State College reliever Josh Lucas grimaced as the go-ahead run made its way to home plate.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Lucas drilled Batavia’s Brad Haynal to give the Muckdogs the lead in the top of the 10th inning. The inning started with a throwing error and bunt single to set up the go-ahead run. It continued with a fielding error and ended with State College facing a five-run deficit.
The Spikes allowed five unearned runs in the decisive inning of their 6-1 loss Friday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Lucas took the loss, allowing all five runs and three hits.
“You can’t make errors and non-plays and hit batters and expect to get out of an inning without them scoring,” Spikes manager Oliver Marmol said.
The loss snapped State College’s four-game winning streak. In those four games, Spikes pitchers allowed just five runs and recorded a pair of shutouts.
“They’re sticking to a plan and they’re executing it,” Marmol said. “They’re making good pitches when they need to. They’re living down in the zone. They’re locating their fastball on both sides of the plate. When you do this at that level, you have success.”
Starting pitcher Will Anderson and reliever Joe Scanio combined to give State College another strong effort Friday. Anderson allowed one run on six hits in six innings, and Scanio gave up one hit in three scoreless innings.
Anderson kept the ball down and relied on shortstop Robelys Reyes throughout the night. Reyes fielded seven ground balls and a line drive for outs in the first six innings and made 12 plays in the game.
“He located his fastball, kept those guys off balance, got a lot of ground balls,” Marmol said of Anderson. “Reyes was really busy over there at short today. (Anderson) kept that sinker down and induced some soft contact.”
The Spikes (45-28) took the early lead after Alex De Leon scored on a wild pitch by Batavia starter Michael Mader in the second inning. Batavia (33-40) answered with Haynal’s one-run single in the top of the third.
From there, it was a pitcher’s duel.
Mader allowed one run on two hits in five innings, and Muckdogs reliever Alex Carreras pitched three scoreless innings.
The Spikes had an opportunity to walk away with the win in the bottom of the ninth.
Nick Thompson and De Leon opened the inning with back-to-back singles. Batavia catcher Felix Castillo walked to the mound to talk to reliever Josh Hodges with State College’s Jake Stone coming to the plate.
But Stone hit into a double play, advancing pinch runner Jhohan Acevedo to third. Luis Cruz then grounded out to end the threat.
“Stone, (we) needed a better at bat out of him,” Marmol said. “Same situation that’s the guy I want up, so it’s going to happen.”
The Spikes fell apart in the top of the 10th.
Danny Diekroeger fielded a sharp ground ball and made an errant throw to first, allowing Batavia’s Castillo to reach second. Muckdogs right fielder Ryan Aper then popped a bunt toward the third base side of the mound, and Diekroeger took a step back before fielding the ball.
The hesitation allowed Aper to beat the throw for an infield single. After a groundout, an intentional walk loaded the bases. A pop fly to Diekroeger in the infield moved the Spikes one out away from escaping the jam.
But Lucas hit Haynal to push Batavia ahead 2-1.
Batavia went ahead by two runs after an error by Wiley, and the Muckdogs added three more runs on two singles.
Notes: Hudson Valley lost to Connecticut 5-4 Friday night, keeping the Spikes within one game of the top seed in the New York-Penn League playoffs. Tri-City beat Brooklyn 3-2 to move into a tie with State College for the second seed. The playoffs begin Wednesday. … Brooklyn holds a one-game lead over Connecticut for the wild card and fourth spot in the playoffs. … Spikes pitcher Cody Schumacher was placed on the 7-day disabled list Friday. … State College finishes its series against Batavia at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. Fernando Baez (2-2, 3.89) will be on the mound for the Spikes, while Scott Squier (4-2, 2.05) is set to pitch for the Muckdogs.