NORWICH, Conn. - Clay Holmes threw five scoreless innings to put his 2012 earned run average at a microscopic 0.80, and Dalton Friend combined with Emmanuel De Leon to help him complete the shutout as the State College Spikes got past the Connecticut Tigers, 2-0, on Wednesday night at Dodd Stadium.
Holmes (4-1) tied for the New York-Penn League lead in wins and took the league lead in ERA after allowing just three hits, two walks and a hit batsman during his time on the mound. The 19-year-old right-hander, who was chosen by the Pirates in the ninth round of the 2012 MLB Draft, also struck out four batters in the effort.
Tyler Gaffney and Jacob Stallings each had three-hit games for State College (21-16), and Gaffney was the key man on both of the Spikes' runs in the contest. In the first inning, Gaffney walked and got to third base on an error before scoring on a double play ball to put State College up 1-0.
The Spikes added an insurance run in the eighth inning. Jodaneli Carvajal pinch-ran for Samuel Gonzalez after his pinch-hit single and immediately stole second base. Carvajal then got to third base on a wild pitch and scored on Gaffney's single to right-center field to add some cushion to the State College lead.
Emmanuel De Leon (2) faced a sticky situation in the ninth inning, however. De Leon allowed a leadoff walk to Connecticut (16-21) second baseman Tyler Hanover and a base hit to Patrick Smith, putting runners on first and second with no outs. The right-hander struck out Edgar Corcino, though, and when Bennett Pickar singled to left field, Walker Gourley came up throwing and nabbed Hanover with a laser to the plate. De Leon then elicited a popout to earn the save and preserve the Spikes' win.
The shutout victory was the fourth such win for the Spikes this season, tied for the most in the New York-Penn League. State College has also won its last three games in a row and seven of its last eight.