State College Spikes Notebook: 2014 Week 8

The State College Spikes (32-16) had one of their roughest weeks to date, going just 3-4, while plagued by uncharacteristically poor bullpen performances. Nick Thompson is swinging a hot bat.

July 26 vs. Auburn (WSH), Loss 7-1

The State College Spikes’ homestand ended on a sour note as Jacob Booden fell apart in the eighth inning. The 6-foot-7 righty allowed four runs on two hits and three walks. The last two free passes pushed runners across, and he was pulled with just one out in the inning.

State College scratched out just four hits, and scored its only run on Danny Diekroeger’s third home run of the year.

Austin Gomber allowed two runs on five hits and a walk in four innings, and took the loss.

July 27 at Mahoning Valley (CLE), Win 8-5

State College started its short road trip with an impressive offensive outburst in Mahoning Valley on Sunday. The Spikes scored all eight runs between the fifth and eighth innings as they racked up 13 hits on the night.

Three long balls propelled the Spikes offensively as Nick Thompson, Collin Radack and Chase Raffield all went deep in the game. Radack went 3-for-3 while Raffield and Darren Seferina each collected a pair of hits.

Daniel Poncedeleon tossed three scoreless frames to start the game before turning the ball over to Brandon Lee, who allowed one run on two hits in three innings.

Nick Lomascolo yielded a run on a hit and two walks in two innings of work, and turned the ball over to Joe Scanio, who gave up three runs on a pair of hits and free pass before finally shutting the door on the Scrappers.

July 28 at Mahoning Valley, Loss 3-2

Bullpen troubles plagued the Spikes again as Booden had another rough outing. Booden entered the eighth with a 2-1 lead, walked the first batter he faced, who then moved to third on a passed ball and a wild pitch, before walking the next batter as well.

Kyle Grana was called upon to replace Booden and allowed two hits and two runs to cross, one of which was charged to Booden. Grana’s run was the first score charged against him over his last eight appearances.

State College’s eight hits were spread across the lineup as eight of nine Spikes went 1-for-4. Luis Cruz, Ronnierd Garcia, Kenneth Peoples-Walls and Radack all doubled.

Trey Nielsen started and gave up just one hit and a walk in four innings. Jeff Rauh allowed one run on two hits and a walk in three frames.

July 29 at Mahoning Valley, Win 13-8

Each Spikes starter recorded a hit and Seferina and Thompson were the only Spikes starters to not have multi-hit games as State College pounded the Scrappers for 13 runs on 17 hits to close out the short road trip.

Diekroeger and Robelys Reyes hit home runs. Diekroeger’s three-run shot came as part of his 2-for-5, four-run night, while Reyes went 3-for-5 with his third inning solo shot, a double, two RBI and two runs scored.

In his first game back with State College, Ian McKinney turned in six innings of two-run ball before being tagged for four runs in the seventh inning. The final two runs charged to McKinney scored after Lomascolo took over with two outs. One scored on a wild pitch, the other on a single. Scanio struggled again, giving up four hits and a two-run bomb in the ninth.

July 31 vs. Aberdeen (BAL), Game One, Loss 3-2 (F/7)
July 31 vs. Aberdeen, Game Two, Win 8-2 (F/7)

State College split its doubleheader with Aberdeen Thursday, falling 3-2 in game one before winning 8-2 in the back-end. Both games were seven innings in length.

Will Anderson held Aberdeen to two runs, one earned, on nine hits and a walk in six before turning the ball over to Brandon Lee. He allowed a run on two hits in the seventh, sinking the Spikes.

Nick Thompson went 2-for-3 with an RBI as the only Spike with multiple hits in game one.

Despite falling behind 1-0 in the first, State College rallied to plate eight runs in its final four at bats to take the second game from the Ironbirds.

Jhohan Acevedo went 3-for-3 with one RBI and Thompson went 3-for-4 with two runs scored in the second to lead the way for the Spikes.

Dewin Perez started for State College and struck out eight over six innings, during which he allowed two runs on five hits and two walks.

August 1 vs. Aberdeen, Loss 5-4 (F/10)

The Spikes loss on Friday continued their week-long trend of bullpen struggles, with this loss to Aberdeen perhaps being the most painful.

State College took a 4-1 lead into the seventh when Scanio issued back-to-back one out walks. Rauh was called upon and gave up a two-out, two-run double that brought the Ironbirds within a run. Rauh tossed a scoreless eighth before giving way to Grana, who blew his second straight save. He was charged with an unearned run after a throwing error by Garcia in the ninth, before giving up the game-winning run on an RBI triple in the tenth.

Reyes, Raffield and Brian O’Keefe all had two-hit games and Thompson went 1-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored.

At the Plate

Nick Thompson may have had his best offensive week of the season, going 9-for-21 (.429) with five RBI and nine runs scored. Thompson has picked up his play in the absence of Rowan Wick and is riding an eight-game hitting streak.

Jhohan Acevedo also had an excellent week in limited action. The Venezuelan outfielder only appeared in four games, but went 7-for-15 (.467), with three RBI and two runs scored. Acevedo is playing almost exclusively against right-handed starters, and for good reason. The righty is hitting just .091 in 22 at bats against southpaws but is batting .275 against right-handers.

On the Mound

Bullpen struggles highlighted the Spikes’ up-and-down week. Jacob Booden seems to have fallen apart of late. The big man was known for his ability to pound the strike zone last year, but he has struggled mightily over the last couple weeks, allowing at least one run in each of his last five appearances.

Kyle Grana, who was one of State College’s most reliable late-inning options, blew two saves this week. Entering this week, Grana had walked just four batters in his last six appearances, but the 6-foot-4 righty issued six free passes in his two outings this week.

Transactions

July 28 – LHP Ian McKinney received from Rookie-level Johnson City
July 27 – RHP Anderson Gerdel transferred to Rookie-level Johnson City
July 26 – RHP Brandon Lee reinstated from 7-day Disabled List; transferred from Single-A Peoria to Short-Season Single-A State College

On the Horizon

State College will finish up its current homestand with a three-game series against Hudson Valley before hitting the road for a Northeast swing to Lowell and Connecticut.



Follow Robert Davidson on Twitter @robo_tweets.

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