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Cutters fall in State College

STATE COLLEGE — It started with one error. Then there was a balk.

Then another error.

A two-run triple.

An RBI single.

And finally a double which drove in a run.

That’s all it took for the Williamsport Crosscutters to essentially be knocked out of Tuesday’s series finale with the State College Spikes. Even though the Cutters rallied to get within a couple runs at one point, its offense stalled and the five-run first inning was too much to overcome.

The Spikes won for the eighth time in 11 meetings with Williamsport this year, 8-6, last night despite Williamsport pounding out 11 hits. Williamsport gave itself a chance to win in the top of the ninth inning, but Hunter Hearn struck out with the bases loaded and two outs to end the game.

State College took advantage of the extra outs given to them with the two first-inning errors. The first of those two errors probably should have been an inning-ending double play ball, but Cutters third baseman Jake Holmes bobbled the ball and couldn’t get an out.

The very next batter rolled a groundball down the third-base line which Holmes bobbled as he tried to backhand it. It allowed Moises Castillo to score State College’s first run.

Three batters later the Cutters were trailing 5-1 as starting pitcher Chris Micheles finished what was his only inning of work. Of the five runs he allowed, none were earned. It was an unlucky performance for a pitcher who had allowed more than one run in only two of his previous eight starts since being drafted in the 14th round by the Philadelphia Phillies.

But it was that kind of night for Williamsport pitching. Five Cutters pitchers combined to throw 178 pitches in just eight innings. State College recorded 14 hits, its most since recording a season-high 18 one month ago against Staten Island. Williamsport pitching combined to allow eight walks. It all spelled 20 at-bats for the Spikes with runners in scoring position, and its five hits in that situation was more than enough to send the Cutters to their seventh loss in the last nine games.

And the damage could have been far worse. Anton Kuznetsov stranded the bases loaded in the second inning for Williamsport. Jake Kinney stranded the bases loaded in the fifth inning, and Brian Marconi picked up a huge strikeout of Dariel Gomez with the bases loaded to end the seventh inning.

For the ninth consecutive time, Williamsport lost a game where its pitching staff allowed more than three runs. It hasn’t won a game where it allowed more than three runs since a 5-4 win over State College on July 20. The Cutters are just 3-25 this year when allowing more than three runs in a game.

Bryson Stott and Kendall Simmons did their best to keep Williamsport in the game. Both got halfway to the cycle through just three innings.

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