As if the first State College Spikes playoff game in franchise history wasn’t going to be exciting enough, the Jamestown Jammers added something extra in the regular season finale Wednesday.
With the Jammers ahead 8-2 in the top of the seventh inning, Carson Kelly led off the inning for the Spikes and was hit on a 3-2 pitch by relief pitcher Henry Hirsch.
Hirsch was ejected by home plate ump Erich Bacchus along with his manager, Dave Turgeon. State College manager Oliver Marmol and hitting coach Ramon Ortiz were also ejected.
Both dugouts and bullpens emptied and words were exchanged.
Jamestown went on to win the game — which had no meaning for the Spikes — and clinched the New York-Penn League wild card spot.
The teams will meet again Friday in game one of the NY-PL semifinal series at Russell E. Diethrick Jr. Park. Game 2 starts at 7:35 p.m. on Saturday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
After Wednesday’s heated finish, Spikes manager Oliver Marmol won’t let his team change its approach.
“We’ll just do what we’ve always done,” Marmol said. “We’ve been successful doing that. Last night was a matter of guys having each other’s backs, which is something you like to see.”
The Spikes dominated the regular season series with the Jammers 8-2, including a pivotal three-game sweep at home last week with the Spikes’ lead in the Pinckney Division at just one game.
Statistically, the only team the Spikes hit harder in 10 games than Jamestown (43-32) was last-place Auburn (26-49).
The Spikes batted .257 with 54 runs scored on 87 hits, nine home runs and 48 RBIs against the Jammers.
Against the Doubledays, the Spikes hit .305 with 62 runs scored on 109 hits, four home runs and 56 RBIs.
The nine home runs were the most against any opponent this season — with none from team-leader David Washington, who finished tied for fourth in the league with 10.
Steven Ramos, the first Spike to win the NY-PL batting crown, hit just .235 against the Jammers. Mahoning Valley (.250) is the only other division team Ramos did not hit at least .300 against.
Washington, the Spikes’ leader in homers and RBIs, also struggled against Jamestown. The league-leader in runs batted in hit just .206 with six RBIs in 10 games played.
Jimmy Bosco on the other hand ripped Jammers’ pitching this season. In seven games, Bosco went 13-for-29 (.448) with four doubles and eight runs scored.
But Marmol said none of that matters in the post season.
“It means nothing,” he said. “It’s a clean slate. The playoffs are different than the regular season. We’re playing for keeps and each pitch, each inning and each out is very important.”
Similar offensive production would certainly bolster an already stingy pitching staff that led the NY-PL with a 2.80 ERA.
State College pitchers had a 2.83 ERA against Jamestown. It’s lowest against a division opponent was 2.11 in 10 games against Batavia.
Most notable against the Jammers was Andrew Pierce (2-2), who made two starts, allowed only an unearned run and gave up three hits in 11 innings.
On the flip side, relief pitcher Jeff Rauh — the Spikes leader in saves with five — gave up eight earned runs, 12 hits and walked five in 4 1/3 innings for a 16.62 ERA against Jamestown.
Right-hander Nick Petree (3-1, 1.62 ERA) will get the start for the Spikes in Game 1. In two appearances against the Jammers this season, Petree is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA on 14 hits and seven strikeouts.
The four runs he allowed Jamestown on Aug. 29 were the most he’s given up all season, and also the first time he allowed more than one run in a game.
A Jamestown starter has not been named.