STATE COLLEGE - For the first five innings, Williamsport and State College took turns exchanging runs until the Spikes held a one-run lead.
Tired of that approach to the game, the Spikes scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a four-run lead before the Cutters came back to score six runs in the eighth for a 9-6 lead that stood up for the final.
"That was a nice atmosphere out there tonight," said Cutters manager Andy Tracy. "We fell behind, we battled back with some nice hits along with a couple bleeder hits and they made a couple errors that helped us out. Sometimes it is nice when those things go our way because we have had those nights when they went against us."
State College manager Dave Turgeon gave the Cutters credit for not going away when his club held the four-run lead.
"I give them a lot of credit for not going away," he said. "Andy Tracy does a nice job over there. They are not playing for a wild card spot. They are playing for professionalism and pride as we are. Credit to them for doing a good job. I don't think we could have done a better job offensively, but our bullpen just couldn't hold it."
Playing with guys out of position for various reasons, Turgeon likes the way his players continue to battle.
"We are playing with three infielders in the outfield right now," he said. "I am proud of the way our guys are playing right now. I am not going to sit here and make excuses. I am just glad that our guys are continuing to play for twenty-seven outs."
With the game scoreless through 2 1/2 innings, the Spikes broke on top with a single run in the bottom of the third.
With one out, Yhonathan Barrios lofted a bloop double down the rightfield line. Walker Gourley grounded out to short, Barrios moving to third and Chris Diaz chased Barrios home with the game's first run with an RBI single to center.
The Spikes lead was short-lived as the Cutters answered the call with a single run in the fourth.
Cameron Perkins reached on a fielder's choice, went to second on a single to left by Chris Serritella and scored when Larry Greene Jr. ripped an RBI double to right field.
Just as short-lived was the Spikes' 1-0 lead, the 1-1 deadlock only lasted until the bottom of the fourth.
With one out, Dilson Herrera tripled off the centerfield wall and scored on an RBI groundout to shortstop.
The two teams continued the trading a run for a run approach into the top of the fifth when Yan Carlos Olmo singled to right and two outs later, Roman Quinn ripped a double down the right-field line to chase Olmo home with the tying run.
The revolving door swung back open for the Spikes as they took advantage of some loose play by the Cutters that saw them commit two of their errors in the game.
Barrios reached and moved to second on a throwing error by Williamsport pitcher Kyle Brady. With Gourley at the plate, Barrios stole third and scored when Cutter catcher Chace Numata's throw was mishandled by third baseman by Tyler Greene, Barrios gave the lead back to the Spikes 3-2.
After escaping a near disaster in the sixth when the Cutters loaded the sacks, but did not score, the Spikes continued to add on in the bottom of the inning.
D.J. Crumlich and Sammy Gonzalez singled to open the frame, Crumlich scoring on a RBI single to deep short by Herrera.
After the first out of the inning, David Valesente bounced a two-run single to center over a drawn-in infield and just like that, the Spike lead had ballooned to 6-2.
The Cutters squandered a golden opportunity in the sixth when they loaded the bases and did not score. One inning later, Williamsport again loaded the bases and only came up with one run for a 6-3 Spikes lead.
But showing persistence, the Cutters again loaded the sacks in the eighth and this time the result was quite different as the Cutters put the bat on the ball to score six runs.
Big hits for the Cutters came from Perkins and Mitch Walding with two-run singles.
"That is just kids playing the game of baseball," said Tracy. "It could have very easily gone the other way for us, but tonight we came out on top, got some breaks and big hits. That was a baseball game."
Although neither starting pitcher figured in the decision, both Tracy and Turgeon felt their starters gave them good efforts.
For Williamsport, Kevin Brady worked five strong innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on just four hits, walking none and striking out five.
"He had some errors behind him, but I thought he threw well," said Tracy of Brady's effort. "It was just a solid outing for him. We got him through five (innings) and that is what we wanted."
Jason Creasy started and worked five innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits, walking one.
"Quite honestly, I thought that was one of his best outings of the year," said Turgeon about Creasy's effort. "Just given the intent of pitches thrown in off the plate with a purpose in mind. He showed second and third pitches tonight and he is getting better. For me, that was one of his better outings and he gave us a chance to stay in the ball game."
Included in the crowd of 5,036 that watched the game was a group of PSU Blue Band students who immediately adopted Larry Greene as their favorite. All during the game, the students applauded every move Greene made as he finished 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and two walks.
"I could hear the fans and I felt like I had to do some good things for them," he said. "I was swinging at good pitches and hitting the ball where it is pitched."
Perched in the middle of the Cutter lineup, Chris Serritella had another good night as he was on base five times with three hits while scoring a run.
"I have been feeling really good at the plate the past couple of weeks," said Serritella. "The last two nights it seems as though everything has gone my way and that is the game of baseball. I have been spraying the ball around, things are starting to go my way and I am enjoying it."
The same two teams meet for the final time this season this afternoon in a single game slated to begin at 4:05 p.m. With the win, the Cutters take a 6-5 lead in the SawBuck series.