The State College Spikes continue to bounce back and forth between wins and losses. Of the seven games played this week, the Spikes won three – the last against Lowell, the first against Batavia and the first against West Virginia. Their record is now 22-24.
Saturday, August 1: State College Spikes (4) versus Lowell Spinners (5)
Location: State College – Medlar Field at Lubrano Park: 7:05 p.m. ET. [Game 2]
The Spikes dropped a 5-4 decision to Lowell in their second game of the series, allowing the Spinners to eclipse their 4-0 lead.
Jhohan Acevedo tied the Spikes record with two triples while collecting three RBI. Acevedo hit a bases-loaded triple in the first and followed up in the second with another three-bagger with two outs. The center fielder, who was called back to the Spikes from Peoria, is now one of eight Spikes to triple twice in one game – the last being Danny Martin on June 21, 2015.
Cole Lankford brought Acevedo home on a single one batter later to bring the score to 4-0. However, Lowell began to rally with big hits in the fourth, seventh and eighth and the Spikes lost the lead – and the game – by one run.
Carson Cross started for the Spikes and pitched six innings, only yielding one run on four hits and a walk while striking out six. In the seventh, reliever Kevin Alexander entered in a one out-bases-loaded situation caused by Tyler Bray after two runs were already in. Another Bray run came in on a sac fly to tie the game. Alexander then gave up the winning run in the eighth on a triple and RBI ground out. The right-hander went 2 2/3 innings and yielded two hits and a walk while striking out four.
WP: Boyd, Logan. (2-0) [3.46]
LP: Alexander, Kevin. (0-1) [1.59]
Sunday, August 2: State College Spikes (6) versus Lowell Spinners (3)
Location: State College – Medlar Field at Lubrano Park: 6:05 p.m. ET. [Game 3]
The Spikes struck early to take the lead over the Lowell Spinners and win, 6-3.
For the second night in a row, Jhohan Acevedo was instrumental in a big lead-off first with his three-run double – a bases-loaded, two-out, line-drive down the left-field line. Earlier in the inning, Casey Grayson’s RBI groundout had scored the first run.
Grayson brought in Michael Pritchard in the second with another RBI groundout to make the score 5-0. However, Lowell mounted an attempted rally in the fourth with a bases-loaded double that scored three runs, but the Spikes were able to hold them until they could increase the margin with one more run in the seventh.
Starter Ian McKinney took the win after going five innings while yielding three runs on five hits and three walks and recording seven strikeouts. Reliever Luke Harrison pitched two scoreless and was relieved by Pedro Echemendia, who got the final six outs for the save.
Over the three-game series against Lowell, the Spikes pitching staff as a whole posted 35 strikeouts.
WP: McKinney, Ian. (4-2) [2.76]
LP: Rodriguez, Javier. (0-3) [7.27]
Monday, August 3: State College Spikes (9) at Batavia Muckdogs (1)
Location: Batavia – Dwyer Stadium: 7:05 p.m. ET. [Game 1]
The Spikes took another early lead to stay ahead of the Muckdogs in the opening game of the series on Monday night.
Leobaldo Pina finished the game just a triple shy of a cycle, driving in four runs. He doubled in the first, hit a two-run homer in the fifth and singled in the seventh. Like Acevedo on Saturday night, Pina had the chance to become the Spikes’ second player in franchise history to hit for the cycle, but filed out to left field in his final at-bat. As a team, the Spikes had 13 hits.
The Spikes also scored via an RBI triple in the fifth from Josh Swirchak (who collected three hits) and a solo home run from Orlando Olivera, his second, in the eighth. The last run was knocked in by Acevedo.
Jorge Rodriguez kept the Muckdogs at bay over his seven innings, yielding one unearned run on five hits and a walk while striking out six and extended his streak of 23 consecutive innings on the road without allowing an earned run. Reliever Jacob Evans finished the game with a scoreless pair.
WP: Rodriguez, Jorge. (3-2) [2.63]
LP: Neuback, Travis. (1-2) [3.22]
Tuesday, August 4: State College Spikes (NA) at Batavia Muckdogs (NA)
Location: Batavia – Dwyer Stadium
The Tuesday night game against Batavia was postponed due to rain – more specifically, wet grounds after inclement weather passed through the area earlier in the day. It would be made up as part of a doubleheader of two seven-inning games on Wednesday.
Wednesday, August 5: State College Spikes at Batavia Muckdogs
Location: Batavia – Dwyer Stadium: 5:05 p.m. ET. and 7:05 p.m. ET. [Games 2/3]
[Game 2] Spikes (1) at Batavia (2)
The Spikes dropped the opener of the doubleheader in a 2-1 decision after 10 innings.
Casey Grayson’s three hits (while reaching base four times) increased his average to .338 – the leader in the New York-Penn League. Leobaldo Pina scored the Spikes’ only run on a RBI groundout from Orlando Olivera.
[Game 3] Spikes (1) at Batavia (3)
In the nightcap, the Spikes lost again in a 3-1 decision, despite Olivera’s attempts to close the gap. With an RBI double in the sixth, the 2-0 deficit was cut in half and Michael Pritchard attempted to tie the game – only to be thrown out at home plate.
