UNIVERSITY PARK — The State College hitters were dialed in early and poor fielding didn’t help Williamsport’s chances.
Thanks to a pair of errors by the Crosscutters, the Spikes scored two runs in the first inning and never looked back as they cruised to a 9-3 New York-Penn League win.
State College (37-23) won its six straight and remained tied atop the Pinckney Division with Jamestown, which knocked off Mahoning Valley 3-1.
The Spikes pounded 15 hits and took advaantage of four errors to plate three unearned runs in the romp.
“It’s huge and it just shows that we’re really focused,”said first baseman David Washington, who walked and scored in the first. “We’re doing well at taking good at bats and really making the most of every opportunity we get.”
Washington had a solid night at the plate and went 2 for 3 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Left fielder Ronald Castillo led the onslaught with a 4 for 5 night. Over the past two games, Castillo is 6 for 10 with four RBIs and has earned the attention from his skipper with his ability to rip the ball.
“That’s really good and the thing is his hits are pretty hard,” Oliver Marmol said of Castillo, who raised his season average to .346. “He’s making solid contact. He’s taking good swings. He’s laying off the pitches out of the zone. He’s aggressive with pitches in the zone and that combination leads to that type of average right now.”
Collectively as a unit, the Spikes are getting run production from top to bottom and have thrown up some big numbers as of late. In the last two games against the Crosscutters, the Spikes scored 19 runs on 30 hits.
Marmol likes what he is seeing out of his team right now and accredits the outburst of runs paired with the good pitching as a result the club has won seven of its eight games since the All-Star break.
“They’re doing a good job. These guys are locked in, they know what’s at stake, they’re coming to the ballpark, they’re sticking to a routine and it’s showing on the field. (Tuesday) I believe we had seven hits with two strikes, so they’re just tough outs, even with the outs that we’re making. You look at [Carson] Kelly and some of the outs that he made (last night) were hard hit balls, so everything that we’re putting in play right now are [hit] pretty hard.”
The Spikes plated seven runs in the middle innings, highlighted by a five-run fourth inning in which 10 Spikes came to the plate.
With one out, Cesar Valera singled to center field and was advanced courtesy of Brett Wiley’s single to left field. After battling in a lon at-bat, Washingtonbelted a double into the center field gap, plating both Valera and Wiley to make the score 4-0 and the rout was on. Carson Kelly and Jimmy Bosco stroked RBI singles as the Spikes’ lead grew to 7-0.
That was more than enough for starter Arturo Reyes (1-2). The former Gonzaga Bulldog was on the mound for six innings and while he gave up eight hits, he surrendered just two runs in getting his first win of the season.
While he got himself in a few jams, Reyes was able to work out of them with minimal damage thanks to his ability to produce double-play grounders, Williamsport grounded into three twin-killings in the contest.
“Before the game, coaches and Luke Voit were telling me their scouting report and telling me to keep the ball low,” Reyes said. “I got a couple guys on base and then the low strikes gave me groundballs, which produced double plays and got me out of the innings quicker.”
Washington added an RBI single in the fifth and Steven Ramos had a sacrifice fly in the sixth to plate the final two Spike runs.
The Spikes will host the Crosscutters for the final time this regular season Thursday with first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m.