The State College Spikes needed just one hit in their decisive four-run fifth inning against the Auburn Doubledays.
Auburn miscues keyed the State College rally that proved to be the difference in the Spikes’ 5-3 win Thursday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. State College came away with the victory despite having three hits as a team.
“That’s the good side of baseball,” said Darren Seferina, who finished 2 for 3 with an RBI. “You get (three) hits and you still come out winning, score five runs. That’s baseball. It’s pretty cool.”
Robelys Reyes recorded the third hit with a one-run single in the seventh inning to give the Spikes an insurance run.
State College starting pitcher Will Anderson struggled through a 36-pitch first inning and went four innings, allowing two runs on five hits. Reliever Jeff Rauh (4-0) pitched three innings for the win, and Kyle Grana earned his fourth save of the season.
The Spikes (28-12) scored four unearned runs in the fifth against Auburn starting pitcher James Bourque, who took the loss after allowing two hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Alex De Leon and Jake Stone each struck out three times, and State College finished with eight strikeouts as a team.
“The guys that they threw against us didn’t have a whole lot of strikeouts going into the game, so that’s what was surprising about it,” Spikes manager Oliver Marmol said. “Our guys swung threw some good pitches in the zone. Most of them weren’t chasing out of the zone. A lot of them were called third strikes for Stone and De Leon swung through some today.”
The Spikes’ first hit came in the fourth inning on a leadoff double by Seferina.
But State College failed to capitalize and went into the fifth inning trailing 2-0. The Doubledays (18-21) took a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI single by Austin Davidson and went ahead by two runs in the fourth after Jeff Gardner tripled and scored on a single by Clay Williamson.
Auburn (18-21) fell apart and watched its lead disappear in the bottom of the fifth.
Kenny Peoples-Walls drew a walk and Brian O’Keefe was drilled in the back to start the rally with one out. Auburn first baseman Jose Marmolejos-Diaz then booted a chopper by Chase Raffield to load the bases.
Doubledays second baseman Bryan Mejia committed an error on the next play to allow the Spikes’ first run to score.
State College’s Jhohan Acevedo hit a chopper to Mejia, who tried to tag Raffield in the base path before he fielded the ball cleanly. The bases remained loaded for Seferina, who dropped a bloop single into left field.
“Leadoff batter, we have to get on base and set the path throughout the lineup so I get on base and then get some runs and stuff,” Seferina said. “And I was just trying to make some contact and then found some holes and it dropped for a base hit.”
O’Keefe scored from third on Seferina’s single, and Marmol held Raffield at third.
But when Auburn left fielder Jeff Gardner bobbled the ball, Marmol tried to send Raffield home and Acevedo was already on his way to third.
Gardner threw behind Acevedo to second, giving Raffield enough time to beat the throw home to push the Spikes ahead 3-2.
“That was big,” Marmol said. “Seferina hitting, the left fielder usually plays in a decent amount, bobbled it so it was kind of too close to send him initially. Once he bobbled it, you try to send him. He was looking down. Once he picked me up, it was too late, they threw to second, it was just a mess but we came out on the better part of that mess.”
Reyes followed the wild sequence with a groundout to score the fourth run of the inning.
That inning, featuring just one hit, provided all the run support the State College bullpen needed in the last four innings.
“It was a grind,” Marmol said. “… It’s nice to come out with the win. There’s some areas there for improvement for sure.”
Notes: State College continues its series against Auburn at 7:05 p.m. Friday. Dewin Perez (2-1, 3.34) will start for State College, while Austen Williams (0-1, 4.05) will be on the mound for Auburn. … Stone’s on-base streak came to an end at 20 games after he went 0 for 4. Rowan Wick holds the State College record at 26 straight games. … O’Keefe has now been hit by a pitch eight times this season. Tyler Gaffney holds the Spikes record of 20 set in 2012.