State College Spikes

Spikes baseball: State College uses 10-run third to maul Muckdogs

There was no doubt where the ball was headed, but Batavia Muckdog’s right fielder Scott Carcaise took a few token steps anyway.

David Washington — and the three State College Spikes on base — knew almost immediately.

“It was a slider coming toward the inside part of the plate,” Washington said. “And yeah, it felt good right off the bat.”

Washington’s grand slam punctuated the Spikes’ decisive — and record breaking — 10-run third inning, as State College pounded Batavia 13-2 at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

Willy Paulino (1-1) earned the win after 4 1/3 innings of relief for starter Andrew Pierce. Batavia’s Helpi Reyes (1-2) struggled to find control, gave up seven earned runs and took the loss in just two innings of work.

Washington, a 15th-round pick in 2009, went 2-for-5 and scored two runs. The home run was his first this season and the eighth grand slam in Spikes’ history.

He now also leads the team with 13 RBIs, which also ties him for second in the New York-Penn League.

“It’s nice to get that first one,” Washington said of his homer. “It’s like the monkey off the back and hopefully I can relax and swing the bat like I know I can.”

The Spikes (10-7) relentlessly hammered a beleaguered Batavia team that arrived in State College at 4:30 a.m. after a lengthy rain delay at home in a 12-2 win against Auburn Wednesday. The Spikes had little compassion, finishing with 13 hits and 11 RBIs.

Steven Ramos went 3-for-4, scored two runs and drove in two more. Bruce Caldwell went 2-for-3 and added two RBIs.

Cesar Valera continued his hot streak. After a 2-for-3 afternoon, the shortstop leads the team 22 hits and is 8-for-19 in his last five games.

The 10-run third broke the franchise record of nine runs set on August 12, 2007 in the first inning at Tri-City. The 13 runs tied home record, matching the previous marks set in a 13-0 win over Tri-City on July 16, 2008 and a 13-2 victory over Vermont on July 12, 2010.

The big inning began after Reyes hit leadoff man Alex De Leon and walked Ramos. Jimmy Bosco, Valera and Bruce Caldwell each had RBI singles and Mason Katz was hit by a pitch before Washington launched his towering drive to right to make the score 7-0.

In total, the Spikes sent 15 batters to the plate — nine before an out was recorded — and had seven hits, while Batavia made two errors, hit three batters and walked another. Ramos and Caldwell would add RBI singles in the explosion.

“You don’t want to make excuses,” said Batavia manager Angel Espada of the team’s early morning arrival for the 1 p.m. game. “I told my guys that’s part of the process and that’s minor league baseball. There’s going to be times when you have to show up and … find a way to play and go out there and compete.”

Luis Ortiz (2-for-3) and Avery Romero (2-for-4) were the multi-hit players for a Batavia team that mustered only six hits and made two errors.

After the third-inning eruption, the State College pitching staff had little worries. Paulino surrendered just one hit and two walks for his first win of the season.

“The more he went the stronger he got,” Spikes’ manager Oliver Marmol said of Paulino “He was really efficient with his pitch count and really helped us out.”

Pierce, an eighth-round pick in 2013, was efficient in his third pro start. The 6-foot-3 right-hander from the University of Southern Mississippi threw 65 pitches, 43 for strikes.

“I felt really good,” said Pierce. “I was able to get ahead early. Fastball was working, breaking ball was working really good.”

Kyle Webb relieved Paulino in the ninth and gave up the only Batavia runs.

Right-hander Juan Bautista (0-2) will start for the Spikes in Game 2 of the series at 7 p.m. Friday. The Muckdogs will send left-hander Jarlin Garcia (0-1).