BURLINGTON, Vt. — The State College Spikes appeared to be cruising, with some masterful pitching to shut down the Vermont Lake Monsters.
It all fell apart in the seventh inning, however, as the Spikes fell 8-2 Sunday night at Centennial Field.
Following a sweep at Tri-City, State College has dropped the first two games of the series in Northern Vermont.
The Lake Monsters racked up 10 of their 11 hits in their final two at-bats, none of them for extra bases, and took advantage of a pair of Spikes errors.
State College posted a 2-0 lead through six innings, holding Vermont to just one hit, behind the pitching of starter Clay Holmes. The right-hander tossed five shutout innings, striking out two while giving up just the one hit, one walk and hitting a batter and lowering his ERA to 1.45.
DJ Crumlich and Ryan Hornback led the Spikes offense with two hits each. Crumlich singled in the third, then raced all the way around to score when Samuel Gonzalez’s infield single was thrown away by Vermont third baseman Chad Lewis. Gonzalez then scored on a Crumlich single.
After reliever Josh Smith (0-1) set the Lake Monsters down in order in the sixth, they jumped all over the reliever in the seventh with three runs, then made things worse in the eighth against Kyle Haynes and Pat Ludwig with eight straight batters reaching before the first out on seven singles and a walk to put five more across the plate.
A Rhett Stafford two-run single was the big blow in the seventh, with a wild pitch and two Spike errors aiding the cause. Stafford ended up on third thanks to those errors and scored on Austin Booker’s bunt with what proved to be the winning run.
In the eighth, Vermont sent 11 batters to the plate. Bruce Maxwell, Lewis, Stafford, Booker and Kelvin Rojas all had RBI singles.
Lake Monsters pitcher Tyler Vail made his first start of the season for Vermont. The Easton native, who also pitched for the Lake Monsters in 2011, began this year with the Arizona League A’s. Vail gave up five hits and two runs, one earned, and was in line for the loss until the rally.
Relievers Logan Chitwood, Stuart Pudenz and Austin House teamed up to allow just one more hit while striking out six to shut out State College. Pudenz (2-0) earned the win with four strikeouts among the six batters he faced during his two innings of work.
Lewis, Stafford and Wilfredo Solano each had a pair of hits to pace the Lake Monster offense, as every starter but one — Jacob Tanis — had at least one hit.
Notes: The teams complete their three-game series, their only set against each other this season, at 7:05 p.m. today. Right-hander Jason Creasy (0-1) will start for State College against lefty Julio Ramos (1-1). ... The Spikes will then get Tuesday off before returning to Medlar Field at Lubrano Park for a three-game series with the Staten Island Yankees. ... State College leadoff hitter Jodaneli Carvajal was 0-for-4 to end his streak of reaching base safely in 16 straight games. ... The Spikes left the bases loaded in the second inning without scoring and left seven runners on for the game. Vermont also left seven runners on base. ... The Lake Monsters also committed a pair of errors in the contest. ... State College pitchers also uncorked three wild pitches.