STATE COLLEGE, PA – A sellout crowd of 5,801 fans, the third largest in State College Spikes history and the largest crowd at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park since July of 2010, watched the Spikes come back to beat the Williamsport Crosscutters, 6-2, on Saturday night in the 2014 Home Opener.
Trailing 2-0 after the first inning, the Spikes (2-0) rallied in the middle innings to top the Crosscutters (0-2) for the second straight night. Robelys Reyes delivered three hits in the leadoff spot for State College. Alex De Leon and Leobaldo Pina each doubled for the Spikes as well.
State College took the lead in the sixth inning when Williamsport reliever Delvy Francisco’s first pitch in a bases-loaded situation ended up as a passed ball to score Jake Stone with the tying run. Crosscutters catcher Deivi Grullon then erred trying to throw home on the same play, allowing Nick Thompson to plate the go-ahead run.
Luis Cruz added an RBI single in the sixth inning to extend the Spikes’ lead, and Thompson knocked in the final State College run with a fielder’s choice in the seventh.
Spikes starter Steven Farinaro allowed the first two Williamsport runs in the first inning, but settled down and recorded ten consecutive outs to end his evening. Farinaro tossed a total of five innings in which he yielded four hits while striking out two.
Trey Nielsen (1-0) earned the win in his professional debut with two perfect innings of relief in which he compiled four strikeouts. Nielsen, the 30th-round draft choice of the Cardinals in 2013, did not see any professional action due to injury last year.
Williamsport starter Ricardo Pinto (0-1) took the loss after being charged with four runs, one of them earned, on three hits and three walks over 5 2/3 innings. Pinto struck out eight batters on the evening.
Cord Sandberg was the lone Crosscutter with multiple hits for the second straight night.
The last time the Spikes welcomed a crowd as big as Saturday’s to Medlar Field at Lubrano Park was on July 30, 2010, when 5,807 fans saw Williamsport top State College, 7-6. The ballpark record attendance for a Spikes game is 5,836, set at the 2011 Home Opener against Williamsport.
Sunday, the Spikes head back to Susquehanna Bank Park at Historic Bowman Field in Williamsport for the third game of their season-opening four-game set against the Crosscutters. First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m. Left-hander Ian McKinney (0-0), the fifth-round draft choice of the Cardinals in 2013, will get the ball for State College. Right-hander David Whitehead (0-0) will get the start for Williamsport.
The Spikes and Crosscutters then return to Medlar Field at Lubrano Park on Monday for a 7:05 p.m. matchup.
Opening Week at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park continues from Tuesday through Thursday when the Batavia Muckdogs (Miami Marlins) come to State College for a three-game series.
--State College Spikes Media Relations