State College Spikes Notebook: 2013 Week 11

Nick Petree: Spikes Pitcher of the Year

The Cardinals' New York-Penn League affiliate has reduced its magic number to just one.

State College (45-25) went 6-2 this week, and the Spikes' magic number for securing a playoff berth is down to one. Despite stumbling against Williamsport in the middle of the week, the State College club rallied to put together three straight wins against division rival Jamestown. With one week left in the regular season, the Spikes hold the best record in the NYPL as well as a four-game lead over Jamestown in the Pinckney Division.

August 24 vs. Auburn, Win 7-0

Heading into the bottom of the eighth knotted at zero, the Spikes bats came alive and pushed across seven runs as the first nine batters reached base to begin the frame.

David Washington drove in Luke Voit for the first run of the game before Mason Katz broke the ballgame open with a two-run double one batter later. The Spikes scored their seven runs across on five hits, two doubles, four walks, two wild pitches and one error. Carson Kelly, Steven Ramos and Michael Schulze all had two-hit games.

Jimmy Reed, Victor De Leon and Jacob Booden also combined for a three-hit shutout. Reed started and worked six two-hit innings, striking out five and walking one. De Leon pitched two hitless frames and Booden added one inning, allowing one hit as he struck out four.

August 25 vs. Auburn, Win 10-5

State College got the bats going early Sunday as they plated five runs in the first and never looked back, adding five more runs over the eight remaining frames for a convincing 10-5 win over the Doubledays.

Washington and Kelly both doubled again to key the big inning. Brett Wiley pushed the first run across with a sacrifice fly to score Ramos, and Matt Young capped the fame with a an RBI single scoring Kelly to give State College a 5-1 lead after one.

Auburn put up two runs in the second and a single run in the fifth and ninth, but it wasn't enough as the Spikes added one in the third and two in the seventh and eighth.

Kevin Herget struggled on the mound, allowing four earned runs on eight hits, but managed to get through five runs. Andrew Pierce followed with three solid innings, allowing just one run, while Michael Aldrete worked a scoreless ninth.

August 26 at Williamsport, Loss 13-5

The Crosscutters jumped on Spikes starter Juan Bautista early, putting up seven runs in the first, and three more in the second for an early 10-3 lead.

Bautista allowed four straight singles to start the contest, and a total of six hits, one walk and seven runs in the frame. Williamsport plated three more runs against Bautista before he was lifted after just 1.2 innings.

Jimmy Bosco, Ramos and Young each had two hits, but the Spikes five runs weren't enough to overcome Bautista's rough start.

August 27 at Williamsport, Win 5-3

Williamsport took the lead in the first inning when Herlis Rodriguez doubled and scored on an error, but State College bounced back with Wiley's RBI single in the sixth. Wiley tied the game again in the eighth inning with a run-scoring groundout before the game headed to extras tied at two.

After a scoreless tenth, State College broke through in the 11th. With one out and runners on first and second, Kelly sent a groundball through the left side that was misplayed by the Crosscutters' left fielder Samuel Hiciano. That allowed Cesar Valera and Washington to score, from second and first respectively, as Kelly ended up on third. Voit singled home Kelly to cap off the inning, and Jacob Booden allowed a run in the bottom of the inning, but Jeff Rauh got the final two outs to preserve the Spikes win.

August 28 vs. Williamsport, Loss 1-9

Another poor starting pitching performance did in the Spikes on Wednesday. In his first appearance back in State College, Ben O'Shea struggled and ran into some tough luck, allowing seven earned runs on two hits and four walks in 1.2 innings of work.

State College had eight hits on the night, but with three of them coming in the second, struggled to put any real offensive threats together. Bosco, Ramos, Schulze and Voit all had two hits on the night, while Carson Kelly added a double in the second. The lone State College run came following Kelly's double in the second when the Spikes third baseman scored on an RBI single from Voit with two outs.

Willy Paulino came on in relief of O'Shea in the second and tossed 6.1 innings of one-run relief, allowing four hits and four walks while striking our five.

