Vince Jackson (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

In-depth weekly news from the St. Louis Cardinals’ short-season Class-A affiliate in the New York-Penn League for the period of August 20-26

With a 43-23 record, State College has a 9 ½-game lead in the Pinckney Division and is just one game away from clinching. Vince Jackson and Ryan McCarvel are driving in key runs and Andy Young comes up big at the plate, too. Steven Farinaro is named NYPL Pitcher of the Week.

The State College Spikes started the week going 2-1 while visiting the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. The Spikes then returned home to Medlar Field to take two and drop one to Batavia, with the loss by just one run. A 2-0 loss to Auburn on Friday ended the week on poor note for the Spikes, but a victory on Saturday would clinch the Pinckney Division.

 

Game Summaries

Saturday, August 20th: State College Spikes 13 at Mahoning Valley Scrappers 8

The Spikes set a single-game franchise record with 23 hits to power past the Scrappers, taking the 13-8 victory on Saturday night.

Every Spikes player recorded at least two hits, with Andy Young, Ryan McCarvel, Vince Jackson, Yariel Gonzalez and Elier Rodriguez all contributing three hits apiece. Young, Jackson (4 RBI) and Danny Hudzina all homered in the record-breaking game.

Bryan Dobzanski started, throwing the first 3 ? innings, but gave up five runs, all earned, on eight hits and two walks. Max Almonte followed with 2 ? innings, yielding one earned run on three hits and was awarded the win. Almonte threw 24 pitches, 20 for strikes. Gerwuins Velazco tossed the final three, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk and earned the save.

WP: Almonte, Max (2-1, 3.67)

LP: Hillman, Juan (3-3, 4.08)

SV: Velazco, Gerwuins (2)

 

Sunday, August 21st: State College Spikes 5 at Mahoning Valley Scrappers 0

State College shut out Mahoning Valley Sunday night, thanks to an impressive performance from the three men on the mound. The 5-0 decision marks the Spikes’ second shutout of the season.

The Spikes generated enough offense to tally five runs, getting on board with two runs in the first after Vince Jackson knocked in Tommy Edman with a triple to shallow right field, and Ryan McCarvel hit a sacrifice fly to score Jackson. The Spikes added another run in the eighth after capitalizing on a Scrappers’ error. The offense capped the scoring in the ninth when Edman tripled to deep right to score Mick Fennell, followed by Andy Young singling to plate Edman.

But the results were really made possible by the pitching staff. Jordan Hicks tossed the first five, allowing just four hits and a walk while striking out four, earning the win. His efficient performance was followed by two innings from Connor Jones. Jones struck out one and yielded one hit over the pair of scoreless innings. Eric Carter finished the game, earning the six-out save, giving up one hit and one walk, while striking out one.

WP: Hicks, Jordan (3-1, 2.18)

LP: Tully, Tanner (3-1, 1.45)

SV: Carter, Eric (6)

Monday, August 22nd: State College Spikes 2 at Mahoning Valley Scrappers 4

The Spikes were unable to sweep the Scrappers on the road, falling 4-2 on Monday night after a less than spectacular outing from Carson Cross.

State College scored first when Tommy Edman doubled to start the game, and scored on Vince Jackson’s RBI single. Ryan McCarvel’s solo home run in the sixth was the Spikes second and final run. McCarvel’s bomb over the right field fence marks his eighth this season, ranked third in the league. Although Joey Hawkins did not have any runs batted in, the infielder went 2-for-3 in his first start as a Spike.

Cross started and took the loss after giving up four runs on seven hits and three walks over five innings. Spencer Trayner tossed the final three, yielding two hits and striking out two.

WP: Aiken, Brady (2-0, 3.46)

LP: Cross, Carson (4-5, 3.54)

SV: Matthews, Kenny (1)

 

Tuesday, August 23rd: State College Spikes 6, Batavia Muckdogs 1

State College defeated Batavia in Game 1 of the home series, with a performance from Steven Farinaro that held the Muckdogs to only one run. Two Batavia errors and a hit from every Spikes’ batter gave State College the 6-1 victory.

Vince Jackson led the offense with a solo home run in the fifth, the outfielder’s fourth of the year. Joey Hawkins (1-for-4) knocked in two runs with a single and a bases loaded force out. Andy Young, Riley Drongesen and Danny Hudzina all had one hit and one RBI apiece to spread the offense throughout the rest of the lineup.

Farinaro started, throwing six powerful shutout innings. The right-hander gave up three hits and a walk, while striking out five to earn his eighth win. Jhonatan Escudero pitched one inning and gave up a home run and a walk. Max Almonte closed out the game after giving up one hit and striking out one.

WP: Farinaro, Steven (8-1, 4.04)
LP: Diaz, Jose (0-6, 6.69)

 

Wednesday, August 24th: State College Spikes 5, Batavia Muckdogs 6

After trailing Batavia 6-3 for a majority of the night, the Spikes came back to score single runs in the eighth and ninth, falling just short.