Starter Juan Perez took the loss after tossing five innings, giving up two runs on six hits, two walks and a hit batsman while striking out six.
Thursday, August 6: State College Spikes (7) at West Virginia Black Bears (6)
Location: Granville – Monongalia County Ballpark: 7:05 p.m. ET. [Game 1]
The Spikes won their first game against the Black Bears in this series in a 7-6 decision in 10 innings.
West Virginia came back from a four-run deficit to tie the Spikes and force an extra inning. Thomas Spitz collected a RBI double – two-out, two-base hit down the third base line – allowing Jhohan Acevedo to score the winning run. Top efforts at the plate included an RBI double from Grayson, a RBI single from Lankford, and a third homer from Olivera.
Kevin Alexander was awarded the win, after putting in two innings’ work in relief of starter Landon Beck. Beck retired eight via the strikeout over 5 2/3 innings while allowing two runs on nine hits. Alexander allowed two runs on three hits and a walk with one strikeout.
WP: Alexander, Kevin. (1-1) [3.52]
LP: Keselica, Sean. (0-2) [4.60]
Friday, August 7: State College Spikes (1) versus West Virginia Black Bears (4)
Location: Granville – Monongalia County Ballpark: 7:05 p.m. ET. [Game 2]
In the second game against West Virginia this series, the Spikes lost to the Black Bears 4-1.
Catcher Jesse Jenner collected a pair of hits and scored a run, with Craig Aikin collecting an RBI single. Ronnierd Garcia, who returned to the lineup about a month after he was hit in the groin area on a line drive, had an eighth-inning single.
Starter Carson Cross took the loss after pitching 5 1/3 innings. Cross gave up four runs on nine hits while striking out two.
WP: Agrazal, Dario. (5-3) [2.67]
LP: Cross, Carson. (1-2) [3.29]
Jorge Rodriguez. Rodriguez pitched the third game against Batavia, and in seven innings on the mound, only let in one unearned run on five hits and a walk while striking out six. Rodriguez also continued a streak of 23 consecutive innings on the road without allowing an earned run. With a record of 3-2 and an ERA of 2.63, Rodriguez – in the eight games he has started – has yielded 13 runs on 29 hits, 12 errors, two home runs and 14 walks. Rodriguez has struck out a total of 29 batters.
Casey Grayson. After making it to the top of the NYPL batting race, Grayson has now moved down to third place. With a batting average of .336, Grayson is .002 shy of where he was earlier this week (.338). In 44 games and 154 at-bats, Grayson has collected a total of 25 runs in 51 hits, 27 RBIs, 27 walks and 39 strikeouts. This past week, Grayson had three hits and reached base four times against Batavia (Wednesday, August 5) – increasing his on-base-percentage to .429 – as well as collected two RBI groundouts in the game against the Lowell Spinners (Sunday, August 2).
Leobaldo Pina. This week, Pina has moved to the 24th position on the leader board for the NYPL batters with an average of .281. In 44 games and 171 at-bats, Pina has gathered 18 runs on 48 hits, two home runs (the second of which was achieved this week on Tuesday, August 4 against Batavia), 25 RBI, 10 walks, and 32 strikeouts.
Cole Lankford. Lankford, with an average of .219, is starting to pull out of his slump – he had an RBI single this past week and has been getting on base in the past couple of games – but still has the one of the lowest averages on the team. In 42 games with 160 at-bats, Lankford has collected 15 runs on 35 hits.
After the August 2 game against Lowell, left-handed pitcher Ian McKinney was promoted to single-A Peoria. McKinney, in his last game with the Spikes, held the Spinners at bay as he yielded three runs on five hits and a walk while striking out seven.
As noted above, Ronnierd Garcia returned to the lineup after missing a month with a groin injury.
New York-Penn League Pinckney Division Standings
1. Williamsport Crosscutters (PHI) [30-17]
2. West Virginia Black Bears (PIT) [24-23]
3. Auburn Doubledays (WSH) [22-24]
4. State College Spikes (STL) [22-24]
5. Mahoning Valley Scrappers (CLE) [21-24]
6. Batavia Muckdogs (MIA) [19-26]
1. Connecticut Tigers (DET) [23-22]
2. West Virginia Black Bears (PIT) [24-23]
3. Brooklyn Cyclones (NYM) [23-23]
4. Aberdeen IronBirds (BAL) [22-24]
5. Auburn Doubledays (WSH) [22-24]
6. Hudson Valley Renegades (TB) [22-24]
The Spikes are seventh for the wild card, but back just a game and a half. The IronBirds, Doubledays and Renegades – along with the Spikes, have the same 22-24 record.
What is Next
Saturday night, the team plays its last game against West Virginia and then returns for a three-game home stand against Mahoning Valley. Then, the team heads back on the road again Wednesday through Friday to play at Brooklyn before they come back home again on Saturday for a two-day series against West Virginia.
Follow Stephanie Panny on Twitter @StephaniePanny.
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