In the second inning, Jordan Hicks got out unscathed.
In the third frame, he allowed only a run.
And in the fourth, Hicks, again, pulled off some magic to end a threat.
But in the fifth, it all caught up to him.
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Three runs piled up on Hicks in the frame, and it was enough to propel Staten Island past State College 4-1 on Saturday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Hicks was playing with fire early. In the second inning, the 19-year-old right-hander allowed a walk and a single to the first couple batters before inducing two groundouts and a strikeout.
While Nick Solak’s RBI single in the third hurt, the inning could’ve been worse, and in the fourth, Hicks let up a pair of one-out singles but stranded both runners.
The fifth was a different story.
Solak was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame and later stole second. After Drew Bridges struck out, Kane Sweeney walked.
Spikes manager Johnny Rodriguez paid a visit to the mound, and he wasn’t happy.
“It’s on Hicks,” Rodriguez said. “He hit their three-hole hitter. ... That just got them fired up, and that was the game for me.”
Next up, Dalton Blaser blistered a double to the right-field wall, scoring Solak and creating some breathing room for Staten Island.
Rodriguez came back out to remove Hicks in favor of Bryan Dobzanski, but the 20-year-old surrendered a two-run single to Kendall Coleman, his first batter faced.
The runs were credited to Hicks, who finished with a line of seven hits, four earned runs, six strikeouts and three walks in 4 1/3 innings of work.
“When you’ve got stuff, you can get in trouble and get out of it. In other innings he got in trouble, and I could feel he was attacking,” Rodriguez said. “After he hit that guy ... he was still hot about it. You have to have damage control.”
The Spikes (37-18) are 2-3 in their last five home games, while the Yankees (31-23) have won five of their last seven games.
After injuring his wrist on Thursday and sitting out Friday’s series opener, State College catcher Jeremy Martinez returned to the lineup on Saturday.
However, he wasn’t behind the plate.
Martinez was the Spikes’ designated hitter, and made an impact.
The 21-year-old right-handed hitter went 2 for 3 with two singles, a walk and a run scored.
Rodriguez was pleased with how he came back from the brief injury stint.
“He’s a plus to have against that kind of pitching,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez also noted that he expects Martinez to start at catcher on Sunday.
Down four after a Yankees run in the top of the ninth, State College actually had life in the bottom of the final frame.
Riley Drongesen and Bladimil Franco walked to start the inning and advanced up a bag on a wild pitch.
Tommy Edman scored Drongesen on a groundout, and an Andy Young sacrifice fly plated Franco.
Despite cutting the lead to 5-3, State College couldn’t muster two more runs with two outs as Vince Jackson struck out to end the game.
Spikes: State College looks to close out the series on a high-note at 6:05 p.m. Sunday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. The Spikes will send Carson Cross out to the hill. Cross (4-3, 3.07 ERA) has allowed only two earned runs in his last three starts combined.
Yankees: As for Staten Island, it will feature 23-year-old right-hander Jonathan Padilla on the bump. Padilla (1-1, 2.83 ERA) has spent most of this season in the bullpen, making nine appearances and just two starts so far. The Dominican has a 1.69 ERA in his last four appearances.