Crosscutters drop first home series all summer in 8-3 loss to State College | News, Sports, Jobs

Williamsport Crosscutters third baseman EJ Taylor can’t get to a ball hit to him as the in the top of the third inning against the State College Spikes at Muncy Bank Ballpark, August 13, 2022. DAVE KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette

State College entered its series a few games back from a red-hot Crosscutters team that won five straight games and took a series win over Mahoning Valley.

But two games in, the Spikes have brought more than enough heat to Williamsport. After pitching a collective one-hitter and rattling off 11 hits in Game 1, State College put up another double-digit night at the plate in the middle contest.

Behind 12 knocks and seven scoreless innings from their arms, the Spikes took an 8-3 win over the Crosscutters at Bowman Field on Saturday. The game marks just the first home series loss all summer, and the third defeat in a row.

“It was bound to happen at some point,” Williamsport manager Jesse Litsch said. “We fell into a little bind here and it’s just a matter of getting out of it and moving forward with what we know how to do.”

Both teams went down in order in the first inning, then it was off to the races for State College (12-9). Over the course of the next two innings, the Spikes rifled off five hits and scored three runs.

Williamsport Crosscutters second baseman Daniel Harris singles in the bottom of the second inning against the State College Spikes at Muncy Bank Ballpark, August 13, 2022. DAVE KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette

Designated hitter Devin Buckner led off the top of the second with a double to left center. Luis Aviles roped one to right afterward and Nick Gile grounded out into a double play, but drove in Buckner for the first run of the game.

Coming off a monster game in which he was a triple short of hitting for the cycle, second baseman Marques Paige (2 for 5) tripled to lead off the following inning. Back at the top of the Spikes’ order, Trent Taylor forced into Paige on a groundout. Back-to-back singles then put runners on the corners and an error wrangled in the third run.

“They’re consistent. They show good approaches and when you put the bat on the ball, good things happen,” litsch said. “That’s kinda the moral of the story. From our standpoint, we just gotta have a better approach and good things are gonna happen.”

Paige continued to wreak havoc in the fifth inning. With the bases loaded and one out to go, he put the ball in left field to drive in two more runs. A wild pitch brought in another run in the inning prior.

The Crosscutters (12-7) chopped their deficit in half in the bottom of the fourth. Travis Holt reached on an error with one out and Carter Mize advanced him with a base hit. EJ Taylor (2 for 4) followed that up by smacking one to left field for a two RBI single.

Williamsport Crosscutters second baseman Daniel Harris dives back to first base on a pick off play in the bottom of the second inning against the State College Spikes at Muncy Bank Ballpark, August 13, 2022. DAVE KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette

After a mound visit by State College pitching coach Jim Gott, Daniel Harris grounded out, but forced in Mize to cut it to a two-run game. Williamsport recorded five hits altogether.

“There’s a lot of plays that could’ve went one way or the other that we can build on, but it’s one of those things where it’s over with, we’re back out there tomorrow and we gotta get a W tomorrow,” litsch said.

Shortstop DeAndre Shelton found his third hit of the night in the form of a line drive to center, scoring a runner from second base with two outs in the eighth inning. Brock Reller (2 for 5) found the grass in center field right after, driving in Shelton.

Holt reached on an error in the bottom of the eighth inning and advanced to third on a fly ball. He was then scored on a balk, the eighth total balk of the homestead.

Brandon Kaminer pitched five innings for the Crosscutters, giving up nine hits and striking out four. Beau Nichols struck out three with three hits allowed through five innings on the mound for the Spikes. State College registered four errors, twice the amount of Williamsport.

“We gotta win. We’re still in first place. Moral of the story, we’re still in first place and we’re in the driver’s seat of controlling our own destiny,” litsch said. “That’s kind of the whole purpose as to why we’re here, to win. We’re in a good spot, we’re not in last place talking us out, we’re in first place so we’re where we need to be.”

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