State College Spikes Notebook: 2014 Week 11

The Cardinals' New York-Penn League club is zeroing in on a playoff berth as Daniel Poncedeleon is finding his groove on the mound.

With the New York-Penn League season nearing its close, the State College Spikes (40-26) have returned to their winning ways, going 4-1 this week. The Spikes have pushed their division lead to nine games over the Jamestown Jammers (PIT) with just ten games remaining in the regular season.

August 17 at Auburn (WAS) Game 1, Win 4-1 (F/7)

The Spikes plated all four of their runs in the first three innings and let their hurlers take care of the rest in first game of Sunday’s doubleheader.

Trey Nielsen started the game for State College and allowed just four hits and a walk over four shutout frames while striking out three. Brandon Lee followed Nielsen, allowed one run on a solo homer in the sixth, and won his second game of the season. Kyle Grana gave up a hit and struck out two batters in the seventh for his team-leading sixth save of the season.

August 17 at Auburn Game 2, Win 7-4 (F/7)

State College was trailing Auburn by two runs after the fourth but Robelys Reyes’ fifth inning two-run homer, his third of the year, knotted things up at 4-4. Following a scoreless sixth, the Spikes used a flurry of seventh-inning singles to take a three-run lead into the final half-inning.

August 19 NYPL All-Star Game

Two pitchers and two infielders represented State College in the 2014 NYPL All-Star game on Tuesday. The Spikes’ double-play tandem of Reyes and Darren Seferina came off the bench for the South All-Stars. Reyes went 0-for-2, while Seferina appeared as a pinch runner in the ninth inning and stole a base.

Will Anderson and Kyle Grana each hurled a scoreless frame in relief as the game ended in a nine-inning 1-1 tie.

August 20 vs. Auburn, Loss 4-5

Auburn jumped out to a three-run lead in the first inning on four hits and a walk, but State College plated runs in the second and fifth to be within a run heading into the eighth. After Nick Lomascolo gave up two runs in the top of the eighth, the Spikes responded in the home half of the frame as Chase Raffield doubled in a run and scored on a groundout to bring State College back within a run.

Raffield’s eighth-inning double was inches from being a game-tying home run, and the Spikes’ outfielder came to the plate with runners on and two outs in the ninth, but flied out to end the contest.

Kenny Peoples-Walls, Brett Wiley and Reyes each had two hits, and Luis Cruz went 3-for-5. Dewin Perez took the loss, falling to 5-2, as he allowed three runs on five hits and three walks in five innings. Jeff Rauh tossed two scoreless innings, and Joe Scanio worked a clean ninth, but Lomascolo gave up both Auburn runs, one earned, in the eighth.

August 21 vs. Auburn, Win 14-3

The Doubledays led the Spikes by three runs through four innings Thursday, but State College responded with fourteen runs to beat Auburn two touchdowns to a field goal.

Austin Gomber started the game for State College, and surrendered all three Auburn runs on eight hits and two walks in four innings. Brandon Lee relieved Gomber and earned his third win of the season with three scoreless innings. Grana tossed two shutout frames to wrap up the Spikes’ blowout victory.

While the Spikes’ relief pitching was solid, the offense was outstanding. Brian O’Keefe, Collin Radack and Jake Stone each collected a trio of hits, the latter two doubling twice, and only two Spikes did not knock in a run.

August 22 at Jamestown (PIT), Win 8-0

State College carried its offensive momentum all the way to Jamestown where it pounded out 14 hits en route to a shutout victory over the Jammers.

Five Spikes had two hits while Danny Diekroeger led the way with a 3-for-5 night in which he batted in a run and scored two more.

The Spikes’ hurlers took their turn in the spotlight, as Daniel Poncedeleon struck out eight over five innings, while allowing four hits and two walks. Lomascolo tossed a pair of hitless innings and Scanio and Lucas each worked a shutout frame. State College pitchers combined to strike out 15 Jammers and allowed just two walks and five hits.

At the Plate

Instead of the usual “At the Plate” segment, check out the first installment of TCN’s “Scouting the Spikes” series, in which I break down the Spikes’ roster from a scouting perspective. In this week’s installment, the first of five, I cover the Spikes’ infielders and catchers.

On the Mound

Daniel Poncedeleon’s eight strikeout performance at Jamestown is a season high for the 6-foot-4 righty. A 9th round pick in June, Poncedeleon has been inconsistent this season, but showed Friday that he has the stuff to compete as a professional, and is looking more comfortable with each passing start. Poncedeleon owns a 2.75 ERA and has struck out 45 batters, to 14 walks, in 39 1/3 innings.

Brandon Lee earned two wins out of the bullpen this week, both against Auburn, as he allowed seven hits, one walk and one run while striking out six in five innings of work. Opposing NYPL hitters are batting .315 against Lee this year, but he has walked just one batter and struck out 19 on the year.

Transactions

August 22 - INF Ronnierd Garcia promoted to Single-A Peoria
August 18 - RHP Kender Villegas transferred to Rookie-level Johnson City
August 16 - RHP Jacob Booden and RHP Tyler Bray promoted to Single-A Peoria; RHP Kender Villegas received from Rookie-level Johnson City

On the Horizon

State College will wrap up its weekend series at Jamestown, and head to Mahoning Valley (CLE) for a two-game mini-series before returning to State College for the final homestand of the season.



Follow Robert Davidson on Twitter @robo_tweets.

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