BATAVIA, N.Y. - The State College Spikes weathered the Batavia Muckdogs' early offensive fireworks to bring the tying run to the plate in the eighth inning, but fell just short of completing a comeback from a six-run deficit in a 6-3 defeat on Wednesday night at Dwyer Stadium.
Down 6-0 entering the sixth inning, State College (26-24) jumpstarted it's night at the plate starting with a one-out double from Alex Fuselier. Two batters later, New York-Penn League All-Star third baseman D.J. Crumlich added another double to deep left-center field to score Fuselier and draw the Spikes within five. Jacob Stallings then laced a line-drive single to center field to bring Crumlich home and cut the deficit to four.
In the eighth inning, State College made even more inroads. Yhonathan Barrios started off the frame with an infield single and advanced to third on a single to right by Fuselier. Walker Gourley would contribute the third straight Spikes hit with a single to right-center field to plate Barrios.
The trio of hits finally chased Batavia (25-24) starter Tyler Melling (3-1) from the mound after seven-plus innings, with Crumlich due up as the tying run. However, All-Star reliever Lee Stoppelman (3) came on and set down the next six Spikes batters in order, with the last five going down via strikeout, to stop the State College momentum and earn the save.
The Muckdogs had moved out in front right off the bat, with Breyvic Valera's RBI double two batters into the game scoring the first run. On the same play, Spikes center fielder Tyler Gaffney, who was also named to the New York-Penn League All-Star Game on Wednesday, dove for the ball and hit a bump in the outfield on the way down. The impact gave Gaffney a black eye and forced him out of the game to be replaced by Fuselier.
Batavia added another run in the first and scored three times in the third inning to take control of the game. Jonathan Keener's bases-loaded, two-run single increased the Muckdogs advantage to 4-0, and a subsequent sacrifice fly made it 5-0 after three. Danny Stienstra brought in the final Batavia run in the fourth inning with an RBI single.
Crumlich and Gaffney, in addition to five Batavia players, were each named to the New York-Penn League All-Star Game before Wednesday's contest. Patrick Wisdom and Valera will also represent the Muckdogs in Tuesday's Midsummer Classic at Eastwood Field in Niles, Ohio. Spikes outfielder Barrett Barnes and Batavia catcher Jesus Montero were also named All-Stars, but both will miss the game due to injury.
Spikes starter Jason Creasy (0-3) took the loss after yielding five runs on seven hits and a walk over three innings of work. Creasy struck out one batter in the effort.
Melling earned the win with the longest outing by a Spikes opponent this year. The Batavia left-hander gave up a total of three runs on ten hits, and struck out a pair of batters.
Valera produced his second straight three-hit game as the Muckdogs ended their six-game losing streak with the win.
State College remains in second place in the Pinckney Division, three-and-a-half games back of Auburn. The Spikes and Doubledays will clash in the first game of a two-game set on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. The matchup at Falcon Park marks the first meeting between the two clubs in 2012, with State College and Auburn set for ten tilts over the season's final 26 games.
Left-hander Joely Rodriguez (2-1) gets the ball for the Spikes in Thursday's game. Rodriguez is coming off of five three-hit, shutout innings against Hudson Valley on Thursday. The Doubledays will go with right-hander Ivan Pineyro (1-1) on the hill.
After the road trip through upstate New York concludes on Sunday, the Spikes will head into the New York-Penn League All-Star break before coming back home to Medlar Field at Lubrano for a four-game homestand starting on Wednesday, Aug. 15. State College will take on the Jamestown Jammers (Miami Marlins) in a two-game set.