STATE COLLEGE - The State College Spikes (34-35) fell to visiting Williamsport (38-31) Sunday 5-3 before a record crowd of 5,757 at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park to close out the home schedule of the 2009 season.
Williamsport pitcher Nick Hernandez cruised to his seventh win on the season, scattering nine hits while striking out seven and giving up two runs over five innings of work.
Spikes pitcher Tyler Cox gave up four runs on four hits in six innings of work. Only one of the runs was earned, however, as State College committed at least four errors in a game for the seventh time this season.
Sentinel photo by CHRISTOPHER?SHANNON
Spikes pitcher Tyler Cox delivers a pitch during the Spikes’ 5-3 loss to Williamsport on Sunday in State College. Although Cox took the loss, giving up four runs, only one was earned as the Spikes commited four errors.
State College manager Gary Robinson held a half-hour fielding practice session after Sunday's game.
"Yeah, it was a bit surprising," Spikes second baseman Brock Holt said. "But you got to do what you got to do."
It didn't take long for the Crosscutters to take the lead. Designated hitter Leandro Castro hit a two-out double off the right field wall and scored moments later after Spikes' third baseman Ty Summerlin's throwing error on a Sebastian Valle ground ball.
Williamsport scored again on another two-out double to the corner in right by Castro, allowing Jiwan James to cross the plate after reaching safely on Elevys Gonzalez's errant throw to first.
"As far as the physical errors, I'm never going to get on one of my teammates," Cox said. "I can't blame them for the errors. I need to keep my composure and tell my teammates 'Stay ready because the next one is coming to you.'"
After a long, yet scoreless second inning for State College, the Spikes finally tied the game in the bottom of the third.
Center fielder Evan Chambers led off the inning by legging out a double down the left field line. Holt followed with an RBI triple into the right field corner. Holt crossed the plate two batters later on Aaron Baker's RBI single.
"I'm just seeing the ball really well right now," Holt said. "I'm making solid contact."
However, the Crosscutters didn't need to wait long to regain the lead.
Williamsport third baseman Anthony Hewitt crushed a 1-2 pitch to the warning track in left, which dropped in after a brutal collision between Chambers and left fielder Edward Garcia. Hewitt made the complete circuit of the bases, crossing the plate in plenty of time for the inside-the-park home run.
The Crosscutters' Jonathan Villar reached base safely to lead off the fifth on another Summerlin error, and made it to third moments later after catcher Craig Parry's throw to second sailed into center field on Villar's stolen base.
Villar scored Williamsport's fourth run of the game on an RBI double by James. Villar helped the Crosscutters add an insurance run in the ninth with a two-out RBI single after Michael Dabbs reached on a four-pitch walk.
State College didn't threaten again until the bottom of the seventh, with back-to-back singles by Holt and Justin Byler. David Rubinstein hit a sacrifice fly to the wall in right, sending Holt home. However, it was all the rallying the Spikes could do in the inning.
"It's nice to hit the ball well, but ultimately you want to win the game," Holt said. "That's the most important thing. We have to win the ballgame."
The Spikes got the leadoff runner to first in the ninth, but three straight fly balls to the outfield quickly ended the final home game of the year for State College.