UNIVERSITY PARK — The second plunking loaded the bases and brought State College manager Oliver Marmol out to the mound.
Spikes reliever Jacob Booden hit Jamestown’s Jordan Luplow in the helmet with a curveball, made an errant throw to second on a sacrifice bunt and drilled Michael Suchy in the helmet with another curve to start the seventh inning.
Booden dug himself into a no-out, bases-loaded jam with the score tied.
The right-hander walked off the mound with a brief fist pump three batters later, greeting Marmol in the dugout with the tie score still intact. Booden’s escape set the stage for the Spikes’ 3-2 win over the Jammers as Rowan Wick scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the eighth inning at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park on Saturday night.
“He dug down deep and made some tough pitches there in some tough situations in some deep counts,” Marmol said. “That was huge. That’s the game right there.”
Booden admitted he was still frustrated with his performance even though he picked up the win. He pitched a flawless eighth inning and finished with three strikeouts.
Though he didn’t make it easy, he also knew he did his job.
“I’m glad that I was able to give my team a chance to win in the later innings,” Booden said. “And that’s the job that I have. The job is to throw up zeroes and give my team on the offensive side a chance to win, and that’s what I’m happy about.
“And luckily we came out with the ‘W.’”
The Spikes scored the winning run in the eighth, taking advantage of a rough outing by Jamestown reliever Jerry Mulderig.
Mulderig walked Wick and Jake Stone to start the inning. They then advanced to second and third on an errant pickoff throw to second by Jammers catcher Taylor Gushue.
And Wick later raced home to score easily on a wild pitch that rolled to the backstop.
Spikes reliever Josh Lucas closed out the win in the ninth with his fifth save of the season. State College starting pitcher Austin Gomber worked through four scoreless innings, allowing four hits and escaping a first-inning bases-loaded jam.
“He kind of battled without his best stuff tonight, had trouble locating his fastball at times,” Marmol said of Gomber. “But he was able to make some pitches in some tough situations and got out of some mini-jams and gave us four scoreless.”
State College jumped out to a 2-0 lead when Stone doubled to drive in a run and later scored on an error in right field by Michael Fransoso trying to field Andrew Sohn’s single.
Chase Simpson’s solo homer to right-center field and Fransoso’s RBI triple evened the score in the sixth inning.
The Jammers were in prime position to take the lead in the seventh against Booden.
He hit Luplow with a curve to start the inning and sailed an attempt to get the lead runner on a sacrifice bunt into center field. He then hit Suchy with the same pitch to load the bases.
“The next guy, again, calls a curveball and what do you know, kind of slow my body down and then I get in my own head,” Booden said. “But Marmol came out and talked to me.”
Marmol’s message was simple.
“I said you got yourself into this mess, get yourself out of it,” Marmol said. “And I don’t want one of those runners touching that plate. And he did it.”
Booden said his first thought was to get a strikeout for the first out, setting up the possibility for an inning-ending double play.
He did just that when he struck out David Andriese with a fastball in a 1-2 count. He then faced a full count against Simpson and forced him to send a chopper to Stone, who fired home for the force out.
The count was full again with Kevin Ross at the plate. The crowd cheered in anticipation of the pitch.
And Booden came through, getting Ross to strikeout on a fastball to end the inning and give his team a chance win it in the final innings.
Said Booden: “Nine times out of 10, you’re not going to get out of that without giving up a run.”
Notes: Spikes shortstop Leobaldo Pina was placed on the 7-day disabled list. Marmol said Pina was injured stepping on first base in State College’s game at Batavia on Wednesday. The team is waiting on test results to see how long he’ll be out. …State College shortstop Andrew Sohn has gone 6-for-10 in his last three games and is hitting .324 on the season. … State College will finish its series against Jamestown on Sunday at 6:05 p.m. Will Anderson (1-1, 1.06) will pitch for the Spikes, while Tyler Eppler (0-0, 3.38) will be on the mound for the Jammers. … The Spikes begin a two-game series on the road against Auburn on Monday and return to Medlar Field for a six-game homestand starting Wednesday.
Follow Ryne Gery on Twitter @rgery.