WILLIAMSPORT, PA - Rowan Wick became the eighth player in State College Spikes history to hit two home runs in one game, and his five runs batted in propelled the Spikes to a 10-3 win over the Williamsport Crosscutters in the 2014 season opener on Friday night at Susquehanna Bank Park at Historic Bowman Field.
Wick, playing his first game in a State College (1-0) uniform, smashed a two-run homer to center field in the fifth inning to put the capper on the Spikes' six-run frame. The 2012 ninth-round draft choice of the Cardinals then launched a three-run dinger to right-center field in the ninth to provide the final scoring of the night. Wick ended the evening with three hits and three runs scored as well.
The Spikes also received solid pitching from starter Dewin Perez (1-0), who faced just one batter over the minimum during his five innings of work. Perez allowed one hit and two walks while striking out four batters. Fernando Baez followed with two perfect innings of relief, striking out the side in order in the sixth.
Josh Lucas (1) finished off the victory with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless, no-hit ball to earn his first save with State College.
The win was the Spikes' first in a season opener since 2007, when they topped Williamsport (0-1) by a 5-2 score at Historic Bowman Field.
Nick Thompson, making his professional debut, also powered the Spikes' offense with a two-run single as part of the fifth-inning burst. Brian Vigo-Suàrez contributed two hits and an RBI to help the Spikes' efforts.
Wick's pair of homers matched the Spikes' single-game homer record previously set by Mark Hamilton, Justin Byler, Andy Vasquez, Kyle Morgan, Matt Curry, Wes Freeman and Jesus Vasquez.
Cord Sandberg was the only player with multiple hits for Williamsport, going 2-for-4.
Alejandro Arteaga (0-1) took the loss for the Crosscutters after yielding all six of the Spikes' runs during their fifth-inning binge. Arteaga only allowed one earned run, though, on a total of seven hits and two walks over five innings on the hill. The righty also added a strikeout.
Saturday, State College and Williamsport renew acquaintances at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park for the 2014 Spikes Home Opener. It will be the second game of the four-game set between the two teams, with game time is set for 7:05 p.m. The Spikes will have right-hander Steven Farinaro (0-0) on the mound, while the Crosscutters counter with right-hander Ricardo Pinto (0-0).
The Home Opener, presented by PSECU and 95.3 FM 3WZ, will feature an extended post-game FIREWORKS display that will light up the skies over Happy Valley. Ballpark gates will open at the special time of 5:30 p.m. for the general public, and the first 2,500 fans will receive their 2014 Spikes Schedule Magnets, presented by PSECU.
The fun begins early on Opening Night in State College with a Pre-Game Tailgate in the Porter Gardens area adjacent to the ballpark from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. The tailgate is open to anyone with a ticket to the Home Opener, and will feature ballpark snacks and activities to help fans get ready for the return of Spikes baseball.
Every fan will also be a guaranteed winner on Scratch n' Win Saturday, as each fan will receive a scratch n' win card with a great prize or discount on it. Plus, kids can run the bases after the game thanks to Clinical Outcomes Group, Inc.
Tickets for the Home Opener, as well as all 38 nights on the Spikes' 2014 home schedule, are currently on sale through the Spikes Box Office by calling (814) 272-1711 or by visiting in person. Fans can also buy and print single-game tickets by clicking here.
Catch all of the action on Saturday via the Spikes Radio Network, presented by Penn State Sports Medicine, at 6:35 p.m. with Spikes Live, presented by Mount Nittany Health, on the air from Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. The Spikes' radio broadcast can also be heard worldwide through the "Listen Live" link on StateCollegeSpikes.com, provided by 95.3 FM 3WZ.