Jose Martinez got to the ground ball up the middle and threw to first as he stepped on second.
The State College Spikes shortstop was looking to complete an inning-ending double play to get pitcher Bryan Dobzanski out of a bases-loaded jam unscathed. But he rushed the throw, forcing 6-foot-3 first baseman Ryan McCarvel to lay out toward right field while trying to keep his foot on the bag.
McCarvel couldn’t salvage the play, allowing the first two runs of the game to score on the ground ball by Hudson Valley second baseman Blake Butera in the fourth.
“There’s a time you got to show it off,” Spikes manager Johnny Rodriguez said, highlighting the need for Martinez to make a strong throw, “and that’s the one because it keeps it 0-0 and maybe momentum doesn’t shift that way.”
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The Spikes couldn’t erase that deficit and fell 4-0 on Tuesday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
State College (2-3) finished with four hits one night after managing just one hit in a shutout loss to the Renegades.
Penn State product Jim Haley finished 2 for 4 and scored a run for Hudson Valley (3-2).
Dobzanski allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings to take the loss.
“He did his job,” Rodriguez said.
The Spikes were sharp defensively before and after Martinez’s rushed throw in the fourth.
Martinez showed his range on a ground ball up the middle, making a diving stop and throwing to first from the ground to end the fourth inning. In the sixth, he slid into the hole between short and third and got the force out at second.
“He made a lot of plays,” Rodriguez said. “He made two web gems, really nice plays.”
But his mistake put the Spikes in a 2-0 hole.
After Haley drew a walk and Jonathan Popadics singled to start the fourth, Oscar Rojas reached on a bunt single to load the bases. With one out, Butera sent a ground ball toward second base and Martinez’s throw sailed wide enough to prevent an inning-ending double play.
Martinez had a chance to get his team on the board in the bottom of the fifth. With the bases loaded and two outs, he lined out softly to Butera.
It was State College’s only chance to get back in the game. The Spikes had three of their four hits in the inning — a single by Chris Rivera, followed by back-to-back infield singles by Anthony Ray and Danny Martin.
State College left fielder Vince Jackson, who had the team’s fourth hit, credited Hudson Valley’s pitching the last two nights.
“The pitchers have been really good we’ve been seeing,” Jackson said. “But that’s how it’s going to be (in) professional baseball.”
Hudson Valley starting pitcher Spencer Moran allowed three hits in five innings to earn the win Tueday, and Porter Clayton allowed one hit in four innings for the save.
While the Spikes didn’t produce offensively, they made their share of impressive defensive plays in the series.
In addition to Martinez’s plays at shortstop Tuesday, Jackson got a good jump and made a sliding grab in left-center field on a line drive by Hudson Valley’s Garrett Whitley.
“I used to pitch in high school way back and when somebody makes a good play for me on the mound, I’m geeked,” Jackson said. “So I know when you make a good play on a ball that’s hit in the gap that’s probably a double, taking away a double for your pitcher, it helps them out a lot.”
Rodriguez pointed out his team’s stellar defensive effort and dismal offensive performance after the loss.
“Legitimate last two games, seven web gems,” Rodriguez said. “The defense has been there. It’s just the offense — no runs, 18 innings. Do I got to say anything else about that?”
Notes: The Spikes begin a six-game road trip at Batavia at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday. After a three-game series against Batavia, the Spikes travel to West Virginia for a three-game series. … Dailyn Martinez (0-1, 3.18 ERA) will be on the mound in the opener against Batavia on Wednesday. Reilly Hovis (0-0, 0.00) is set to start for the Muckdogs.