Spikes rally in ninth to snap seven game skid


Down by four runs in the seventh, the State College Spikes battled back and won in walk-off fashion on Stanley Espinal’s two-run, pinch-hit single to deliver a 6-5 win over the Williamsport Crosscutters on Friday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

The victory enabled the Spikes (4-10) to snap a seven-game slide, and served as their second walk-off win of the season after a 7-6, 11-inning win over the Crosscutters (7-6) in the home opener on June 16.

Espinal, who gave the Spikes a late victory with a 10th-inning homer at Williamsport on June 17, stroked a single to left field to bring in Brady Whalen, with Wood Myers racing in from second to beat the throw home for the winning run.

State College found itself in a 5-1 hole in the seventh after three Williamsport home runs. Edwin Rodriguez smashed a two-run shot to right field for his second homer of the year in the third, followed by Matt Kroon’s solo shot to right for his first professional homer in the fourth and Matt Vierling’s solo dinger to left to notch his first pro homer.

The Crosscutters also scored the first run of the game on 2018 first-round draft choice Alec Bohm’s RBI single in the opening frame.

Myers tied the game in the first for State College with an RBI single to start a three-hit night, but the Spikes really got things moving in the seventh. Joe Gomez led off the frame with a walk, moved to third on Justin Toerner’s double, and scored on a passed ball to draw State College within 5-2.

Nick Dunn then delivered a double to right to score Toerner and make it a 5-3 game, but he would later be erased trying to score on a ball that bounced straight back from the bricks behind home to the plate.

The Spikes then loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, but they were turned aside there before breaking through in the ninth.

Edwin Figuera’s one-out base hit to center, followed by a balk from Crosscutters reliever Luis Ramirez (0-3), then brought the tying run to the plate. After Wadye Ynfante struck out, Whalen lined a single to right to bring in Figuera. Myers then looped a double down the left-field line to set up Espinal’s heroics.

Delvin Perez was 2-for-3 with a triple and a stolen base to help the State College offensive effort.

Reliever Gabe Gentner (2-2) got the win for the Spikes after pitching a perfect top of the ninth inning. Gentner followed Michael Baird, who held the Crosscutters at bay with three innings of one-run ball, giving up just two hits, including Vierling’s homer, and striking out four batters.

Ramirez took the loss for Williamsport, his second of the year against the Spikes, after allowing Whalen’s single, Myers’s double and Espinal’s walk-off. The right-hander notched his only out via strikeout.

The two teams now head back to BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field in Williamsport on Saturday to complete their three-game series with a 7:05 p.m. rubber match. Left-hander Jake Dahlberg (0-0) gets the mound call for the Spikes, while the Crosscutters will go with right-hander Francisco Morales (1-0).

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