Spikes Walk-Off With a 3-2 Win in Series Opener in State College
STATE COLLEGE, PA – For third time in the last four nights, the IronBirds fell in walk-off fashion. On Saturday night, with the game nodded at two, CF Tyler Gaffney hit a sharp grounder to third. Gaffney’s ground ball went under the glove of Torsten Boss and RF Jesus Vasquez scored from third to end the game.
Following a 44-minute rain delay prior to Saturday night’s game, the IronBirds plated the first run of the game. Leading off the game, CF Gregory Lorenzo reached on an error by SS Chris Diaz. With RF Lucas Herbst at the plate, Lorenzo stole second based. Lorenzo then advanced to third on a throwing error by Adrian Sampson on a pickoff attempt. With Lorenzo now 90-feet away, Herbst hit a sac fly to centerfield to give the Birds a one-run advantage.
LHP Jorge Rivera took the hill for the IronBirds on Saturday for first time since June 26th. Rivera got out of a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the first and exited the game after 1.2 innings of work. Rivera, who was activated from the disabled list prior to Saturday’s game, surrendered two hits and struck out three batters on the night.
The Spikes tied up the series opener in the fifth inning. With two outs and 1B Jake Lakind on second, Tyler Gaffney singled home Lakind to tie the game at one.
Aberdeen regained the lead in the top of eighth inning. 2B Creede Simpson stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. After working a full count, Simpson won the battle against LHP Josh Smith and walked. Lucas Herbst scored from the third to put the Birds in front, 2-1.
The IronBirds lead was short lived. SS Chris Diaz singled home Tyler Gaffney with two outs in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game up at two.
After the Birds were kept off the board in the top of the ninth, State College decided extra innings would not be needed for the series opener. RF Jesus Vasquez singled to left off RHP Jason McCracken to start the inning. A Jared Lakind sac bunt advanced Vasquez to second and 2B Jodaneli Carvajal followed up with a groundout to first. With Vasquez on third, Tyler Gaffney stepped the plate. Gaffney hit a hard ground ball to third base. Boss moved to his right but Gaffney’s grounder snuck under his glove and Vasquez scored from third to end the ballgame.
Kevin Kleis (1-0) picked up the win out of the Spikes pen while Jason McCracken (0-1) got the loss.
Piggybacking Jorge Rivera, RHP Mark Blackmar allowed two runs on four hits over 6.1 innings of work.
The IronBirds and Spikes will return to Medlar Field at Lubrano Park on Sunday night. Aberdeen will turn to RHP Brady Wager (0-1, 9.00) while RHP Luis Heredia (2-1, 1.88) will take the hill for the Spikes. First pitch from State College, PA is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. with coverage beginning at 5:50 p.m. on the IronBirds Radio Network.