Spikes Don’t Take Advantage of Opportunities, Lose 7th in a Row
The State College Spikes suffered their seventh loss in a row tonight, falling 3-2 to the Auburn Doubledays. Tyler Waldron had a rough first inning for State College, allowing all three runs to score in the inning. Meanwhile, the Spikes had plenty of opportunities throughout the game, but only managed two runs, stranding 11 runners on base, including six runners left in scoring position.
Waldron started off the first inning getting the leadoff batter to ground out. That was followed up by a double from Auburn shortstop Gustavo Pierre. After a ground out to first, Waldron allowed three straight two-out hits, with two doubles and one single, bringing in the three runs. In total, Waldron threw 28 pitches in the first inning, with 20 strikes. He was mostly working with his fastball, and working in the zone for the most part, leading to a lot of hard hit balls.
Waldron was more effective through the rest of the game. After a leadoff single in the second, a hard ground ball which skipped past Drew Maggi, Waldron retired the next 11 batters, including striking out the side in the fourth inning against the bottom of the Auburn order. Waldron allowed a two out single in the fifth inning to Pierre, with Pierre advancing to second base on a ball in the dirt on the next batter. Drew Maggi recorded a fielding error on a grounder against the next batter, but was able to catch Pierre in a rundown, after a hard turn around third base.
It was a rough night for Pierre, who recorded two straight two-out errors on ground balls in the fifth inning, although the Spikes failed to capitalize, trailing by a run at the time. That was the story of the night for the State College offense. The Spikes loaded the bases with two outs in the first, but Pat Irvine ended the inning with a ground out to second. It was a questionable swing for Irvine, as Auburn pitcher Sam Strickland had just walked two batters. This is the second night in a row Irvine has gone to the plate swinging against a pitcher with control issues earlier in the inning.
The Spikes had another opportunity in the second inning. Kelson Brown led off with a double, and moved to third on a one-out single by Kevin Mort. Brown scored on a sacrifice fly by Drew Maggi. With two outs, Mel Rojas Jr. doubled to the left-center gap, putting runners at second and third. Chase Lyles followed that up with a fly out to right field.
Kelson Brown was the offensive player of the night for State College, leading off with a triple in the fourth inning, and scoring his second run of the game on a groundout by Miguel Mendez. That was the last run State College would score, despite other opportunities.
The Spikes had the two errors by Pierre in the fifth, but Brown was unable to come through this time around, grounding out to second. Cole White drew a two out walk in the seventh, putting runners on first and second, but Pat Irvine flew out to center in the final legit opportunity of the night.
State College did get some good pitching. Waldron finished with five innings, allowing the three runs from the first inning on six hits, with no walks and four strikeouts. Waldron was working in the 88-92 MPH range with his fastball, and threw 77 pitches, 53 for strikes. Vincent Payne came on in relief and pitched three efficient innings, allowing no runs, no hits, one walk, and striking out two. Payne’s fastball was sitting in the 88-91 MPH range, with a low 80s changeup, and a 74 MPH curveball.
Jason Townsend pitched the ninth inning and was wild, throwing 31 pitches in total, and walking the bases loaded. Townsend got out of the inning without allowing a run.
The Spikes travel to Williamsport tomorrow, where I will be continuing the coverage of the season ending minor league tour. Zack Dodson is the scheduled starter, although Dodson said he wasn’t sure if he would make the start, or be shut down for the season. It might end up being a game time decision for Dodson.