Ryan McCarvel was an essential part of the battle back, tallying four RBI, including the final run in the ninth. After McCarvel’s single, a sacrifice bunt from Elier Rodriguez put runners on second and third with one out. Pinch hitter Ricardo Bautista was then intentionally walked, the first Spikes player to do so this year. Mick Fennell had the opportunity to tie or win the game with a single, but instead hit a hard one hopper right back to the pitcher, who began a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning and the game.

Starter Dewin Perez took the loss after giving up three runs on three hits and two walks but getting just two outs. Jordan DeLorenzo followed with 3 ? innings that kept State College within range, yielding two runs on four hits and three walks, and striking out four. Gerwuins Velazco tossed the next four innings, giving up one run on four hits and one walk. Brady Bowen came on in the ninth and allowed just one hit.

WP: Wells, Hunter (2-0, 1.80)

LP: Perez, Dewin (3-4, 4.53)

SV: Delgado, Victor (1)

 

Thursday, August 25th: State College Spikes 15, Batavia Muckdogs 3

A season-record crowd of 5,733 fans witnessed State College take the final game from Batavia in an explosive 15 run, 16 hit game. The 15 runs marked a season high for the Spikes.

Andy Young made headlines with his grand slam in the seventh. The shot to deep left was Young’s third home run this season. Every batter but Tommy Edman had at least one hit, including Mick Fennell and Yariel Gonzalez, who had three hits apiece. Edman did walk four times to tie the Spikes’ single-game walk record and took back the lead in the NYPL in walks this season at 43. Three errors and four wild pitches from Batavia gave State College room to pile on the runs in the fifth through eighth innings.

The bullpen-led effort from starter Greg Tomchick, Spencer Trayner and Eric Carter was enough to keep Batavia to only three runs. Tomchick tossed four frames, allowing all three of Batavia’s runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out three. Trayner followed with three scoreless innings, giving up just one hit and striking out three to earn the win. Carter threw the last two, yielding two hits and striking out one.

WP: Trayner, Spencer (1-0, 0.61)

LP: Smith, Chad (1-2, 9.30)

 

Friday, August 26th: State College Spikes 0 at Auburn Doubledays 2

In Friday night’s road game in Auburn, the offense was the complete opposite of the powerhouse that complied 16 hits and 15 runs the night prior.

Jeremy Martinez had two hits, but his teammates could not get him across the plate. Riley Drongesen and Mick Fennell both notched one hit apiece, to combine for a very quiet team total of four hits.

Bryan Dobzanski tossed seven strong innings as the starter, on nine hits and two walks, including one home run. Dobzanski only yielded two earned runs. Connor Jones came on in relief in the eighth to give up two hits but no walks or runs.

WP: Mills, McKenzie (4-4, 3.38)
LP: Dobzanski, Bryan (4-6, 4.03)

SV: Morse, Phil (3)

Who’s Hot

http://www.scout.com/player/159916-vince-jackson?s=321

Vince Jackson. Jackson is currently second in the NYPL in runs batted in with 43. The outfielder also hit two home runs this week, tallying seven RBI in five starts. A 6-for-21 (.285) week puts Jackson on the hotlist, as he becomes even more consistent in getting big, as well as timely, hits. Jackson has been a steady hitter in the three spot for almost the entire season, and this week was no different.

http://www.scout.com/player/200681-ryan-mccarvel?s=321

Ryan McCarvel. Although McCarvel had recently been struggling at the plate, the catcher / first baseman picked up the pace this week with timely hits, going 9-for-24 (.375) and knocking in plenty of runs (8), displaying his importance as a power hitter. His home run on Monday was a highlight in the Spikes effort, despite the loss. The Howard College product walked twice and scored twice in six starts.

http://www.scout.com/player/209736-andy-young?s=321

Andy Young. Young’s grand slam on Thursday puts him on the hot list this week. The shot to deep left field marked the infielder’s third home run this season and the 11th slam in Spikes history. Overall, Young went 8-for-29 (.275) with six RBI, two home runs and six runs scored.

Steven Farinaro. Farinaro makes the hot list again this week for his recognition as the New York-Penn League Pitcher of the Week. The Hayward, California native earned the honor for his spectacular performance on the 17th, throwing seven powerful innings. Farinaro was strong again this week, tossing six innings and giving up three hits and a walk, while striking out five. The 11th round draft choice of 2013 now has the best record in the league at 8-1.

Who’s Not

Dewin Perez. Dewin Perez threw 39 pitches to get just two outs in the first inning on Wednesday night. The 21-year-old gave up three hits and three runs after facing just seven batters. Manager Johnny Rodriguez was forced to take him out before the damage increased even further. After the loss, Rodriguez declined to comment on Perez’s performance. Perez has a 3-4 record with a 4.53 ERA, compared to the team ERA of 3.19.

Bladimil Franco. Franco made three starts this week, but went 0-for-10 with no RBI and no walks. The hitting slump has earned him a spot on the cold list. The only numbers in Franco’s stats this week are his two strikeouts on Monday. The Dominican Republic native struggled to get anything going offensively when given the chance, and his playing time suffered because of it.

