The State College Spikes got a great outing from left handed starter Zac Fuesser tonight, but couldn’t get the offense going, falling 1-0 to the Auburn Doubledays. One night after losing 12-11 in extra innings to Batavia, the Spikes only managed two hits tonight, although they did manage to work the count and draw seven walks.
The Spikes only managed to get a runner to third base on one occasion tonight, when Kelson Brown reached third with two outs in the 8th inning. Brown almost got the chance to score when Auburn shortstop Gustavo Pierre bobbled a ground ball by Drew Maggi, but Pierre’s throw was in time to beat Maggi for the third out of the inning.
Brown had the best night at the plate, going 1-for-1 with two walks. Maggi went 1-for-3 with a walk, while Matt Curry went 0-for-2 with two walks, and had a hard hit fly out to right field in the seventh.
The Spikes threatened in the ninth inning. Matt Skirving led off the frame with a walk, and Kevin Mort, called up today from the Gulf Coast League, made his debut by pinch running for Skirving. Curry drew a one out walk, putting runners at first and second. Cole White saw two balls to start the next at-bat, but swung at the next two pitches and popped out to shallow center field. Pat Irvine popped out to third base in foul territory in the next at-bat to end the frame.
The Spikes pitching was great tonight, led by Fuesser, who probably had his best outing of the season. Fuesser pitched six innings, allowing three hits, one run, two walks, and striking out four. Fuesser was working on pitching inside to right handers, and attacking hitters tonight, and he did both exceptionally well, including breaking at least one bat against a right handed batter.
Fuesser was working in the 86-91 MPH range with his fastball tonight, and got a lot of ground outs, with an 8:4:2 ground out/air out/line out ratio. The unofficial pitch count was 70 pitches through six innings, including a six pitch inning in the fifth. The outing was the last of the year for Fuesser, who came in to tonight’s game with a 3.91 ERA in 48.1 innings, along with a 43:25 K/BB ratio.
Mitchell Fienemann came on in the seventh inning, and pitched two shutout frames, striking out one and allowing just one hit. Justin Ennis pitched a perfect ninth inning with two strikeouts, and was helped out by a great diving stop by Gift Ngoepe against the first batter. I managed to get most of the shot of that play on the video below:
The Spikes take on Auburn tomorrow at 6:35 PM. Tyler Waldron (4-6, 3.77) takes the mound for the Spikes. I will be covering the game as part of my three game stretch covering State College during the minor league season ending tour.