Auburn Doubledays reliever Deion Williams faced just five State College Spikes batters before he was yanked Thursday night.
The right-hander started the sixth inning with the Doubledays leading State College by two runs. As Williams walked off the mound, glove in his throwing hand, that lead was down to one and the bases were loaded.
He’d thrown 20 pitches and managed to get one out.
Doubledays reliever Chase McDowell proceeded to allow a two-run single on his first pitch to Danny Diekroeger that gave the Spikes their first lead of the game. The Spikes pounded the Doubledays bullpen, scoring 13 runs in two innings off three relievers in a 14-3 win Thursday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
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State College’s magic number to clinch the New York Penn League’s Pinckney Division title is now at three.
Brandon Lee pitched three scoreless innings of relief to earn the win.
The Spikes finished with 16 hits on the night and 31 for the two-game series. All nine Spikes recorded a hit Thursday night. Jake Stone, Brian O’Keefe and Collin Radack each had three hits to pace the balanced effort.
“We were able to string together some pretty quality at-bats,” Spikes manager Oliver Marmol said. “And the guys just got some pitches up in the zone and hit ‘em really hard. I mean they did some damage tonight.”
Williams took the loss after allowing four runs in 1/3 of an inning. McDowell gave up three runs in 2/3 of an inning, and David Ramos allowed six runs on seven hits in one inning.
Auburn turned to catcher Kyle Bacak to pitch the eighth inning after State College lit up the three relievers for 13 runs combined in the sixth and seventh innings. Bacak retired the Spikes in order.
State College sent 11 batters to the plate in both the sixth and seventh innings.
“It was pretty awesome,” Radack said. “It just kind of shows the kind of team we have. When we’re down, we’re going to fight and then even when we’re up we’re still going to fight. I think it just shows when we lock in, we’re definitely a tough team to get out.”
Auburn starter Drew Van Orden limited State College to one run in five innings. Williams then took the mound for the sixth with the Doubledays leading 3-1.
He hit O’Keefe to start the inning before. He then walked Chase Raffield, and allowed an RBI single to Radack to cut Auburn’s lead to 3-2.
Kenny Peoples-Walls laid down a bunt that led to a force out at third — the only out Williams would get before leaving with the bases loaded.
After Diekroeger singled off McDowell, Doubledays catcher Adderling Ruiz dropped a throw home, allowing Robelys Reyes to slide in safely and push State College ahead 5-3.
Stone then sent a two-run double to center field, and O’Keefe singled in another run to complete a seven-run sixth inning.
O’Keefe went 3 for 3 and reached base five times as the sixth hitter in the lineup, and Radack went 3 for 5 with two doubles as the No. 8 hitter.
“When you can get production from the bottom of your lineup the way we’ve been having the last couple games, like yesterday 6 through 9 has 10 hits,” Marmol said. “These guys, they’re preparing well. They’re executing their plan, they’re sticking with their approach and they’re doing a very nice job.”
Radack kept the State College offense rolling in the seventh, leading off with a double. He doubled again to score the Spikes’ 14th and final run of the game in his second at-bat of the inning.
“Sometimes it’s kind of hard to concentrate,” Radack said. “I think my last at-bat, I definitely should have walked. I swung at two pitches that weren’t strikes. When you’re up by a lot of runs, sometimes it’s hard to stay in your approach and do those little things, but I was definitely happy to get a good pitch to hit with a full count and scratch across another hit.”
The Spikes’ lineup produced from top to bottom in the dominant win.
“It’s fun to watch,” Marmol said. “It really is. Because these guys work hard. We went through a lull there, we didn’t have a whole lot of offense so it’s good to be able to see those guys swing the bats and round those bases and touch home plate.”
Notes: O’Keefe was hit twice Thursday, raising his season total to 14. Tyler Gaffney holds the Spikes record from 2012 when he was hit 20 times. … State College starts a five-game road trip at Jamestown on Friday. After a three-game series against the Jammers, the Spikes will travel to Mahoning Valley for a two-game series. … State College’s Daniel Poncedeleon (1-3, 3.15) is set to start on the mound Friday.