UNIVERISTY PARK The State College Spikes used two ringers to quickly erase the sting of a lopsided loss.
OK, Chris Diaz and D.J. Crumlich arent ringers. They are a slick-fielding duo from major colleges beginning professional careers in the New York-Penn League.
Their age means they should here, and the Spikes could have more performances like Thursdays 8-0 victory over Williamsport if the pair remains healthy.
The victory followed Wednesdays 13- 1 one-hit, messy-fielding, cluttered- pitching loss at Williamsport. Diaz, an 11th-round draft pick from North Carolina State, and Crumlich, a ninth-round pick from UC Irvine, watched their new team unravel from the Bowman Field dugout.
I have played every game for the last three, four years, so watching is always tough, Crumlich said. The game seems a lot longer, but you have to plug in and learn as much as you can.
Crumlich and Diaz agreed to terms earlier this week, but manager Dave Turgeon eased the duo into the lineup. Both players worked out Tuesday and joined the active roster Wednesday.
They made their first starts Thursday, with Crumlich handling third base and Diaz playing shortstop. Both players spent most of their college careers as shortstops.
The duo helped calm 17-year-old pitcher Luis Heredia, who allowed one hit in four scoreless innings. Diaz and Crumlich each started a double play with Heredia on the mound. After committing 10 errors in their first three games, the Spikes had just one Thursday.
Those guys are two good players, especially on defense, catcher Jacob Stallings said. They are both very advanced. They came in and did a nice job for us.
The duo also helped an offense that produced 11 hits and scored in four different innings. Diaz, who batted second, dropped a bunt single down the third-base line in his first professional at-bat. Crumlich, who batted fifth, went 2-for-3. Crumlich used a hard slide to disrupt a potential double play in the third.
Just watching those guys, I already sense they know how to work, Spikes manager Dave Turgeon said. They obviously come from good programs. I think they are really competitive, and I like a competitive environment. Theres nothing like competition to bring more energy.
Diaz and Crumlich are two of three additions. Pitcher Adrian Sampson, a fifth-round pick from Bellevue (Wash.) Community College, hasnt been added to active roster.
We are competitors, Diaz said. We know how to compete and that's something every club needs. After seeing this team play, they all compete, so I think we will fit in pretty good.
Diaz and Crumlich were two of four players from major colleges in Thursday's lineup. Center fielder Barrett Barnes, a supplemental first-round pick from Texas Tech, went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, and Stallings, a seventh-round pick from North Carolina, handled four pitchers who combined to allow three hits.
The quartet occupied the Nos. 2-5 spots in the batting order. The lineup also had some NY-PL veterans as Walker Gourley played left field, Samuel Gonzalez handled first base and Rodarrick Jones roamed right field. Second baseman Jordaneli Carvajal, who played shortstop in the first three games, led off and went 3-for-3 with two triples.
Pitchers Joan Montero and Jordan Cooper, who combined to allow one hit in four relief innings, also played in State College last summer. Heredia, Montero, Cooper and Logan Pevny only allowed one runner to reach third base.
We had some little bumps in there, Barnes said, but overall is a good, clean baseball game.
Guy Cipriano can be reached at 231-4643. Follow him on Twitter @cdtguy