ABERDEEN, MD - The State College Spikes went tooth and nail with the Aberdeen Ironbirds on Friday night, but the Ironbirds landed the last punch and downed the Spikes in 11 innings, 3-2, at Ripken Stadium.
State College (26-29) forced extra frames after coming back from a 2-1 deficit in the seventh inning. New York-Penn League All-Star Adalberto Santos led off the inning with a double. With two outs, Gerlis Rodriguez then delivered a base hit to right field to tie the game, 2-2.
In the eleventh, however, Austin Rauch delivered the game-winning hit, a single to the track in left-center field, off Justin Ennis (2-1) to give Aberdeen (27-28) the win.
The Spikes jumped out in front in the second inning. Matt Curry, Cole White and Rodriguez started off the inning with three straight singles. Kelson Brown followed with a sacrifice fly to plate Curry to make it 1-0.
Aberdeen responded in the bottom half of the same frame with Joel Polanco's solo home run to left field, his second of the season, to tie the game. The IronBirds moved ahead in the sixth, when David Anderson's leadoff double led to a two-out RBI double by Blair Dunlap. Anderson also began the eleventh inning with a double to start the last Aberdeen scoring push.
Rodriguez finished the game 2-for-4 with his seventh-inning RBI. Curry was the only other Spike to reach base twice.
Ennis was tagged with the loss after allowing the game-winning run on a total of three hits in 1 1/3 innings. Zac Fuesser started for State College and allowed one run on three hits and four walks over 4 2/3 innings. Fuesser also struck out five in the effort.
Ironbirds reliever Jesse Rasner (1-0) picked up the win with a scoreless eleventh inning, yielding a leadoff single to Andy Vasquez and no more. Starter Tyler Sexton allowed one run on four hits and a walk while striking out six over six innings of work.
Saturday, the Spikes and Ironbirds meet at 7:05 p.m. for the second game in their three-game set at Ripken Stadium. State College will send right-hander Tyler Waldron (2-5) to the mound to face Aberdeen right-hander Tim Adleman (2-2). Adleman is one of two Ironbird pitchers to be named to the American League squad for the 2010 New York-Penn League All-Star Game.