WILLIAMSPORT — Williamsport put together offensive bursts in the third and fifth innings and edged the State College Spikes 5-4 on Sunday night at historic Bowman Field.
Alex Fuselier went 3-for-5 with an RBI to top the offensive efforts for the Spikes (29-30). The loss left them below .500 as well as 6 1/2 games behind Auburn in the New York-Penn Leagues Pinckney Division standings and seven games back in the wild-card chase.
Williamsport (21-37) grabbed the first lead, scoring three times off of Spikes starter Clay Holmes (4-3) in the third. Tyler Greene began the Crosscutters scoring with a solo home run over the left-center field wall, the first allowed by Holmes in his professional career. Chris Serritella later golfed a two-run single down the right-field line for a 3-0 lead.
The Spikes responded with their own trio of runs in the fifth inning. Yonathan Barrios, Jared Lakind and Jordaneli Carvajal each singled to load the bases. Fuselier brought in a run with a one-out base hit, D.J. Crumlich brought in another run on a sacrifice fly and Jacob Stallings completed the rally with an RBI single.
Roman Quinn started another flurry for Williamsport in the bottom of the fifth when he walked, stole second, advanced to third on a ground-out and scored on Cameron Perkins single. Serritellas subsequent single continued the inning and forced Holmes from the mound. Larry Greene put the capper on the frame with an RBI single off of Tom Harlan for a 5-3 Crosscutters advantage.
Harlan was superb the rest of the way, tossing 3 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and hitting a batter while striking out three to keep the Spikes in the game.
State College made a comeback attempt in the seventh, with Tyler Gaffney and Fuselier starting the frame with back-to-back base hits and Crumlich producing another sacrifice fly to draw the Spikes within a run. However, reliever Matt Sisto shut the door with 1 1/3 perfect innings, and Andrew Aizenstadt (2) finished the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning to secure the save.
The Spikes outhit the Crosscutters 10-8, but took their third loss in a row.
Gaffney also was hit by a pitch for the 19th time this season, putting him five short of the league record of 24.
Holmes gave up all five runs on six hits, three walks and a hit batsman. The right-hander also struck out one.
Starter Manny Martinez (1-1) got the win, allowing three runs on seven hits and two hit batsmen. Martinez also struck out four.
The Spikes and Crosscutters finish their two-game set with a 7:05 p.m. matchup at Bowman Field today. Right-hander Jason Creasy (0-4) makes his team-leading 12th start of the year for State College, while Williamsport will go with right-hander Ulises Joaquin (2-1).