JAMESTOWN, N.Y. — The team that used to be the State College Spikes is now one win from ruining the franchise’s first-ever trip to the New York-Penn League playoffs.
Jamestown struck from three runs in the bottom of the first inning and held on for a over State College at Diethrick Park in the opening game of the best-of-three playoff series.
State College, a Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate before coming a St. Louis Cardinals’ minor league associate this season, hosts Game 2 at 7:35 p.m. Saturday. If necessary Game 3 would be at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park on Sunday at 7 p.m.
The contest couldn’t have gone much worse for Spikes starter Nick Petree, who entered the game with a 3-1 record at a 1.62 ERA.
After an out, Petree walked Harold Frazier and gave up a single to Adam Frazier. The recently promoted Austin Meadows, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ first pick in the 2013 draft, followed with a three-run blast over the right-field fence.
Jamestown added a run on a bizarre play in the second inning. With Michael Francoso at third, Petree struck out Ramirez on a wild pitch as Francoso came home to score.
Meadows continued to bother the Spikes in the third. He belted a leadoff triple to right and scored on Edwin Espinal’s single. Espinal moved up on a Reese McGuire single and eventually scored on Adam Landecker’s groundout.
Petree left the contest after three innings, having allowed nine hits and six earned runs with a walk and a strikeout.
Jammers starter Buddy Borden (0-0, 1.08 ERA in six regular-season appearances) dominated in his five-inning stint. Borden allowed just three hits (all singles), struck out seven and did not walk a batter.
With Borden gone, the Spikes took advantage in the sixth against Jerry Mulderig.
Steven Ramos, the league’s top hitter, started the rally with a double to left. With two outs, Ramos was at third when David Washington walked. Carson followed with an RBI single to center to get the Spikes on the board.
Michael Schultze walked to load the bases and Mason Katz followed with a bases-clearing double to left to make the score 6-4. Jimmy Bosco then greeted reliever Will Kendall with an RBI double to left to make it 6-5.
But from there, Jamestown’s bullpen was dominant. The Spikes managed just an infield single over the final three innings. Brett McKinney pitched a perfect ninth to get the save, his 11th of the season.
State College’s bullpen was also dominant. Kevin Herget and Jhonny Polanco combined for five shutout innings of relief, allowing just two hits and two walks, while striking out five.
Ramos, Luke Voit and Katz each had two hits for the Spikes. Espinal had three hits and Meadows had two to pace the Jammers’ 11-hit attack.
Jimmy Reed (3-2, 2.05 ERA) will start Game 2 for the Spikes against the Jammers’ Dovydas Neverauskas (4-4, 4.01). State College was a league best 30-8 at home during the regular season.
Parking for Saturday’s playoff game is being altered by Penn State’s football game against Eastern Michigan, which kicks off at noon at Beaver Stadium.
All adjacent stadium lots will be available for Spikes game parking at no charge, but fans should allow extra time to arrive at the ballpark. Free parking will be available in the Jordan East and Stadium West lots. Spikes permit holders, VIPs and ADA will be able to access the Porter North Lot as usual. The Porter South Lot will be reserved for Spikes staff and players.
Two-way traffic flow in and out of the areas surrounding Beaver Stadium and Medlar Field at Lubrano Park is expected to be restored within two hours following the completion of the football game. Fans looking to arrive for the Spikes game between 5:30 and 6:30 are encouraged to access the stadium parking lots via Park Avenue or University Drive. Later arriving traffic, can also access the ballpark from East College Avenue to Porter Road.