NILES, OH - Evan Mendoza smashed his third home run of the season and took the league lead in doubles with his 14th of the year, but the State College Spikes could not overcome an early surge from the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in a 6-3 loss on Sunday afternoon at Eastwood Field.
Mendoza's homer in the ninth inning, a solo shot to left field, was part of a late Spikes (25-21) flurry after Mahoning Valley (27-18) took a 5-0 lead through three innings. The Cardinals' 2017 11th-round draft choice, who won New York-Penn League Player of the Week honors for July 24-30, followed it with a 13-for-27 (.481) performance that included two home runs and six RBI over the previous seven days.
Bryce Denton 's single and an error put State College on the board in the seventh, with Mendoza's long ball and a wild third strike to Denton each scoring runs in the ninth.
The Scrappers jumped out in front on Simeon Lucas 's RBI double in the first, with Nolan Jones then adding to the lead with a two-run double in the second. Jesse Berardi then hit his first home run of the year in the third, a solo shot to make it 4-0, before Ulysses Cantu 's bases-loaded walk later in the inning.
Hosea Nelson also hit a solo homer for the Scrappers in the eighth, his first of the year.
Jonathon Mulford (2-4) started and took the loss for the Spikes after allowing five runs on seven hits and six walks, one of them intentional, over 2 2/3 innings. Mulford struck out two batters in the effort.
Mahoning Valley starter Gregori Vasquez (3-2) earned the win with six innings of scoreless, two-hit ball. Vasquez recorded three strikeouts.
Josh Lopez also produced a multi-hit game for the Spikes, his 12th of the season.
Monday, the Spikes and Scrappers finish their three-game series with a 7:05 p.m. matchup at Eastwood Field. State College will send left-hander Andrew Summerville (2-0) to the mound for the conclusion of a seven-game, six-day road trip. Mahoning Valley will respond with right-hander Zach Plesac (0-1) on the hill. Plesac is the nephew of longtime major league pitcher Dan Plesac.
Following the road trip, the Spikes will return home Tuesday for a six-game homestand from August 8-13 at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. The Hudson Valley Renegades (Tampa Bay Rays), come in for a trio of 7:05 p.m. games to start the homestand, with the Vermont Lake Monsters (Oakland Athletics) providing the opposition for 7:05 p.m. contests on Friday and Saturday, as well as a 6:05 p.m. game on Sunday.
The fun begins with Bark in the Park, presented by NEWSRADIO 1390 WRSC, on Tuesday night. Bring your favorite pup to the ballpark for four-legged fun, with special tributes to our canine friends throughout the night. Bark in the Park rules and regulations can be found online at StateCollegeSpikes.com.
Plus, it's $2 Walking Taco Tuesday, presented by B94.5, with the ballpark treat available for just $2 apiece all night long.
More highlights of the homestand include Ladies Night & Paint the Park Purple Night presented by Home Instead Senior Care and Juniper Village at Brookline to fight Alzheimer's disease on Thursday, August 10, the return of the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo on Saturday, August 12, plus a pair of Spikes hat giveaways and two FIREWORKS shows.
Tickets for all six games from August 8-13, as well as every game remaining on the Spikes' 2017 home schedule, are currently on sale through the Spikes Ticket Office by calling (814) 272-1711 or by visiting in person. Fans can also buy and download single-game tickets by visiting StateCollegeSpikes.com.
Catch all of the action on Monday via the Spikes Radio Network, presented by Penn State Sports Medicine, Official Healthcare Provider of Penn State Athletics, at 6:50 p.m. with Spikes Live, presented by Mount Nittany Health, on the air from Eastwood Field. The Spikes' radio broadcast can also be heard worldwide through the "Listen Live" link on StateCollegeSpikes.com, provided by the club's flagship radio home, Newsradio 1390 WRSC, as well as the TuneIn Radio app.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.