STATE COLLEGE - The State College Spikes used an aggressive offensive effort to build a 7-0 lead, and Nick Kingham made another stellar start on the mound to help the Spikes cruise to a 7-5 victory over the Batavia Muckdogs in the club's 2011 home finale on Thursday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Kingham (6-2), who was named the Spikes' (29-43) Pitcher of the Year prior to the game, validated the honor with five one-hit, shutout innings in front of 5,343 fans. The right-hander from Las Vegas, NV allowed two walks in addition to the hit, and struck out three batters in the victory. Kingham is now 6-0 with a 1.17 ERA in his last eleven starts, the last ten of which have gone five innings or more with one or no runs allowed.
State College bolstered their top moundsman with aggression on the basepaths, swiping three bags as a team in a two-run second inning. Taylor Lewis's sacrifice fly to left field scored one run, with Walker Gourley adding the other run on an RBI single.
In the fifth inning, the Spikes sent a total of ten batters to the plate and accrued five more runs by taking advantage of Batavia (35-36) miscues. Gourley led off the inning by beating out an infield hit, then taking second base when the Muckdogs' attention was diverted before time was called. After a wild pitch, Alex Fuselier brought in Gourley with a single to make it 3-0, State College.
Fuselier then moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on Roderrick Jones's RBI single to extend the lead to four runs and chase Batavia starter Patrick Daugherty (3-5) from the mound. Reliever Yunier Castillo could do no better, however, hitting three batters and walking one to bring in two more runs. Adam Bileckyj allowed Lewis to bring in another run on an infield single to make it 7-0, but forced an inning-ending double play one batter later.
The Muckdogs made an attempt at a comeback starting with Reggie Williams's three-run home run in the seventh inning. Batavia plated two runs in the ninth on a sacrifice fly and a Danny Stienstra RBI single, but could muster no more offense after that.
Fuselier, Jones and Gourley all collected multiple hits for the Spikes, with Ashley Ponce adding a double as well. Cesar Lopez and Alen Hanson also each made their Spikes debuts on Thursday, with Hanson starting at second base and turning a double play. Lopez pitched two innings of middle relief, giving up the three runs on Williams's home run and a total of four hits while striking out one.
Daugherty took the loss for Batavia after yielding five runs on eight hits and a walk over 4 1/3 innings. The left-hander struck out five in the effort.
Jeremy Patton went 3-for-4 with a double for the Muckdogs, while Williams notched a total of four RBI.
Friday, the Spikes start their final series of the 2011 regular season as they head to Historic Bowman Field to face the Williamsport Crosscutters (Philadelphia Phillies). State College will send Trent Stevenson (0-4) to the mound for the 7:05 p.m. matchup to face an as yet unannounced Williamsport starter.