Figueroa’s three-hit night, plus solid pitching give State College a 4-2 win over the Lowell Spinners
It was the rubber game of the three-game series between State College Spikes and Lowell Spinners. A good night and good gathering were on hand to watch some NYPL baseball. Those in the seats saw a very good pitching performance from Spikes starting pitcher Michael YaSenka, who for 5.2 innings had the Spinners no-hit. At the plate, State College second baseman Martin Figueroa was 3-for-4, with a HR (second straight night) and two singles to drive in four. On this Sunday night, the combo was too much for the Spinners as State College took the game 4-2 and series two games to one.
State College’s (25-24) offense took place in two of the first three innings, Ryan Zeferjahn got the ball for Lowell and ran into quick trouble. A single by Terry Fuller to center was followed one out later by a Figueroa HR to right, number four on the year, and a 2-0 Spikes lead. Zeferjahn went only one inning and was replaced on the mound by Yasel Santana.
In the third, it was his turn to run into some problems. A leadoff walk to the top of the order man David Vinsky advanced to second on a one-out double to left by Pedro Pages. It set up a second and third chance for Figueroa. He would deliver with a single to left-center that brought home both runners he would get thrown out trying to turn it to a double. that made it 4-0 heading toward the middle innings.
YaSenka was real good through five innings as only three Spinners hitters reached base on two walks and a strikeout wild pitch. In the sixth, Lowell finally put the wood to the ball. Back to back hits by Stephen Scott and a double to right field off the wall, was followed by a RBI single to left by DH Joe Davis. At the time, it made the score 4-1 State College.
In the seventh, Lowell got a run closer with the help from the bottom of the order. A walk to the number eight hitter, Ricardo Cubillan started things. He would come around to score the second Spinners run on a triple by the number nine hitter Antoni Flores. That made the score 4-2 State College and ended the night for YaSenka (6.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO).
Lowell (30-18) kept at it giving themselves shots to steal the game in the later innings. They would leave the bases loaded in both the eighth and ninth frames as they could not come up with the key hit that might have changed the outcome of the game. Spikes closer, Jack Ralston, walked a tightrope in getting the last five outs of the game and got his second save of the season. He has not given up a run of any kind in 17.1 innings of work. YaSenka gets the win in his first appearance for State College and Zeferjahn took the loss (0-2) With his ninth-inning base hit, Gilberto Jimenez extended his hitting streak to 13 games. The Spinners head out on the road for three at Tri-City starting on Monday night.
Afterward, Spinners manager Luke Montz said: “we did not make good pitches to Figueroa in the series and would like to have seen Zeferjahn go longer than one inning,” which he did Sunday night for the third straight start. Despite the fine record that Lowell has, they have been under .500 in their last 16 games at 7-9.
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