Oliver Marmol was reluctant to say his hitters missed opportunities after the State College Spikes fell 5-2 to the Williamsport Crosscutters on Tuesday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Instead, the Spikes manager pointed to blunders on the basepaths that rendered hitting futile in key late-game situations.
“Not so much missed opportunities (at the plate) but bad base running,” said Marmol, who celebrated his 27th birthday Tuesday. “When you make that many mistakes on the bases and give away outs you lose ball games, and that’s what happened tonight.”
The Spikes outhit the Crosscutters 10-8 and held a 5-4 advantage in doubles, but State College ended both the seventh and eighth innings with runners thrown out at second base trying to stretch singles into doubles.
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Dylan Cozens went 2-for-4 with a two-run home run in a five-run sixth for the Crosscutters. Andrew Pullin also went 2-for-4.
Cesar Valera and Bruce Caldwell each went 2-for-4 and were the Spikes’ only multi-hit players. David Washington and Steven Ramos drove in the only State College runs.
Valera is 12-for-23 against the Cutters this season.
Yacksel Rios (1-0) got the win for Williamsport (8-6), which leapfrogged the Spikes into second place in the New York-Penn League’s Pinckney division behind the Jamestown Jammers (8-5).
Rios spelled Jon Prosinski, who started and gave up one run on four hits, a walk and three strikeouts in four innings of work.
Ben O’Shea (2-1) picked up the loss after facing just one batter over the minimum before getting touched for four runs in the sixth. Fatigue seemed to stall the 6-foot-5, 255-pound lefty in the Crosscutters’ pivotal five-run sixth.
“I wasn’t really feeling myself tonight so I kind of just had to use everything I had,” said O’Shea, a 21st-round pick in 2010. “And if somehow they’d get on it seemed I’d just make one pitch and it seemed everything was clicking. And then I just got tired toward that last inning.”
Two timely double plays ended two of O’Shea’s early innings, but the Cutters used five straight hits in the sixth to blow the game open.
Malquin Canelo led the inning with a double that was followed by two more two-baggers, a single and then the Cozens’ homer off Jhonny Polanco, who relieved O’Shea.
Cozens was out on his front foot but still had enough power to reach the stands in right field.
“He’s a guy that has the most power on our team,” said Cutters’ manager Nelson Prada. “We expect for him to do that a little more often.”
It was a welcome sight for Prada, whose team was baffled early by O’Shea.
“We just made adjustments after the guys see him a couple times,” Prada said. “I have to give the credit to O’Shea for the first five innings and then credit to my guys in the sixth for making that adjustment.”
In contrast, the Spikes were overzealous on the bases and that took the bats from the hands of hitters.
When Steven Ramos singled home Carson Kelly, who led off the seventh with a double, the Spikes cut the deficit to 5-2. However, when Ramos was thrown out at second, the inning — and the rally — ended.
Then a Mason Katz two-out single in the eighth would have sent Valera, who singled earlier, to third with Washington up next. But when Katz was easily thrown out trying to reach second, yet another threat ended.
“Doesn’t matter if you hit singles and get thrown out at second trying to advance,” Marmol said. “You are no longer on base, therefore you can’t score. We made tons of mistakes on the bases, therefore we deserved to lose that game.”
Mitch Harris continues to come along in the bullpen. He threw two more scoreless innings and has yet to allow an earned run. His fastball, which he has been trying to get back in the 90s, touched 92 mph.
The Spikes and Crosscutters will meet again at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Bowman Field in Williamsport to conclude the three-game series. Drew Anderson (2-0) will pitch for the Cutters and Nick Petree (0-1) will go for the Spikes.