UNIVERSITY PARK — The injuries have subsided, key players are getting healthy and runs that have been hard to come by came in bunches for the State College Spikes on Sunday night.
But the Spikes let a win slip away allowing the Aberdeen IronBirds to score four runs in the top of the ninth to win 10-9 at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Still, like he told his players before the game, Spikes manager Dave Turgeon thinks the worm is turning for his club.
We went through a rough patch with a ton of injuries and some guys were scuffling, Turgeon said. I thought we came out of that and kind of got re-energized with a couple of wins there and put up a nine spot tonight. So Im encouraged by a lot of things.
After nine runs combined in their previous seven games, the Spikes jumped ahead of the IronBirds in their first offensive frame Sunday.
Aberdeen plated two runs off three hits to begin the game, but State College battled back. Tyler Gaffney took first base after getting hit by a pitch for the 15th time this season and Walker Gourley followed with a blast to right center.
D.J. Crumlich hit a ground ball back to Aberdeen pitcher Brady Wager who tried to get Gaffney on a force at third. Wagers throw was off target however, and bounced wildly allowing Gaffney and Gourley to score. Derek Trent got his first of three hits and two RBIs on the night with a double down the left field line to plate Crumlich and put the Spikes up 3-2.
Trent would come up big again for State College.
His two-out single in the bottom of the third moved Jacob Stallings to third and the Spikes catcher would score immediately thereafter on a Wager wild pitch. Trent moved to third then easily took home on a second consecutive wild pitch from Wager.
Trent, who made his fifth appearance for State College after making his debut on July 29th due to a rash of injuries to Gourley, Gaffney and Barrett Barnes among others, upped his average to .412 and would contribute another RBI in the sixth inning that put State College ahead 9-3.
Its the game of baseball. People go down all the time, Trent said. So whenever you get the opportunity to step in and do something, its nice to take advantage of it. I think weve had some people do that.
While Trent said a lot of players would rather not play as a designated hitter due to the fear of getting cold or not being properly warmed up for every at-bat, the 24-year-old from Kingsport, Tennessee said he loves the position.
I was getting some good pitches to hit and putting some good swings on them and luckily got a couple out into the outfield with runners on. So I was able to drive those in, Trent said.
Hell get another start today from the DH spot.
Trenty, I think offense is his forte and that gives us a nice left handed bat in our lineup, Turgeon said. Hes probably going to be in there again tomorrow. Hes going to play that hot hand right now and Ive seen him get hot for a week at a time before. He gives you good at-bats and he can hit a fastball.
Trents RBI would be the last for the Spikes, however.
Logan Pevny was able to stymie the early-middle portion of the Aberdeen lineup in the sixth after relieving starter Luis Heredia who pitched five innings of four-hit ball while giving up three runs. While Pevny found success, relievers Justin Ennis, Lance Breedlove and Thomas Harlan did not.
Ennis allowed three runs on four hits in 2/3 innings in the seventh, yielding the mound to Breedlove who
escaped the inning and retired two of three hitters he faced in the eighth. But, Breedlove ran into trouble in the ninth.
After Breedlove gave up one run on two hits, Turgeon opted to swap him out for Harlan with two runners on base. Immediately, Harlan was hit hard by Joel Hutter whose RBI-single pulled the IronBirds within one. Aberdeen would get two in rapid succession after Torsten Boss doubled to center field, scoring two more runs to cap the scoring.
I thought we played well all the way through but youve got to give credit to Aberdeen, Trent said. They never gave up and they battled all the way through and in the ninth inning they were able to get the barrel on the ball and drive in some runs. It was definitely a disappointing loss but I think we played well for the most part.
Notes: State College wraps up its series with Aberdeen tonight at 7:05 p.m. ... Barnes, who is on the disabled list with a left leg injury, is scheduled to have another test on his leg Thursday, Turgeon said. Barnes is dealing with a stress reaction in his left leg and had it heavily wrapped in the clubhouse. Turgeon said he expects Barnes to be out a number of weeks even if it is revealed the injury is not a stress fracture. ... Heredia pitched his last game as a minor. The Pittsburgh Pirates teen phenom will turn 18 on Friday.
Travis Johnson can be reached at 231-4629. Follow him on Twitter @traviswjohnson_