The State College Spikes finished their fourth week of the season going 3-3 against the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, the Tri-City ValleyCats and the Auburn Doubledays. The Spikes had their first day off of the 2016 season on Thursday.
Saturday, July 2nd: Mahoning Valley Scrappers 1 at State College Spikes 4
State College’s 4-1 victory Saturday was led by the offensive power of left fielder Vincent Jackson. The 14th round draft pick of 2016 powered both his hits to the right-center field wall, allowing him time to reach third easily each time. Jackson’s pair of triples makes him only the eighth player in franchise history to hit two in a single game. The Tennessee native notched two RBI in the fifth with his second three-base hit.
The Spikes two other runs were scored on an error by the Scrappers in fourth and a sacrifice fly from Danny Hudzina in the sixth.
John Kilichowski made his first professional start against the Scrappers, allowing two hits and two walks, and striking out five. The 2016 11th round draft pick out of Vanderbilt threw three scoreless innings before Dewin Perez came on in relief, allowing two hits and two walks. Perez did allow Mahoning Valley’s only run in the ninth, but was awarded the win for pitching five innings nearly perfectly. Brady Bowen took the mound for the last inning and earned his first save.
WP: Perez, Dewin (2-0, 1.46)
LP: Miniard, Micah (0-2, 1.89)
Sunday, July 3rd: Mahoning Valley Scrappers 4 at State College Spikes 0
The only real excitement followed the conclusion of the game, when David “The Bullet” Smith shot out of a human cannon sitting behind second base and flew 142 feet up into the air and landed in a tarp over home plate. Other than that, 5,687 fans - the largest attendance so far in 2016 - saw their home team get shut out 4-0 by Mahoning Valley.
Jose Martinez recorded two hits and Danny Hudzina powered a line drive double to left field in the fifth, but a team total of six hits, three walks and nine strikeouts kept the offense from scoring.
Right-hander Carson Cross pitched eight innings, but took the loss after giving up all four runs, three earned, on five hits, two walks, one strikeout and one hit batter. Spencer Trayner tossed one inning in relief.
WP: McKenzie, Triston (2-1, 0.40)
LP: Cross, Carson (1-2, 4.38)
Monday, July 4th: State College Spikes 7 at Tri-City ValleyCats 9
State College secured an Independence Day win in New York, powering past the ValleyCats, 9-7. The Spikes were the first to score, taking a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. The ValleyCats answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning, but the Spikes pushed back to score two more in the second and kept up the momentum for the rest of the game.
The offense relied on the long ball, as Ryan McCarvel, Riley Drongesen and Danny Hudzina all homered. Vincent Jackson also brought in two runs, while adding a single and a double. Jose Martinez went 3-for-5 and Tommy Edman 2-for-5, scoring two runs apiece. The Spikes collectively notched 15 hits to overpower the ValleyCats’ 11 and mark their seventh straight victory on the road.
Steven Farinaro picked up the win after throwing 5 2/3 innings, allowing two walks and 11 hits. Although the right-hander had only one strikeout and hit a batter, his 85 pitch effort was enough to keep the ValleyCats at bay long enough for the offense to explode.
Bob Wheatley and Greg Tomchick both received holds after pitching one inning apiece, and Eric Carter picked up the save, walking one and striking out one in the ninth.
WP: Farinaro, Stephen (2-0, 5.56)
LP: Hill, Kevin (0-1, 11.25)
Tuesday, July 5th: State College Spikes 5 at Tri-City ValleyCats 6 (12 innings)
After 12 innings of back and forth with the ValleyCats, the Spikes lost the 6-5 decision on a bases loaded walk from Max Almonte. The ValleyCats took the walk off victory despite a strong effort from both the Spikes offense and defense.
Ronnie Williams was the most impressive player in the loss, throwing 7 1/3 innings of near perfect ball. The second-round draft pick from 2014 allowed just one hit in seven innings and struck out 17 batters in a row. However, the ValleyCats finally got to Williams in the eighth, scoring one run off three hits before the right-hander was replaced by Jordan DeLorenzo.
Jose Martinez launched his first home run of the year over the right field fence in the seventh, scoring two. Additionally, each member of the lineup besides Danny Hudzina and Ryan McCarvel notched at least one hit to contribute to the 12 hit total. However even though the Spikes outhit the ValleyCats 12-9, it wasn’t enough.
WP: Stutzman, Sean (1-0, 0.00)
LP: Almonte, Max (0-1, 7.71)
Wednesday, July 6th: State College Spikes 7 at Tri-City ValleyCats 5 (11 innings)
Wednesday’s victory marked the second extra innings contest of the series and the 7-5 decision allowed the Spikes to win the series 2-1.
Bryan Dobzanski went seven innings in his fourth start, allowing six hits and three runs, but only one was earned. The right-hander threw 60 strikes in 88 pitches, and recorded one walk, five strikeouts and one hit batter.
Tommy Edman hit his first home run as a professional, a three run power shot to left in the seventh that went nearly 380 feet before touching the ground. But after a scoreless 10th inning, the offensive moment of the game came in the 11th. Anthony Ray, Jose Martinez and Dylan Tice all had run-scoring singles to build a three run lead.
A solo home run from the ValleyCats in the bottom of the 11th pulled them closer, but reliever Eric Carter sealed the deal.
