Steven Farinaro made quick work of the Williamsport Crosscutters.
Farinaro dominated from the get-go, breezing through the Crosscutters and guiding the Spikes to a 5-3 win on Wednesday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
“Definitely his best outing of the year,” State College manager Johnny Rodriguez said of Farinaro, “and at the right time, too.”
State College (38-19) won its first game back from a brief All-Star break. Meanwhile, Williamsport (30-26) has lost four straight.
And a major reason why was Farinaro.
The 20-year-old right-hander threw seven innings, allowed four hits and struck out a career-high eight batters.
With the win, Farinaro (7-1) tied Connecticut’s Ryan Castellanos for the most victories in the New York-Penn League.
Farinaro can credit a lot of his success to his high work rate. He needed only 55 pitches to get through five innings, and time-wise, he finished up the top of the sixth at 8:21 p.m., exactly one hour and 15 minutes after first pitch.
Farinaro said he likes keeping the juices flowing out there.
“At the beginning of the season I was working a little bit slower, but we started working on throwing every pitch with conviction,” Farinaro said. “Keeping the tempo up and keeping your fielders in the game. ... You attack on every pitch. It becomes like a motor. You don’t even really think about your tempo.”
Farinaro went 1-2-3 in the first, second, fourth and sixth innings. Williamsport managed a single in each of the third and fifth innings, but the California hurler had no problem stranding them.
Incredibly, the seventh inning was the first time Farinaro allowed two runners on base at the same time. A pair of base hits put runners on first and second, but the righty used back-to-back strikeouts to avoid any drama.
“He had the location and was spotting his fastball down,” Rodriguez said. “And he used more of his changeup and breaking ball.”
Not too shabby
For a while, Crosscutters starter Bailey Falter was matching Farinaro.
He allowed three hits through the first four innings, and struck out three in that span, as well.
However, the Spikes broke through in the fifth.
With two outs, Tommy Edman earned an infield single to score Danny Hudzina, and Andy Young followed him up with an RBI triple smoked to the left-center gap.
Vince Jackson polished off a three-run frame with a grounder that scored Young on a fielding error.
Adding some insurance, Mick Fennell tripled in the seventh to score a run, and Edman tallied an RBI double.
It wasn’t easy, but State College’s relievers didn’t allow Farinaro’s outing to go to waste.
Connor Jones entered in relief to start the eighth inning and loaded the bases without recording an out. Despite recording back-to-back strikeouts, he allowed a two-run single to first baseman Darick Hill and an RBI base knock to Lucas Williams.
Jones was pulled in favor of Spencer Trayner, who got the Spikes out of the jam with a groundout.
Trayner closed out the ninth, too, thanks to a diving grab by Fennell in right field. After a leadoff single by Luis Encarnacion, Chandler Hall roped one to the left-center gap.
If Fennell didn’t snag it, Hall would’ve been at third with a run-scoring triple, standing there as the tying run.
But Fennell tracked it down, and Trayner finished off the rest of the inning with ease.
“Play of the year,” Rodriguez said of Fennell’s catch. “That was a huge, huge play.”
Spikes: Dewin Perez will be on the mound for State College as its three-game commuter series heads to Williamsport for a 7:05 p.m. start on Thursday. Perez (2-3, 4.15 ERA) has allowed 11 earned runs in his last 12 innings of work. However, Perez has faced the Crosscutters once this year with success — a 2 2/3-inning, scoreless relief appearance.
Crosscutters: For Williamsport, 19-year-old right-hander Adonis Medina will take the hill. Medina (4-2, 2.17 ERA) has faced State College twice this year — on June 17 he threw six shutout innings, and on July 29 he allowed seven runs (three earned).