Fireworks erupt during State College Spikes game
Harol Gonzalez recorded his 10th strikeout of the night and calmly walked to the dugout.
State College Spikes left fielder Vince Jackson threw his hand out to his side in frustration after the called third strike on the outside corner. The Brooklyn starting pitcher showed no reaction after the strikeout pitch that marked the end of a dominant outing.
Gonzalez allowed three hits, one walk and one run in six innings to lead the Cyclones past the Spikes 6-2 Tuesday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
“He’s probably not going to be here too long,” Spikes manager Johnny Rodriguez said, referencing Gonzalez’s stay in the New York-Penn League. “That’s an advanced pitcher.”
The loss snapped the Spikes’ six-game winning streak.
State College (8-4) averaged 7.2 runs during the streak, but couldn’t put anything together against the Cyclones. Spikes infielder Tommy Edman came into the night leading the league with a .455 batting average, but went 0 for 4 and failed to reach base for the first time in nine games this season. Jackson, the Spikes’ No. 3 hitter who hit .368 during the road trip, finished 0 for 3 with three strikeouts.
The Spikes finished with five hits Tuesday.
State College starting pitcher Carson Cross went five innings in the loss, allowing three runs (two earned) and eight hits while striking out six and walking one.
The Cyclones (6-6) loaded the bases in the first inning and got on the board on a groundout by Blake Tiberi. Brooklyn pushed that lead to 3-0 in the second, scoring runs on Brandon Brosher’s RBI single and a throwing error by Spikes shortstop Jose Martinez.
“I thought Cross wasn’t at his best,” Rodriguez said. “A couple of plays could have been made. It would have helped the cause.”
But Tuesday night was about Gonzalez.
According to the Spikes’ scouting report, Rodriguez said, Gonzalez throws five pitches — fastball, split-finger, curveball, slider and changeup.
Gonzalez didn’t allow a baserunner until the third inning and didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning. The Spikes only managed to get two balls to leave the infield against the right-hander — Ricardo Bautista’s single pulled into right field in the fifth and Martinez’s bloop single to center field in the sixth.
Bladimil Franco ended Gonzalez’s no-hitter in the fifth.
He sent a slow ground ball to Brooklyn second baseman Nick Sergakis and hustled down the line to beat the throw for an infield single. On the next pitch, with Franco taking off for second, Bautista singled through the right side of the infield to put runners on first and third with no outs.
Gonzalez limited the damage with one pitch.
Elier Rodriguez grounded into a double play, allowing Franco to score and clearing the bases before a groundout ended the inning.
Gonzalez struck used his pitches well, striking out eight Spikes hitters during the outing.
“He mixes well, entices you and then pitches backwards,” said Rodriguez, the State College manager. “In other words, in fastball counts, he goes to a split-finger or slider.”
He got Jackson swinging at a 3-2 pitch for his first strikeout in the bottom of the first, starting a streak of six straight strikeouts.
He struck out Spikes cleanup hitter Ryan McCarvel looking at a 2-2 pitch on the outer half of the plate to start the second inning. Franco followed, striking out swinging at a 1-2 pitch. Bautista looked at a 1-2 breaking ball to end the inning.
Thirteen pitches. Three strikeouts.
In the third inning, Elier Rodriguez whiffed on a 3-2 pitch down and inside. He blew away Danny Hudzina with a high 91 mph fastball for his sixth straight strikeout.
A walk to catcher Chris Rivera ended the streak and gave the Spikes their first baserunner. A groundout by Edman ended the inning.
“He pitched well,” Rodriguez said. “You got to give the pitcher credit.”
After losing his no-hitter and shutout in the fifth, he finished his night with a scoreless sixth inning, capped by his 10th strikeout.
The Spikes continue their series against Brooklyn at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday.