just couldn’t get the bats going tonight.”

Spikes starting pitcher Jim Voyles took the loss, but the righty probably deserved a little better fate in the game.

For his effort, Voyles worked the first six innings plus two batters in the seventh, charged for three runs on five hits, striking out three and not issuing a single base on balls.

“He did a really solid job for us,” Kruzel said. “He changes speeds really well, he kept their hitters off balance and he moved the ball around. He pitched well to both sides of the plate and overall he did an outstanding job.”

If there was one effort that stood out offensively for the Spikes it was that of Edwin Figuera who had two of the three State College hits.

“He has been doing a good job of stringing together some good at bats and as a result he is being rewarding by getting base hits,” Kruzel said of Figuera. “He is playing well right now and hopefully we can get a couple more guys doing what he is doing by swinging the bats well.”

The two teams will play the second game of the three-game series tonight with a single contest at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.