WILLIAMSPORT — State College Spikes starter Jason Creasy followed opening-night orders.
He worked off his fastball, pitched inside and unleashed an effective breaking ball in favorable counts.
Ditto for Joan Montero, Emmanuel De Leon and Justin Ennis.
What happened after the quartet released the ball wasn’t as visually appealing.
The Spikes committed five errors, including two each in the first and sixth innings, as they fell to Williamsport 6-2 on Monday at Bowman Field.
After one game, the Spikes’ pitching staff has a 0.00 ERA. The Spikes didn’t register an earned run, either. A two-out error by Crosscutters second baseman Tyler Greene helped State College score twice in the fifth.
So the Spikes and Crosscutters enter tonight’s game at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park with unblemished team ERAs. Welcome to Opening Night in the New York-Penn League.
“You never know what’s going to happen under the lights and you saw some things tonight,” Spikes manager Dave Turgeon said. “A little anxious at the plate, swinging out of the zone and the errors sometimes become viral. Young guys — they have a lot of energy and nervous energy.”
Creasy fits the description of a “young guy.” The right-hander turned 20 last month and his only professional experience before Monday consisted of three rookie Gulf Coast League outings last summer.
His outing started with slick Williamsport leadoff hitter Roman Quinn bouncing a ball to shortstop Jodaneli Carvajal, whose throw sailed past first baseman Jared Lakind. Quinn advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on catcher Ryan Hornback’s hurried throw over third baseman Yhonahtan Barrios’ head.
With two outs in the second, Creasy jammed Mitch Walding. The pitch exploded Walding’s bat. The bat handle hit Creasy’s leg, and Creasy fired a throw past Lakind.
The gaffes didn’t slow Creasy, a 2011 eighth-round draft from Clayton (N.C.) High School. He lasted just 22/ 3 innings because of a strict pitch count, but he used sharp curve-balls to strike out Brock Stassi and Larry Greene.
“It was fun even though we had some errors and I got hit around a little bit,” said Creasy, who surrendered an opposite-field triple to Tyler Greene after the error in the second. “It was still good to get out there and get the first one out of the way.” Turgeon praised Creasy’s resolve.
“I was very impressed,” Turgeon said. “He pounded the zone and mixed in his pitches well. He got no support defensively behind him. The thing I really liked after that was that he just kept pitching.”
Montero tossed 21/ 3 scoreless innings, but the Crosscutters expanded their lead by scoring three unearned runs against Emmanuel De Leon in the sixth. Justin Ennis, who is experimenting with a knuckleball, allowed one hit in two scoreless innings.
“I told (pitching coach Justin Meccage) we did a good job on the mound tonight and just didn’t support you,” Turgeon said.
The Spikes mustered five singles off Williamsport pitchers Josh Warner, Geoff Broussard, Matthew Sisto and Jeb Stefan. The Spikes scored both runs when Greene’s throw missed a late-arriving Warner at first. Alex Fuselier scored from second on the error by using a gutsy foot-first slide at the plate.
Pittsburgh Pirates supplemental first-round draft pick Barrett Barnes had a painful start to his professional career. He was hit by Warner on the back in his first-bat, then was hit on the forearm by Sisto in the eighth. Neither pitch slowed Barnes.
“It’s fine,” he said. “I was on top of the plate. That’s how I play the game.”
Barnes, who batted third and played center field, went 0-for-2. He was one of two newly-drafted players in the lineup. Jacob Stallings, a seventh- round pick from North Carolina, went 0-for-4 in his debut. Carvajal had two singles to lead the Spikes’ offense.
“A lot of guys hadn’t played ball in a while like me,” Barnes said. “I hadn’t seen live pitching in a month-and-a-half, so it’s different for me. I will get my timing down. We will get in the groove and be fine.”
Notes: Infielders D.J. Crumlich (ninth round) and Chris Diaz (11th round) and pitcher Adrian Sampson (fifth round) have agreed to terms and will join the Spikes. Crumlich hit .324 and was named Big West Defensive Player of the Year at UC Irvine. Diaz hit .356 and helped North Carolina State reach NCAA Super Regional play. Sampson went 11-0 with a 1.36 ERA against junior-college competition and bypassed a scholarship to Oregon to sign with the Pirates. ... Penn State football coach Bill O’Brien will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before tonight’s home opener. Members of the 2011 Keystone Little League World Series team are also participating in the pre-game festitives. Joely Rodriguez is starting on the mound for the Spikes.
Guy Cipriano can be reached at 231-4643. Follow him on Twitter @cdtguy