What a difference a day makes.
The State College Spikes showed youth in Monday’s home opener, but showed resolve on the road Tuesday, outlasting the Williamsport Crosscutters 7-3 in 11 innings at Bowman Field.
Cesar Valera led the Spikes at the plate with a four-hit night, culminating with the go-ahead RBI in the 11th before a flurry of action broke the game open.
“These guys came back and battled their way through that game,” said State College manager Oliver Marmol. “They came up on top, which is nice to get that first win under their belt.”
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Valera, who went 1-for-4 in the opener, simplified his approach at the plate Tuesday.
“My only focus was to make solid contact and see the ball through,” Valera said with Marmol translating.
The shortstop stayed disciplined at the plate the day before his 21st birthday.
“That’s been one of the main focuses,” Valera said. “Just see the ball where it’s pitched and hit it that way, not zone in on one location.”
The offense might have erupted late, but it was the Spikes’ bullpen that kept State College (1-1) in the game.
The Spikes staff struck out 12 batters total.
Chris Perry made his first pro start and gave up two runs (one earned), six hits, two walks and three strikeouts in four innings of work.
Brady Adamek, Victor DeLeon, and Jeff Rauh (1-0), who got the win, combined to hold down the Cutters lineup after Perry’s exit.
The Spikes’ pen went a combined seven innings and gave up three hits, one run, a walk and nine strikeouts.
Adamek sutured the bleeding in the bottom of the fifth after Perry allowed the first two Crosscutters to reach.
The 6-foot-5 right-hander got back-to-back strikeouts and induced a pop up to escape danger.
The 23-year-old, who was an international free agent signee this year, also escaped trouble in the sixth after Andrew Knapp led the inning with a double.
Adamek went two innings, gave up just one hit and struck out two. DeLeon went three innings, gave up two hits one run and struck out four.
“Brady did a nice job there,” Marmol said. “It’s nice because he’s a first-year guy for us and to be put into that situation, keep his composure and do what he did, it gives us a whole lot of confidence and does the same for him.”
Zach Green was the unquestioned star of the game for Williamsport (1-1). Green went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs.
The Philadelphia Phillies’ third-round pick in 2012 also tied the game in the ninth with a solo home run to left off DeLeon who was cruising to that point.
However, the bullpen recovered well to keep the Spikes undefeated (5-0) against Williamsport in extra inning games all time.
Rauh didn’t allow a hit or run in two innings of work. He also struck out three.
After failing to earn their first hit until the fourth inning in the opener, the Spikes’ bats were hot from start to finish. State College never trailed in the game, scoring a run apiece in the first two innings.
By game’s end State College had 14 hits on nine singles and five doubles after failing to get an extra-base hit Monday.
Perry pitched well in his first pro start and his battery mate, Luke Voit (2-for-5, RBI) also had a good day. Voit earned his first career hit and RBI in the second when he sliced a single to left to give State College a 2-1 lead.
David Washington went 2-for-5 with two RBIs. Jimmy Bosco went 2-for-5 with two runs scored as the leadoff batter in the lineup. Matthew Young (1-for-4) earned his first professional hit.
Alex De Leon (0-for-4) drew a leadoff walk in the 11th that started the four-run game-winning rally for State College.
A heads-up play by pinch runner Steven Ramos played a major role after Bosco walked and Valera came up.
Ramos was running on the pitch that Voit grounded to short and never stopped running as the action made the Cutters scramble, leaving third base unattended.
Washington doubled to the left field gap two batters later, scoring two and breaking the game open.
State College will face Williamsport again on Wednesday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park when Jimmy Reed takes the mound in his first professional start. Josh Warner will get the start for Williamsport.