State College, Penn. - The Williamsport Crosscutters kept scratching and clawing their way back into a late-night ballgame at State College but ultimately fell to the Spikes 8-6 on Tuesday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
The Cutters are opening a season-long seven-game road trip.
The night began with a brief 14-minute rain delay and then over three-and-a-half hours of game-action later concluded at 10:51 p.m. when Hunter Hearn struck out with the bases loaded.
The Spikes raced out to a 6-1 lead in the first two innings but the Cutters closed the deficit to 6-4 and 8-6 at different points before leaving the potential tying runner at second base and go-ahead runner at first base to end the game.
Kendall Simmons and Bryson Stott both went 2-for-5 and both banged out a double and a triple. Simmons added one RBI and two runs scored while Stott had two RBI and one run scored. Nate Fassnacht also knocked a three-bagger later in the game giving the Cutters a season-high three triples.
D.J. Stewart went 4-for-5 while batting out of the lead-off spot for the first time.
Jake Kinney and Brian Marconi came out of the bullpen to fire three combined innings of shutout relief to keep the Cutters within comeback distance.
Williamsport took a 1-0 lead in the first on a pair of doubles by Kendall Simmons and Bryosn Stott. But State College exploded for five runs in the first against Cutters starter Chris Michaeles (L, 0-2). All five runs were unearned on a couple of errors but the Spikes also had a few hard hits in the big rally as well. Martin Figueroa tripled to center to ring in a couple for a 3-1 lead. His harmless looking hit to center scooted under the glove of a diving Johan Rojas and went almost to the warning track where it was retrieved by left fielder D.J. Stewart backing up the play.
Dariel Gomez singled to right for the next run and then Stanley Espinal socked a double off the wall in left for a 5-1 advantage.
State College pushed the lead to 6-1 against Anton Kuznetsov in the second with the first five batter of the inning reaching safely. Hunter earn fired out Moises Castillo trying to stretch his lead-off hit to a double. But David Vinsky singled to left and stole second before coming around on Terry Fuller's double to the gap in left-center. A walk and a single loaded the bases for the Spikes who were looking to build on their 6-1 margin but Kuznetov battled back with a strikeout and fly out to limit the damage.
The Crosscutters began their comeback efforts in the third with a three-run rally of their own beginning with a single for Stewart and then triples for Simmons and Stott. The Simmons three-bagger to "The Nook" in left-center plated Stewart and then Stott smashed his own triple to the right-field corner to make it 6-3. Hunter Hearn's ground out brought home Stott to cap the inning's scoring and pull the Cutters back to within a couple.
The Spike boosted their lead in the fifth against Adam Leverett on an RBI single by David Vinski and a wild pitch that brought home Cameron Knight. But again the Spikes left the bases loaded as Leverett limited the damage. State College stranded 13 runners in the game including leaving them loaded three times.
Williamport cut the deficit to 8-5 in the seventh on a triple to right for Nate Fassnacht that was followed by an RBI single for STewart. Logan O'Hoppe singled Stewart up to third but Stott couldn't deliver in the clutch this time as reliever Cameron Dulle induced a pop-up to end the threat.
The Cutters made it interesting in the ninth scoring one run while putting the tying and go-ahead runners on base against closer Jack Ralston. Fassnacht reached on a dropped third strike and then D.J. Stewart singled followed by Kendall Simmons reaching safely on a fielder's choice with Stewart beating the dropped throw on the force play at second on a tough grounder deep in the hole at shortstop.
Bryson Stott batted as the go-ahead man at the plate with two outs but he could only muster a grounder this time. A mishandled ball for the Spikes lone error of the game kept the game alive for Hunter Hearn but Ralston got him with a strikeout to end the drama and late-night contest.
The Crosscutters road-trip continues Wednesday night in New York against the Auburn Doubledays (WSH) at 7:05 p.m. LHP Junior Tejada is the probable starter for the Crosscutters.
- Williamsport had a season-high three triples in the game (Simmons, Stott, Fassnacht).
- State College is 8-3 against Williamsport this year. The two teams will meet three more times to conclude the season.
- The Spikes won this back-and-forth series 2-1 taking the last two games after Williamsport had triumphed in the Sunday opener 10-3 back at BB&T Ballpark.
- Williamsport is 12-9 in the second half of the season after going 10-27 in the first half.
- The Crosscutters have 18 games remaining in the season including just eight home games with the next home contest scheduled for Thursday, August 22 against Mahoning Valley
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.