NILES, O.H. - The State College Spikes took advantage of wild Mahoning Valley Scrappers pitching on Sunday, earning a 4-3 win to open a three-game series at Eastwood Field. State College (18-26) moved to 3-4 versus the Scrappers (29-18) with Sunday's win.
Mahoning Valley manufactured the game's first run in the bottom of the first inning. Tre Gantt knocked a one-out triple to the wall in right-center field to set the table. Mitch Reeves brought Gantt in with a sacrifice fly to put the Scrappers ahead 1-0 after one inning.
Scrappers starter Juan Mota cruised through the second and third innings, allowing just one baserunner between the two. State College began to work in the fourth and fifth innings. Justin Toerner walked to lead off the inning- one of four free passes allowed by Mota and one of six allowed by Scrappers pitching. Toerner stole second base and then advanced to third on the errant throw by Scrappers catcher Angel Lopez on the steal attempt. Kevin Woodall, Jr. brought him in with an RBI single that tied the game at 1-1.
Mota struggled and could not make it out of the fifth inning. Mota, along with reliever Adoni Kery, combined to allow three walks in the inning. Mota walked Alexis Wilson to start the inning. After a Nick Dunn pop out, Edwin Figuera reached on a fielder's choice. Mota walked Toerner to follow and was pulled in favor of Adoni Kery. Kery walked Kevin Woodall, Jr. - his first batter - on four pitches to load the bases.
Stanley Espinal delivered all three baserunners in with a double to the left-center field wall. With that, the Spikes jumped out to a 4-1 lead. State College plated all three runs in the fifth on just one base hit - Espinal's double.
The Scrappers offense went cold temporarily as State College's heated up. Mahoning Valley went four full innings without a base hit before Henry Pujols singled in the seventh inning. It began to heat back up in the eighth, but it was not hot enough to overcome the Spikes.
Jose Fermin closed the gap in the eighth inning with a solo home run off of Spikes LF Lars Nootbar's glove that ricocheted into the Spikes' bullpen. Fermin's first home run of the season cut State College's lead to 4-2. In the ninth inning, the Scrappers manufactured a run on a one-out RBI single by Henry Pujols to make it 4-3 State College. After Clark Scolamiero singled to move pinch runner Tyler Freeman to second, Angel Lopez and Ronny Dominguez struck out to end the game.
A pair of Scrappers hitting streaks were extended on Sunday. 1B Mitch Reeves' streak went up to 12 games with his single in the ninth inning. 3B Henry Pujols extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single in the seventh inning. Scrappers infielder Tyler Freeman (rest) did not record an at-bat on Sunday. He pinch-ran for Pujols in the ninth inning. Freeman's New York-Penn League season-high 17-game hitting streak continues into Monday.
The Scrappers and Spikes continue their series into Monday. Mahoning Valley's starter is to be determined, while State College is expected to send RHP Franyel Casadilla (1-1, 2.45 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Eastwood Field.
Every Monday Matters at Eastwood Field. Fans can bring a donation of a non-perishable food item, a gently-used article of clothing, or a children's book and receive a FREE general admission ticket. Presented by Pizza Joe's and 106.1 The Bull. For tickets, call or visit the Chevy All Stars Box Office at 330-505-0000 or click here.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.