WP: Carter, Eric (1-0, 1.80)
LP: Sierra, Carlos (0-2, 8.44)
Thursday, July 7th: No game. Thursday marked the Spikes first off day of the 2016 season.
Friday, July 8th: Auburn Doubledays 0 at State College Spikes 3
Friday’s win over Auburn extended the Spikes’ lead in the NYPL Pinckney Division to three games. The 3-0 decision also signifies the Spikes’ ability to shut out their seemingly biggest threat, a task that surely gave the team a huge confidence boost.
The action kicked off in the first inning when Jose Martinez singled on a fly ball to left field. Two more singles to left from Vince Jackson and Ryan McCarvel scored Martinez. The score remained 1-0 until the seventh, when the Spikes notched their two final runs when Jackson slammed a line drive stand up double to center field, and Jeremy Martinez singled to score Jose Martinez. Jackson then scored on a throwing error by the Doubledays pitcher.
John Kilichowski (win) and Dewin Perez (save) kept the Doubledays from scoring, combining to allow just seven hits, three walks and six strikeouts. Starter Kilichowski went five innings before Perez sealed the deal with the final four. The Spikes’ defense remained strong behind its pitching staff, despite committing two errors.
WP: Kilichowski, John (1-0, 0.00)
LP: Bogucki, A.J. (0-1, 6.43)
Vincent Jackson. Jackson has been a consistent starter and a significant role in the lineup, whether as an outfielder or designated hitter. The Georgia native has 22 hits on the season with 11 runs scored, including four doubles and two triples. His batting average (.272) may not represent the true impact that Jackson has in the batting lineup, but the 14th round draft pick from this year is actually often the spark of the offense, allowing him to become a hitter the entire team relies on to get something going. Jackson has been hot this week with several doubles and Saturday’s historical two triples, but looking at the stats as a whole reveals that he has actually continued to be a key factor the entire season thus far.
Ronnie Williams. The second round draft pick from 2014 leads the staff with 23 strikeouts, a number significantly higher than any other. Williams has yielded just three walks and 10 runs in his four appearances and 27 1/3 innings pitched, posting a respectable 2.96 ERA. The right-hander’s 17 outs in a row on his impressive outing Tuesday night turned a lot of heads. Williams’ has continued to improve after allowing five runs in his first outing and looks to remain in an important starting role on the mound.
Carson Cross. Of all the pitchers from this week, Cross had a fairly weak performance. The right-hander threw eight innings on Sunday but took the loss after being responsible for all four of Mahoning Valley’s runs. Cross also now has the most losses of any Spikes pitcher (2) and has given up two long balls and 28 hits in only four appearances. His ERA is not horrible (4.38), but a two-year NYPL veteran should be able to handle an opponent’s lineup better than he did this week.
Tommy Edman. The infielder snagged MiLB.com’s Play of the Week award, after fans voted him in with 69% of the vote over five other video options. Edman made the snag on June 29th at home against Brooklyn. In the play, the shortstop sprinted into shallow left field and laid out to snag a falling pop fly that almost dropped in for a single. With Cyclones runners on first and second, the almost-single may have been a scoring drive, but Edman’s catch crushed Brooklyn’s opportunity.
New York-Penn League Pinckney Standings
1. State College Spikes (STL) [15-6]
2. Auburn Doubledays (WSH) [12-9]
3. West Virginia Black Bears (PIT) [10-11]
4. Williamsport Crosscutters (PHI) [10-11]
5. Mahoning Valley Scrappers (CLE) [5-16]
6. Batavia Muckdogs (MIA) [5-16]
The Spikes maintain their three game lead over the Doubledays in the Pinckney Division, with a 15-6 record.
7/2: Dailyn Martinez promoted to the Peoria Chiefs (single-A). Martinez was 2-1 pitching in State College, with the staff’s lowest ERA (0.96) of any starting pitcher. The right hander threw 18 2/3 innings, accumulating 17 strikeouts and three walks. The Dominican Republic native yielded 17 hits and six runs, two earned, before his promotion. Martinez was a consistent starter early in the season and the Spikes’ pitching staff will need someone to step up and fill in an important hole in the rotation.
7/7: Chris Rivera promoted to the Palm Beach Cardinals (Advanced-A). Rivera has already played 17 games in Palm Beach this year, before he was moved down to State College for 13 starts. The seventh round draft pick in 2013 recorded five hits and two runs in 34 at-bats, including three walks, a triple and an RBI. The Anaheim, California native now returns to Palm Beach, even though he has 10 strikeouts and a fairly disappointing batting average (.147), due to injuries to others above him. But Rivera’s leadership, powerful arm and quick feet promise plenty of starts for the catcher back at the A-Advanced level.
7/9: Robby Rowland joins State College on rehab stint from Springfield (Double-A). The reliever is working his way back from February surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, causing him to miss out on an invitation to big-league spring training camp. This will be Rowland’s first official action in 2016.
State College will finish out its three game home stand with the Auburn Doubledays on Sunday. The Spike will then take on the Tigers in Connecticut for another three game series, Monday through Wednesday. Following the road trip, the Spikes will round out the week by hosting Mahoning Valley for three games back home in State College starting on Thursday.
Follow Kara Duriez on Twitter @KaraDuriez.
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