AUBURN, N.Y. — The State College Spikes built a lead, watched one of their own set a personal season milestone, but still lost the rubber match Auburn.
Jesus Vasquez smashed his fifth home run of the season to pull into a tie for Spikes team lead, but Auburn came from behind late to topple the Spikes 6-3 at Falcon Park on Thursday night.
Vasquez, who joined the Spikes (30-33) just over two week ago, sent the first pitch he saw from Auburn (38-25) reliever Silvio Medina in the fourth inning sailing over the left field wall and onto the roof of the batting tunnel at the ballpark to stake State College to a 3-0 lead.
The Spikes got started quick when Jodaneli Carvajal doubled off of the right-field fence to start the game, then scored on Walker Gourleys double. One batter later, Jacob Stallings singled in Gourley to make it 2-0.
The Doubledays bats came alive in the fourth, however. Three hits and a hit batsman set up two bases-loaded situations, and each time Auburn produced a sacrifice fly to score a run. Carlos Alvarez and Wes Schill knocked in those runners.
In the seventh inning, Auburn mounted its biggest assault. After Schill grounded out, Spikes reliever Kevin Kleis walked Spencer Kieboom and was lifted for left-hander Tom Harlan (2-6).
The Doubledays notched three straight hits, with Tony Rendas single scoring Kieboom to tie the game. With the bases loaded, Martinez then sacrificed Mike McQuillan home on a fly ball to left field to give the Doubledays a lead they would not surrender.
Two more Auburn hits off of Harlan from Brandon Miller and Alvarez completed the scoring.
Vasquez joined Samuel Gonzalez and Chris Diaz as Spikes with multi-hit games.
Harlan took the loss after allowing three runs on five hits during his one-third of an inning on the mound. Starter Adrian Sampson lasted 41/ 3 innings for State College before leaving with the lead. The right-hander, who
is still in search of his first pro win after being drafted by the Pirates in the fifth round this year, gave up two runs on four hits, two walks and a hit batsman. Sampson also struck out four.
Travis Henke (5-1) got the win for Auburn with three scoreless innings of relief. Henke yielded three hits while striking out four. Cody Davis pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his second save of the series.
Notes: The loss dropped the Spikes eight games behind Auburn in the Pinckney Division with 13 to play. ... The Spikes open a six-game home-stand today as they take on the Jamestown Jammers (Washington Nationals) in a 7:05 p.m. matchup at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. ... Right-hander Luis Heredia (3-1) will start for State College. ... U.S. Olympic gold medal winning wrestler Jake Varner will attend the game as a guest of the Spikes.