State College Spikes shut out Batavia for fourth win of season

rgery@centredaily.comJune 18, 2014 

— State College manager Oliver Marmol called Luis Perdomo an exciting kid with a live arm after another Spikes’ victory.

The Spikes right-hander fit Marmol’s description from the start Tuesday night, relying on his mid-90s fastball to mow down the Batavia Muckdogs in the first inning.

Batavia second baseman Mason Davis went after a first-pitch fastball and flew out to right field. Muckdogs shortstop Aaron Blanton saw four straight fastballs before waving at a breaking ball on the outside part of the plate to strike out. Carlos Duran then chopped the first pitch he saw to second base.

Seven pitches. Three outs.

Perdomo zipped through six innings in 72 pitches, allowing six hits and striking out six to lead the Spikes past Batavia 8-0 at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Perdomo carried the fast pace past the first inning and didn’t give up an extra-base hit in the dominant outing. Three State College relievers combined to finish the shutout.

“It was easy to call the game for him tonight,” State College catcher Brian O’Keefe said. “He had all his stuff working. He kept guys off balance the entire night, and it was honestly fun. We had a good tempo out there and we were on the same page for most of the night, and he threw a great ball game.”

Rowan Wick powered the Spikes’ offense once again. Wick hit his fifth homer of the season and finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Robelys Reyes drove in two runs, and O’Keefe recorded an RBI single in a two-run fourth that extended the Spikes' (4-1) lead over Batavia (3-2).

Wick continued his torrid start in his first at bat in the second inning.

One night after his second two-home run game this season, he knocked a solo shot into the right-field bleachers, landing among a handful of fans.

It was his fifth homer in five games, a pace that’s been fun for his teammates to watch from the dugout.

He improved his batting average to .529 with his three hits.

“My first at bat, I was just looking fastball,” Wick said. “And then after that I kind of knew they weren’t going to throw me anything good, so I just kind of changed my approach to stay up the middle.”

After working a full count, Wick struck out looking against Batavia left-handed reliever Felix Ramos with two on in the fourth.

“I thought 120 percent he was throwing me a curveball there,” Wick said. “I was not looking fastball.”

O’Keefe gave the Spikes some breathing room later in the inning.

The Spikes catcher came to the plate with two outs and teammates on second and third. O’Keefe sent a chopper deep into the hole, and both runs scored when Batavia shortstop Aaron Blanton’s throw to first went wide and skipped away.

O’Keefe’s single scored one. The throwing error pushed the State College lead to 3-0.

“I’m just glad to get the first one out of the way finally,” O’Keefe said. “The guy made a good pitch, and it was just one of those balls that had eyes and got through and found the right spot.

“And they compounded the mistake, had an overthrow and the next thing you know, we tacked on two more.”

It was more than enough for the Spikes’ pitching staff.

Perdomo went six strong innings, and the bullpen limited Batavia to two hits in the final three innings.

Jeff Barkley got two quick outs in the seventh before walking two and allowing a single to load the bases. But he got a lineout to end the inning and keep the shutout alive.

Kyle Grana pitched a scoreless eighth, and Trey Nielsen finished it in the ninth.

“I’m still learning a lot of these guys,” O’Keefe said. “I just got here this past week, but it’s certainly fun to learn these guys and catch these guys. Some of them have been here for a little bit, they know what they want to throw in certain counts, and it makes my job a hell of a lot easier when they’re throwing strikes and pounding the strike zone, keeping guys off balance.”

Perdomo did just that to set the tone for the Spikes.

All he needed was his fastball, reaching 97 miles per hour, and breaking ball to dominate.

“When he’s under control and contains himself a little bit,” Marmol said, “that’s what you see right there — a power arm with some exciting off-speed stuff.”

Notes: Outfielder Brian Vigo-Suarez was placed on the 7-day disabled list. Vigo-Suarez started the season opener in left field. Marmol said the team will have a better idea of his injury on Wednesday. … Pitchers Steven Farinaro, Ian McKinney and Dailyn Martinez along with infielders Rafael Media and Chris Rivera were sent to Rookie-level Johnson City on Tuesday. … Farinaro, McKinney and Martinez started on the mound for the Spikes in the final three games of their series against Williamsport. … Pitchers Austin Gomber, Danny Poncedeleon and Cody Schumacher, infielder Danny Diekroeger and outfielder Chase Raffield were activated on the Spikes’ roster. All five were drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals earlier this month. … Thompson has now driven in a run in all five games for State College. … The Spikes’ series with Batavia continues Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. at Medlar Field.

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