Spikes get back into the win column

WILLIAMSPORT — Mother Nature tried, but she wasn’t successful.

Interfering with a 29-minute rain delay, she couldn’t stop the State College Spikes from bouncing back on to the win track as they came on strong down the stretch for a 6-1 win over the Williamsport Crosscutters at Bowman Field.

As has been the case in many of the State College-Williamsport matchups of late, pitcher’s ruled the roost out of the chute.

Thursday night, Cutters’ lefty Manuel Silva and Spike righthander Franyel Casadilla matched each other pitch-for-pitch through the first five innings until the Spikes broke through in the sixth.

“He was in rhythm and in a real good groove,” Spikes manager Joe Kruzel said of Casadilla. “He was moving his fastball around and doing a good job of pitching inside. He pitched away, he pitched down and up and really did good job of mixing it up. Their guy threw extremely well also and we were fortunate to sneak two runs by them in the sixth. It was a well-played game up to that point. Unfortunately the rains came and we had to take him out. I was hoping to stretch him out for another inning.”

Casadilla tied a State College Spikes franchise record with 10 strikeouts over seven innings of work.

In the sixth, the Spikes loaded the bases on singles from Edwin Figuera and Stanley Espinal and a walk to Brady Whalen.

Wadye Ynfante lofted a high fly ball into no-man’s land in center field for an apparent RBI single that wound up being a fielder’s choice and Espinal scored to make it 2-0 when Lars Nootbaar’s line drive handcuffed Cutter third baseman Alec Bohm.

“I remember thinking about that it was a well-played game,” Cutters skipper Pat Borders said. “We had a chance to win it until it got away from us late in the game. But that happens. That is baseball.”

Following the relay, the Cutters finally got on the board against relief pitcher Edgar Gonzalez when Seth Lancaster greeted him with a double to left field.

Keudy Bocio chased Lancaster to third with a 1-4-3 ground out and Lancaster scored on an RBI groundout by Jesus Henriquez to cut the Spikes lead to 2-1 after eight innings.

Edgar Gonzalez replaced Casadilla and did a creditable job of keeping things under control.

“Gonzo came in and although he gave up a soft double,” Kruzel said. “He limited the damage then we were fortunate to get some more runs in that last inning to give us a cushion. It was a well-pitched game and Gonzo was able to close it out.”

Feeling the pressure, the Spikes not only got the run back but added four more for the final 6 -1 score.

Imeldo Diaz started things with a one-out double and Edwin Figuera followed with a single to right.

Stanley Espinal chased Diaz home with a single down the third base line and Brady Whalen broke the game wide open with a two-run double into the right-center gap, scoring Figuera and Espinal.

Williamsport starter Manuel Silva was also tough for the first five innings until the Spikes got him for a pair of runs in the sixth. For the game, the hard-throwing lefty went six innings, allowing two runs on just four hits. He walked three and struck out eight.

“I am going to throw the numbers out the window because I thought he pitched extremely well,” Borders said. “It is good to see how well he responded and reacted and how well he threw his fastball. He had intent with every one of his pitches and I am going to take his effort as a glass half full on the losing side of the game.”

The Spikes return to the friendly confines of Medlar Field at Lubrano Park to open a three-game series with the Auburn Doubledays with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.