Pitchers hate to give them up, while hitters chase after them lustily.
Two-out hits helped State College earn a 5-2 win over Batavia Saturday, taking the series in front of 2,737 at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
“That’s the key for me,” said Spikes’ manager Oliver Marmol after the game. “You’re going to win or lose a lot of ball games whenever you give up two-out hits.”
Carson Kelly, Ronald Castillo and David Washington drove in four of the Spikes’ five runs with two outs. On the flip side, the State College pitching staff avoided a similar fate.
Chris Perry (2-0) earned the win for State College (11-8) and lowered his ERA to 1.61. Trevor Williams (0-1) took the loss for Batavia (8-9) after giving up four runs in the first.
Mason Katz began the scoring with a sacrifice fly that plated Jimmy Bosco (1-for-3, triple), who led the game with a walk. Kelly later drove in two runs with a double to left-center to make it 3-0.
Castillo, (2-for-3) in his first action since missing nine games after tweaking his left shoulder June 26 at Mahoning Valley, was the Spikes’ only multi-hit player. He also extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single that scored Kelly in the first.
The 6-foot-5 left fielder was a welcome sight for Marmol.
“It’s nice to just see him on deck and then back in that box,” Marmol said of Castillo, whose .410 batting average leads the team. “His presence is enough.”
Marmol said the team would reevaluate the shoulder and determine a plan for Sunday’s game at 6:05 p.m. against Mahoning Valley at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Washington (1-for-3) hit a towering home run, his second in three games, in the third off Muckdogs’ reliever Justin Jackson. Washington’s 15 RBIs are tied for second best in the New York-Penn League behind Yeicok Calderon’s 17 for Staten Island.
Jackson, who pitched well in relief and allowed Batavia to close the gap, left a change-up over the plate that Washington drilled to center.
“I was making sure I stayed back and let the pitch (come to me),” Washington said. “I was deep in the count so I wanted to see the ball and I was able to put a good swing on it.”
That was enough for Perry, who went six innings, scattered six hits, struck out five and allowed just one earned run. Perry pitched well, though he couldn’t quite figure Batavia’s Austin Dean, who went 3-for-4.
However, Perry escaped trouble in the fifth after catcher Luke Voit dropped a swinging third strike and delivered a poor throw to first, which allowed Carlos Lopez to reach.
After a JT Riddle double scored Lopez, Perry regained his composure to get Coco Johnson (0-for-3) to ground weakly to first.
“He felt like he sped up a little bit in (the fifth),” Marmol said of Perry. “I feel like nothing really affects the kid and when it does he’s good enough to slow down, back off a little bit and get back at it.”
The State College bullpen was stout yet again. Jhonny Polanco struck out three in 1 2/3 innings in relief of Perry. And Brady Adamek got the four-out save, his third of the season, after getting the Spikes out of trouble in the eighth and then a 1-2-3 ninth.