The Class A Short Season State College Spikes won't be able to defend their New York-Penn League crown.
But the Spikes' defense, particularly second baseman Zach Kirtley and first baseman Matt Davis, took being on the ropes as an opportunity to stand out in a 4-1 loss to the Doubledays at Lubrano Park.
Video: Kirtley helps State College turns triple play
Right-hander Will Latcham issued a five-pitch walk to Doubledays' first baseman Jake Scudder to start the sixth before Kirtley misplayed a grounder by Andres Martinez. Armond Upshaw followed with a single to left field to score Scudder from second, leaving two runners on with nobody out for Nic Perkins.
2017 Minor League milestones
Perkins cracked the first offering from Latcham on a line straight to Kirtley, who caught the ball chest high, beat Martinez to the bag at second and fired to Davis at first before Upshaw could get back in time for the first triple play in the 11-year history of the franchise.
Gameday box score
With one out and a runner on in the home half of the sixth, Kirtley slapped a single on the ground through the right side to set up Wood Myers' run-scoring forceout. The hit was the second of the game for the fifth-round pick in the June Draft, who is batting .211/.319/.300 through his first 48 professional games.
Jonathan Pryor raced for an inside-the-park homer for the Doubledays' first run in the third. Nick Raquet started for Auburn and allowed a run on five hits with one strikeout over six innings.
With just three games remaining in the regular season, the Spikes' hopes of defending their New York-Penn League title ebbed away after Hudson Valley swept Monday's doubleheader against Lowell to seal up the Wild Card. Mahoning Valley also took both games of a twinbill to bring their magic number for the Pinckney Division title down to one.