August 29 vs. Jamestown, Win 9-8 (Completion of 6/25 game, resumed in bottom of second)

Tied 4-4 going into the ninth inning, Jamestown scored four runs in the top half, the first on a solo home run by Harold Ramirez, to take an 8-4 lead. However, the Spikes came back with a two-run homer by Ronald Castillo and a solo homer by Kelly to cut the deficit to 8-7.

Katz then contributed a pinch-hit, one-out single to put the tying run on base. Following a flyout to center, Bosco hammered a base hit to right field that snuck past the Jammers right fielder, allowing Katz to score and knotting the game at 8-8. One batter later, Valera singled to right field plating the winning run to for the Spikes' eighth walk-off victory of the year. It was Valera's third walk-off hit of the season.

Wiley also homered for the Spikes, giving them a 3-2 lead in the fifth with a solo shot. Valera, Bosco and Wiley each contributed three hits.

August 29 vs. Jamestown, Win 8-2 (F/7)

After a devastating defeat in game one Thursday, the Jammers just couldn't get anything going in game two. Although the Jammers scratched out a run in the third, the Spikes offense picked up where they left off, putting up three in the home half of the third, and five more in the fourth.

Both Castillo and Ramos had two RBI games while Washington and Wiley each contributed one RBI. Alex De Leon homered.

August 30 vs. Jamestown, Win 6-4

Jamestown was out to a 4-0 lead in the fifth, but this game had the sense that it was just a matter of time before the Spikes broke through, and break through they did. State College put up one in the fifth, two in the sixth and seventh, and one more insurance in the eighth.

Schulze helped lead the charge with a 3-for-4 night. He scored the Spikes' first run in the fifth inning and did more damage in the sixth when an RBI single and a Bosco RBI groundout brought the Spikes within a run at 4-3.

Katz's two-out, two-run double in the seventh gave State College its first lead of the night at 5-4, and Voit added a run-scoring double in the eighth for the insurance run.

Spikes starter Jimmy Reed saw his scoreless innings streak snapped at 14 when Jamestown got on the board in the third. Reed went 4.2 innings, allowing all Jammers runs, but just one earned, on eight hits and a walk while striking out three.

Reliever Victor DeLeon earned the win with 2.1 innings of scoreless relief, yielding just two hits while striking out four. Jacob Booden pitched a perfect ninth.

At the Plate

David Washington was awarded with the Spikes MVP award on Friday for his offensive performance this season. Washington broke single-season club records in home runs with ten and RBI with 48. The San Diego native leads the New York-Penn League in runs batted in, and is hitting .263 on the season through August 29. Washington's 36 walks and eight intentional walks also lead the league, and his 112 total bases are tied for second-most in the NYPL.

Michael Schulze has broken out of his shell offensively over the past week. Schulze, who was an instrumental part of multiple State College wins this week, is batting .406 over his last ten games, dating back to August 7th. More specifically, over his last five games, the Missouri native is batting .611, 11-for-18 with four RBI and just one strikeout.

On the Mound

Nick Petree, who received the Spikes Pitcher of the Year award, is third in the NYPL in earned run average with a 1.62 mark, and has allowed one run or less in 11 of his 12 appearances this year. The Missouri State product was chosen by the Cardinals in the ninth round of the 2013 MLB Draft, and has gone 3-1 on the season, with nine starts under his belt. Petree has struck out 46 batters, second most on the team, and walked 16 on the season.

Mitch Harris was named the Spikes leadership award winner Friday night. Harris joined the Spikes after serving a five-year commitment in the United States Navy, and the 2008 13th-round draft choice of the Cardinals has been a stabilizing force in the bullpen. The righty is 3-1 with a 0.89 ERA in 18 appearances so far in his debut season as a professional, with 27 strikeouts to 14 walks over 30.1 innings. The 27-year-old Harris is also one of the NYPL leaders in opponents' batting average, with his .183 mark good for fourth-best among the league's relievers.

Transactions

8/24 – Left-handed pitcher Ben O'Shea received from Single-A Peoria

On the Horizon

State College will head to Auburn for a two-game weekend set, before finishing the regular season with three games against division rival Jamestown.



Follow Robert Davidson on Twitter at @robo_tweets, and on Flickr at flickr.com/photos/robert_davidson.

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