UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Pedro Pages smashed a pair of wall-ball doubles to drive in three runs, including two runs in the eighth to break a 3-3 tie, as the Happy Valley Grilled Stickies made their debut with a 5-3 victory over the Batavia Muckdogs on Friday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
The Grilled Stickies, who are the alter ego of the State College Spikes (27-26), hit the field in special jerseys for the occasion, which went up for bids in a Jersey-off-the-Back Auction presented by PSECU to benefit Children's Miracle Network. The auction raised over $3,000 for the CMN chapter at Geisinger Janet Weis Children's Hospital in Danville, with more to be raised in association with Friday's events over the next week.
Pages started his big night in the fourth by lofting a ball down the left field line that ricocheted off the top of the wall in front of the Pepsi Picnic Pavilion to bring in Terry Fuller for the Stickies' second run. The Happy Valley catcher then crossed the plate on a subsequent wild pitch to put the Stickies ahead, 3-2.
Nic Ready hit a solo homer to left, his sixth of the season, to tie the game for Batavia (31-23) in the eighth, but Pages then stepped back up in the bottom of the frame. With two outs and runners on first and second, Pages clubbed a double off the fence in The Nook in left-center field, the deepest part of the park, to bring both runners in and give Happy Valley the lead for good.
Donivan Williams gave the Stickies their first run with a solo homer off Muckdogs starter Jackson Rose in the second, his first of the season.
Grilled Stickies reliever Cameron Dulle (1-0) allowed Ready's homer in the eighth but ended up the winning pitcher. Dulle yielded a total of two hits and struck out two batters in the effort.
Jack Ralston (3) allowed one hit but no runs in the ninth to earn his third save as a professional. Ralston, who struck out one batter, has now gone 18 1/3 innings without being charged with a run to begin his pro career.
Batavia catcher Mikey Hernandez gave the Muckdogs the opening lead with an RBI single to left in the second. Milton Smith, who collected three hits, produced Batavia's second run with a single to center in the fourth.
Muckdogs reliever Edison Suriel (2-2) was tagged with the loss after yielding both Stickies runs in the eighth. Suriel allowed a total of two hits and struck out one batter.
The Grilled Stickies' win put the Spikes in a good position, now within 3 ½ games of both the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division lead and the lead in the race for the league's lone Wild Card berth.
Saturday, the Grilled Stickies give way to the full-fledged return of the Spikes in a 7:05 p.m. series finale against the Muckdogs at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. State College seeks the sweep with right-hander Michael YaSenka (1-0) heading to the mound. YaSenka, the Cardinals' Minor League Pitcher of the Month for July after going 2-1 with a 0.56 ERA for Rookie-level Johnson City, started his Spikes career strong by taking a no-hitter into the sixth and earning the win on Sunday at Lowell.
YaSenka, the Cardinals' 2019 17th-round draft choice out of Eastern Illinois, will also be making a return to his home state, as he is a native of Franklin, Pa.
Batavia is scheduled to send right-hander Eli Villalobos (0-2) to the hill on Saturday.
Fans can look forward to another appearance from Tim "Wild Thang" Lepard and Team GhostRiders with the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo. The one-of-a-kind act featuring monkeys riding dogs herding rams has been a staple of Spikes entertainment for several years and will entertain fans throughout the evening, capped off by the grand finale performance after the game.
The skies over Happy Valley will also light up with a spectacular FIREWORKS show after the game on Ag Night, all presented by Local PA Dairy Farmers. Plus, kids can run the bases after the game.
It's also a Super Saturday, presented by the PA Lottery, with great chances to win big throughout the night, plus a Saturday Naturday, with half-price Natural Light Naturdays from 6-8 p.m.
The fun begins with Senator Corman's Kids Day at the ballpark from 12-2 p.m., featuring several local vendors and family fun.
Saturday's game will also be televised live by WHVL-TV, with Steve Jones and Josh Sperber on the call.
Tickets for Saturday's game, as well as every game on the 2019 home schedule, are currently on sale through the Spikes Ticket Office. Tickets can be purchased by calling (814) 272-1711 or by visiting the Ticket Office in person from 9 a.m. to the end of the game on gamedays Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to the end of the game on gamedays Saturday and Sunday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on non-gamedays Monday through Friday.
Fans can also buy and download single-game tickets by visiting StateCollegeSpikes.com.
Catch all of the action on Saturday via the Spikes Radio Network, presented by Penn State Sports Medicine, Official Healthcare Provider of Penn State Athletics, 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 the club's flagship radio home, NEWSRADIO 1390 WRSC, as well as the TuneIn Radio app.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.