UNIVERSITY PARK — A season that once looked promising before a latter-summer swoon helped along by injuries and inconsistent play took another hit on Sunday when the State College Spikes blew a three-run lead late.
The Spikes, who returned to Medlar Field at Lubrano Park on Sunday night for their last four-game home stand of the season, fell 9-6 to Williamsport after a six-run eighth inning put the last-place Crosscutters on top for good.
State College got a boost when David Valesente blasted a two-run single in the sixth inning gave State College a four-run advantage.
Valesentes hit to left-center field plated Samuel Gonzalez and Dilson Herrera to cap the three-run frame for State College (33-40), extending its lead to 6-2 going into the seventh. Williamsport (28-45) would respond with a solitary run in that inning on an RBI single from Cameron Perkins.
I dont think we could have done a better job offensively, Spikes manager Dave Turgeon said. Our guys are maximizing their abilities, and Im proud of the way they competed.
The eighth was all Williamsport, however.
The Crosscutters, who had the bases loaded in the sixth and seventh, cashed in another bases-loaded situation in the eighth. With two outs and Chace Numata on base, Spikes reliever John Kuchno (0-1) gave up a walk and an infield single to Kyle Hoppy to fill the bases. Perkins then grounded a ball up the middle toward Herrera. However, the ball kicked off of second base instead, turning the play into a two-run single for Perkins to draw Williamsport within a run.
Williamsport then scored the tying run on an error, and after another walk, Mitch Walding brought in two more runs with a single to center. New State College pitcher Kevin Kleis then booted a grounder to bring in the final Crosscutters run.
We had a good game up until the eighth, Valesente said There were a couple bad bounces, missed a couple outs and it cost us. We kept at it, tried to come back, just came up short tonight.
Pitcher Jason Creasy, started out strong, giving the Spikes five strong innings on the mound, surrendering just two runs on five hits.
Williamsport starter, Kevin Brady held the Spikes to one hit in the first two innings but State College took the lead in the third after Yhonathan Barrios doubled to left field and was knocked in by Chris Diazs single to center.
Williamsport answered half an inning later when Perkins singled and moved to third after Chris Serritellas single to center field. Larry Greene plated Perkins with a line drive up the first base line.
The Spikes kept up the pace, scoring one run in the bottom half of the fourth, one in the fifth, and three in the sixth.
Diaz, Dilson Herrera and Eric Wood all had an RBI each in the stretch.
Bryton Trepagnier replaced Creasy on the mound in the sixth inning, and it seemed as if Williamsport had passed up one to many opportunities to come back after leaving three men on base in both the sixth and seven innings.
The Spikes and the Crosscutters are back in action this afternoon at 4:05 p.m., and take on rival Mahoning Valley at home on Tuesday and Wednesday for the final series of the season.
Were really finding out who we are right now, Turgeon said. The theme for us these next couple games is: finish. We come to work everyday, tomorrow's going to be another battle, these guys arent going away, were not going anywhere either.