Spikes Travel for Series Against Scrappers

The 1-5 State College Spikes head to Ohio to play the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (CLE).

After season-opening series against the Phillies-affiliated Williamsport Crosscutters and the Nationals-affiliated Auburn Doubledays, the State College Spikes are on the road as the team travels to Niles, Ohio to play the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (3-3) on their territory – Eastwood Field.

In the opener, both the Spikes and the Scrappers - affiliated with Cleveland - will send right-handed pitchers to start. On the Spikes’ side, pitcher Jorge Rodriguez (0-0) will open his second game of the year, while the Scrappers will give the ball to 1-0 pitcher Jose Zapata.

Zapata and teammate Austin Fisher are the only two players remaining from the previous year’s Scrappers. During the 2014 season, Zapata went 1-2 while playing in 20 games and pitching 36 1/3 innings with an ERA of 2.97. This season, Zapata has only pitched in three innings over two games, with no runs allowed on three hits and four strikeouts.

Fisher, a shortstop, appeared in 46 games last year but batted just .196. This year, Fisher has appeared in five out of Mahoning Valley’s six games with only two hits in 15 at-bats, both doubles.

On the Spikes’ side, there are three returning members: pitcher Ian McKinney, catcher Brian O’Keefe and shortstop Leobaldo Pina. Kenny Peoples-Walls was called up to Peoria on Wednesday.

The first time the Spikes played Mahoning Valley in the 2014 season was at the end of July. By then, State College had won 26 out of their 37 games played.

In game one against the Scrappers in 2014, State College lost 3-1 but redeemed themselves the next day with a 5-3 decision. Four days later, the two played a three-game series of which the Spikes won two: the first (8-5) and the last (13-8). The Spikes went on to play five more games against the Scrappers, winning four (including a two-game series) and losing one.

So far this season, Mahoning Valley has a 3-3 record with two losses to West Virginia in their opening series and one loss to Batavia. However, they won their first game against West Virginia and two of the three outings against Batavia. Their losses have been by pitchers Casey Shane, Jared Robinson and Johan Puello, while their wins were from pitchers Shao-Ching Chiang, Jose Zapato and Brock Hartson.

The Spikes have lost five games: their three-day opening series against Williamsport and the last two of the three-game set against the Doubledays. Ian McKinney has taken two losses while the others were charged to Pedro Echemendia, Tyler Bray and Dailyn Martinez. The only State College pitcher with a win to date has been Juan Perez.

Through six games, the Scrappers are tied for the New York-Penn League lead in runs scored with 47 while State College has just under half, at 23. Mahoning Valley’s team ERA is ninth in the league at 4.40, while the Spikes are third-to-last at 5.53.

Follow Stephanie Panny on Twitter @StephaniePanny.

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