Ricardo Bautista. Although Bautista is often called in to provide a powerful hit, his inconsistency at the plate makes him a problem to keep in the lineup regularly. He recorded five hits this week and started in right field in all seven games, but this spark of offense from the Puerto Rico native will likely not last long, and is overshadowed by his league leading 75 strikeouts. Bautista struggles to continuously hit well, which is what the Spikes’ need up and down the lineup if they want to succeed in the playoffs.

 

Awards

http://www.scout.com/player/179942-steven-farinaro?s=321

Steven Farinaro was selected as the New York-Penn League Pitcher of the Week for the period of August 15th-21st, marking the Spikes’ fifth player to earn the honor in franchise history. The right-hander struck out a career-high eight batters over seven spectacular innings against Williamsport last Wednesday.

“I have a lot of trust in Jeremy because I know he’s got my back behind the plate. I have shaken off very few pitches from him recently because I know we have a good thing going,” Farinaro said about catcher Jeremy Martinez.

“I know that my defense and my coaches have my back and right now I’m just playing for them. It’s great to be honored, but that’s not what I’m really concerned with right now. I’ve continued to learn from my coaches to take every game pitch by pitch.”

The Cardinals’ 2013 11th-round draft pick gave up just four hits and yielded no runs. On Tuesday night this week, Farinaro kept his momentum going with a 6-1 win over Batavia, yielding again just four hits and no runs to mark his eighth win of the 2016 season (.404 ERA). Farinaro is now tied with Tyler Cox (2009) and Kevin Decker (2010) in Spikes’ history with eight single-season wins.

 

Something to forget

Wednesday night’s game started off extremely slowly due to both teams scoring early and both pitchers struggling to throw efficiently. The two teams combined to toss 72 pitches, leading to what was nearly a 40-minute first inning. Spikes starter Dewin Perez threw 39 of the 72, in which he gave up three runs on three hits and two walks.

 

Something to remember

During Thursday’s “Cowboy Monkey Rodeo” performance in which three monkeys ride border collies while herding sheep, one of the sheep made its way onto the field when it wasn’t supposed to. After the Spikes scored a run and the BB&T “Nookie Monster” jumped out from its door in the outfield to celebrate, a solo sheep managed to sneak its way through the open door and gallivant through the outfield mid inning. The comical incident only delayed the game for less than five minutes, but the hilarious video captured by MiLB’s cameras was noticed at the national level. Sports Center even reposted the video to its Instagram page and the clip has since gotten a lot of attention.

Watch the video here: http://www.milb.com/multimedia/vpp.jsp?sid=milb

 

Team Stats

Batting     Pitching  
R 340   R 265
H 585   H 580
HR 31   HR 19
RBI 298   SO 438
SO 421   BB 198
BB 244   ER 209
AVG 0.259   ERA 3.19

State College currently leads the league in runs scored and runs batted-in, while ranking second in hits and third in walks and home runs. The Spikes however rank third lowest in number of stolen bases (48).

State College has given up five less hits than they have recorded offensively (580). The Spikes rank sixth in team ERA (3.19), seventh in runs given up and 10th in walks allowed. However, the pitching staff strikeout count is relatively low, ranked 12th at 438.

 

New York-Penn League Pinckney Division Standings

1. State College Spikes (STL) [43-23]

2. Williamsport Crosscutters (PHI) [33-32]

2. Mahoning Valley Scrappers (CLE) [33-32]

4. West Virginia Black Bears (PIT) [31-35]

5. Auburn Doubledays (WSH) [26-38]

6. Batavia Muckdogs (MIA) [17-47]

The Spikes remain in first place with a 9 1/2 game lead over Williamsport and Mahoning Valley, who are tied for second place in the Pinckney Division. In the McNamara Division, Hudson Valley leads with a 42-22 record.

 

Transactions

8/20 - INF Joey Hawkins was received from the Springfield Cardinals (Double-A). Hawkins has now played for four different teams in 2016, playing games for the GCL Cardinals and making his way all the way up to Springfield. The infielder hit .174 in Springfield before being transferred down to the single-A level Spikes. However, Hawkins was transferred again, this time back down to Johnson City after just five days with the Spikes (8/25). The Missouri State product made two starts for State College, going 3-for-7 with two runs batted in.

 

Injuries

Anthony Ray remains out with concussion symptoms for the second consecutive week. The center fielder has not started since he was first taken out for protocols on August 11th.

Tommy Edman was hit in the head last Friday night before the bottom of the second inning while he was warming up at shortstop. The mishap caused Edman to be removed from the game to be checked out by a trainer, but the 21-year-old started the next day without any complications.

 

Up Next

State College will complete last two road games in Auburn, followed by a three game home stand starting on Monday, hosting the Aberdeen Ironbirds for the first time this season. The Spikes will then close out the busy week by starting a three game series on the road in Mahoning Valley.

 

Follow Kara Duriez on Twitter @KaraDuriez.

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