Extra innings have not been kind to the State College Spikes this season.
The Spikes dropped to 1-4 in in games longer than nine innings, falling to Connecticut 2-1 in 12 innings in New York-Penn League baseball action on Monday at Todd Stadium.
The reeling Spikes (33-24) fell for a season-high fifth straight game and lost for the ninth time in their last 10 games. Three of their losses during the six-game road trip to Lowell and Connecticut came in walk-off fashion.
The Tigers got their second walk-off win in the three-game sweep in the 12th.
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Derek Hill drew a leadoff walk from Tyler Bray and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Will Maddox. Bray fanned Joey Pancake and walked cleanup hitter Michael Gerber intentionally.
All-Star closer Kyle Grana replaced Bray, but Steven Fuentes lined the game-winning single to center field to end the 3 1/2-hour marathon.
Both teams had their chances to end the contest long before the 12th. The Spikes were 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position, while the Tigers were 3 for 9.
Connecticut got on the board first, thanks to a fluke double. Pancake drew a leadoff walk. Two outs later, Ben Verlander, younger brother of Detroit pitcher Justin Verlander, hit a high pop-up in the infield that the Spikes lost in the lights. The ball fell for a double as Pancake steamed around to score.
State College failed to take advantage on Darren Seferina’s leadoff triple in the sixth inning, but finally broke through to score in the eighth.
After a pair of strikeouts, Robelys Reyes drew a walk. Danny Diekroeger the followed with a double into the right-field corner. The speedy Reyes beat the throw home as the Spikes tied it at 1-1.
Both teams would have their chances from there, especially the Spikes.
In the 10th, Seferina had a one-out single and moved to second on a balk. After Reyes lined to left, the Tigers intentionally walked Diekroeger. The two Spikes baserunners then executed a double-steal to put runners and second and third, but Johan Belisario struck out Alex De Leon to end the inning.
The Spikes had an even better opportunity in the 11th. Adam Ehrlich led off with a double to left. Chase Raffield then laid down a sacrifce bunt that the Tigers threw late to third trying to get pinch-runner Brett Wiley. Brian O’Keefe then lined to short for the first out, and Collin Radack grounded to first baseman Will Maddox, who threw home to nail Wiley. With runners at first and second, pinch-hitter Nick Thompson struck out swinging.
The Spikes wasted a powerful night from their first five pitchers, who combined for 15 strikeouts. Brandon Lee whiffed five batters in his 2 1/3 innings in relief of starter Fernando Baez. Josh Lucas allowed just one hit and struck out four in 3 1/3 innings.
Connecticut’s five pitchers also had a big night, striking out 11 Spikes. Joe Jimenez (2-1) pitched the final inning, striking out two, to earn the win.
Seferina, Reyes and Erhlich each had two hits for the Spikes, who finished with eight. Maddox had two singles for the Tigers, who had seven hits.
The Spikes return home Tuesday for a three-game series with Mahoning Valley. All-Star Will Anderson (5-1, 2.22 ERA) will start for the Spikes against a yet-to-be named Scrapper.