STATE COLLEGE - Steven Ramos lined a single to left-center field in the bottom of the ninth inning to plate the only run of the game as the State College Spikes pulled into a tie for the New York-Penn League Wild Card lead with a 1-0 victory over the Vermont Lake Monsters on Friday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
With State College's (25-19) win and losses by Lowell and Tri-City, the Spikes are now knotted with the Spinners for the top spot in the NYPL Wild Card race. Jamestown's loss on Friday also drew the Spikes within three games of the Pinckney Division leader.
The win was the seventh in a row at home for the Spikes and the fifth in a row overall. State College is now 14-2 in its last 16 home games.
Friday's contest was a pitchers' duel throughout. Arturo Reyes and Victor DeLeon combined for eight shutout innings for State College while Vermont (23-23) starter Brent Powers tossed seven scoreless frames of his own in the longest outing for a Spikes opponent this year.
However, in the ninth, Mason Katz reached on an error to lead off the frame, and after a sacrifice bunt and intentional walk, was pinch-run for by Brett Wiley. Following a strikeout by reliever Sam Bragg (0-1), Ramos sent a two-strike pitch to the outfield to win the game.
The game-winning hit came after Ramos had been thrown out at third base as the go-ahead run in the eighth inning on a sacrifice bunt by Juan Herrera.
Mitch Harris (2-1) got the win for the Spikes with a scoreless ninth inning of work in which he walked two batters and struck out two. Reyes yielded two hits and a walk while striking out two in his five innings of work. DeLeon recorded two strikeouts and gave up two hits in three innings.
Bragg walked a total of four batters, two intentionally, in 1 2/3 innings and struck out one batter. Ramos's walk-off single was the only hit he allowed. Powers struck out five and scattered six hits in a quality start for Vermont.
Luis Perez notched a multi-hit game for State College. Ryon Healy was the only Lake Monsters batter with more than one hit.
Saturday, the Spikes look to continue their roll as right-hander Willy Paulino (2-1) gets the ball for a 7:05 p.m. matchup against the Lake Monsters in the second game of a three-game series at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Vermont is scheduled to send right-hander Lee Sosa (1-2) to the mound.