Steven Farinaro's run of dominance has extended onto the New York-Penn League's biggest stage.
The right-handed St. Louis prospect allowed two hits and two walks over six innings as Class A Short Season State College blanked Hudson Valley, 3-0, in the opener of the best-of-3 New York-Penn League Championship Series at Dutchess Stadium. Farinaro hasn't allowed an earned run in five consecutive outings, a streak of 31 innings.
The 2013 11th-round pick faced one over the minimum over the first four frames, then worked around Angel Perez's ground-rule double and a walk to Chris Betts in the fifth. Farinaro (1-0) registered a single strikeout, he used his off-speed stuff to keep the Renegades from making hard contact.
"Everything felt good. It was great to have my teammates behind me," the 21-year-old said. "I don't think I shook [catcher] Jeremy [Martinez] off once the whole game. Being able to trust Jeremy and trust my teammates behind me, it was a really good feeling to get the win as a team."
Hudson Valley starter Noel Rodriguez matched him through the first five frames, surrendering one hit and four walks while striking out four. In the past, Farinaro admitted a pitchers' duel might have thrown him off.
"In the past, when I'm pitching in tight games like that, I may have gotten a little bit complacent," he said. "One thing I've been working on here is no matter the situation just going out with the same mentality, taking it one pitch at a time and really just focusing on the pitch and the task at hand. Not worrying about the next pitch or the next inning."
The Spikes broke through for two runs in the sixth after J.D. Busfield (1-1) took over for the Renegades. Andy Young doubled, scored on Vince Jackson's triple and then crossed the plate on Martinez's single
Farinaro gave up a single to Miles Mastrobuoni before exiting the game. Max Almonte scattered two hits over three scoreless innings to earn the save.
"I talked to [Spikes manager] Johnny [Rodriguez] after the game," Farinaro said. "He said 'Great job,' and I said, 'Hey, I'm just happy to get the win.' I don't care if we won 12-10 today. It's good just to get the win and move on to the next game."
The series shifts to State College for Game 2 on Monday as the Spikes look to take home their second championship in three years.