State College Spikes beat Auburn Doubledays, clinch Pinckney Division crown

Instead of coming from behind, State College jumped on Auburn early and held off the Doubledays to clinch first place in the Pinckney division and the team’s first trip to the New York-Penn League playoffs.

The Spikes (46-25) continue to receive significant contributions throughout the lineup, as Michael Schulze’s 4-for-5 night netted his fifth multi-hit game in six tries.

The State College shortstop subbed for regular starter Cesar Valera and is now 15-for-23 (.652) during that span.

Steven Ramos went 3-for-5 and improved his average to .362, tops in the NY-PL.

With the victory, starter Kevin Herget became the first Spikes’ pitcher to start a season 7-0. In 2007, Tony Watson began the season 6-0. Batavia’s Justin Jackson (7-1) and Aberdeen’s Sebastian Vader (7-3) are the only other pitchers with seven wins, but Herget is the only one undefeated.

A 39th-round pick in June, Herget struck out seven, gave up four hits and two earned runs in six innings. Mitch Harris pitched an inning, gave up a hit and earned his first save.

Starter John Simms (0-3) gave up ten hits and six earned runs in defeat for the Doubledays.

Auburn (24-47) finished with six hits and went 1-for-6 with runners in position.

After 19 opportunities with runners in scoring position Friday night against Jamestown, the Spikes went 5-for-16 against Auburn and finished with 16 hits total.

The Spikes needed that offense to overcome four errors.

Ronald Castillo and Jimmy Bosco each went 2-for-5, while Matt Young went 2-for-4. Every starter except Mason Katz finished the game with hits.

Castillo and Schulze each knocked in a pair of runs for State College, which leads the NY-PL in RBIs (302), slugging percentage (.399), hits (677), runs scored (341) and batting average (.280).

The Spikes got to work in the first inning when a Caron Kelly fielder’s choice scored Schulze, who singled and was moved to third by a Luke Voit hit and a Castillo ground out.

Two more runs followed in the second after Bosco doubled to open the frame and later scored on a Young single.

After Young was picked off at first, Ramos started another rally with a single and a swipe of second. He later scored on another Schulze single to make it 3-0.

Schulze and Castillo authored a three spot in the fourth when Schulze singled home Young and moved Ramos, who singled, to third. A Castillo single plated Ramos and Schulze.

The Doubledays touched Herget for two in the home half and put two more unearned runs on Chase Brookshire in the eighth.

Throwing errors by Katz and Kelly and a passed ball by Voit helped Auburn in the inning.

Harris locked down the ninth for State College and lowered his team-best ERA to 0.86.

Juan Bautista (1-5) gets the start on Sunday as the Spikes and Doubledays conclude the two-game series. Robert Orlan (1-5) will start for Auburn.