State College Spikes

State College Spikes score 3 late runs to win home opener

State College’s Tommy Edman hits a double during the season home opener against the Williamsport Crosscutters at Medlar Field on Saturday, June 18, 2016.
State College’s Tommy Edman hits a double during the season home opener against the Williamsport Crosscutters at Medlar Field on Saturday, June 18, 2016. adrey@centredaily.com

Tommy Edman can’t remember the last time he was the designated hitter.

He knows it wasn’t during his three-year Stanford career. This past season, Edman started every game at shortstop for the Cardinal and was named to the All-Pac-12 Defensive Team.

Edman made his professional debut Saturday night as the State College Spikes designated hitter and went 4 for 5 to pace the offense in a 6-3 win over the Williamsport Crosscutters at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

“That’s kind of funny that my first game is as a DH,” Edman said. “I’m definitely not used to having that role.”

The Spikes got in the win column in their second game of the season, thanks to a three-run bottom of the eighth inning. State College pulled even in the sixth on RBI singles by Bladimil Franco and Ryan McCarvel to set up the decisive inning.

State College reliever Dewin Perez pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings to earn the win. Spikes starting pitcher Carson Cross allowed three runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Edman — the St. Louis Cardinals’ sixth-round pick in this year’s MLB Draft — came to the plate in a tie game with bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the eighth.

Edman, a switch-hitter, was 4 for 4 with two doubles at that point.

Williamsport brought in right-handed reliever Jose Nin to face the Spikes’ leadoff hitter. Edman attacked the first pitch of the at-bat before taking a pitch down in the zone to even the count 1-1. He then fouled off four straight pitches before missing a high fastball to strike out.

“I had seen those high fastballs,” Edman said of the pitch sequence during the at-bat, “so I kind of chased a little bit more out of the zone.”

Edman will split time with Jose Martinez at shortstop this season.

Martinez followed Edman in the lineup.

At the start of Martinez’s at-bat in the bottom of the eighth, State College and Williamsport were tied 3-3. By the end of it, the Spikes led 6-3.

Nin nearly hit Martinez in an 0-2 count with a wild pitch that allowed Danny Martin to score the go-ahead run. Martinez battled Nin before another wild pitch brought in Ryan McCarvel. Martinez then sent a sacrifice fly to center field to drive in Mick Fennell and make it 6-3.

Perez pitched a scoreless ninth inning to seal the win.

The left-hander was making his first relief appearance since 2013 in the Gulf Coast League.

He made 31 starts the last two seasons, including 13 for the Spikes in 2014. He went 6-2 with a 3.68 ERA that year.

He’s starting this season in the bullpen.

“He’s a buffer,” Spikes manager Johnny Rodriguez said. “He can long relieve and he can close games. He can set up games.”

Edman started his pro career by chopping a single over the third baseman in the bottom of the first inning against Williamsport left-hander Ranger Suarez.

After Williamsport took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third, the Stanford product helped the Spikes erase the deficit in the bottom half.

Fennell reached on an error to start the inning and moved to third when Edman drilled a 2-1 pitch to the right field wall. Fennell then scored when Martinez grounded out to third base on the next pitch.

Edman put State College in position to score again in the bottom of the fifth.

With the Spikes trailing 3-1, Edman crushed a pitch toward the 410-foot mark in left-center field — the deepest part of the park — and thought he had a triple.

But the ball bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double.

Edman said he could focus more on his at-bats as the designated hitter, learning the tendencies of the pitchers and visualizing his trips to the plate.

“Obviously it worked out well,” Edman said.

A groundout and two flyouts left him stranded at second as the Crosscutters maintained their two-run lead in the fifth.

Edman took his first swings from the left side in the sixth after Williamsport made its first pitching change.

The Crosscutters replaced Suarez with right-hander Guery Ortiz.

He singled up the middle to improve to 4 for 4.

“This kid is smart,” Rodriguez said. “I had Casey Turgeon … in Johnson City — smart. This kid’s even smarter.”

The Spikes start a three-game against Hudson Valley on Sunday.

Ryne Gery: 814-231-4679, @rgery

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