It has been a memorable season for the State College Spikes, and the team added another highlight night Sunday.
With a season-high 5,317 filling Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, a sparkling pitching performance and some timely offense kept the Spikes tied for first place in the New York-Penn League’s Pinckney Division.
Jimmy Reed and Chase Brookshire combined on a three-hit shutout as State College dropped the Batavia Muckdogs 4-0 to earn its 16th win in the last 21 games, and 11th in the last 12 at home.
The Jamestown Jammers beat the Auburn Doubledays 7-1 on Sunday to keep pace atop the division with 18 games left in the regular season.
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The game began a long stretch in which the Spikes (34-23) will not have to leave Central Pennsylvania. Through Aug. 30, the team has 11 home games — including a doubleheader against Jamestown on Aug. 29 with the completion of a game suspended earlier in the season by rain — and the other three contests are at Williamsport.
Steven Ramos, who entered the game leading the league in hitting, upped his average to .359 with a 2-for-4 night, stroking an RBI triple in the ninth inning. Alex De Leon also tripled in State College’s eight-hit night.
Wildert Pujols had two of the three hits for the Muckdogs, who fell four games behind the Spikes and Jammers in the division standings.
Reed (3-2) surrendered just two hits over six innings, walking three and striking out two for the win. It was the team’s fourth shutout of the season and second in three nights.
Brookshire, in his first appearance since July 26 after being sidelined by an ankle injury, allowed only one hit and no walks with four strikeouts over the final three innings.
The Spikes needed the strong mound effort to prevail in the pitchers’ duel that helped the game finish in a tidy 2 hours, 17 minutes.
Batavia starter Ryan Newell did all he could to keep the Muckdogs in contention with a performance perhaps even better. After surrendering three hits and two runs in the first inning, he retired 19 consecutive Spikes — a stadium record.
He pitched 6 2/3 innings, struck out nine, walked one and gave up the four hits. Throwing 82 pitches, 61 for strikes, he was chased by De Leon’s triple off the wall in left-center field in the seventh. Newell’s strikeout total matched the record for one pitcher in a game at Medlar Field.
State College scratched out a pair of runs before being silenced by Newell. Ramos began the frame with a single and was moved to third on a Brett Wiley single. After a walk to David Washington to load the bases, Mason Katz singled to center field to plate the two runs.
Reid Redman replaced Newell in the seventh after De Leon’s triple and after ending the threat that inning, gave up two runs and four hits in the eighth. Ronald Castillo began the inning with a single and scored on the Ramos triple to the right field corner. A Cesar Valera single then brought Ramos home to give the Spikes a little more of a cushion.
It was more than enough for Brookshire with his 1-2-3 ninth inning, all by strikeout, to lock up his second save.
Notes: The teams complete their brief series at 7:05 p.m. Monday. Right-hander Kevin Herget (5-0) is schedule to pitch for the Spikes against Batavia lefty Jarlin Garcia (1-1). ... The crowd was the largest to see a home game since the 2011 season finale. ... The game featured the “Cowboy Monkey Rodeo,” with a team of monkeys and dogs corralling goats during and after the game. Near the conclusion of the postgame show, one of the goats escaped from the top of the group’s truck and the handlers needed several minutes to catch the stray animal.