TROY, NY - Zach Kirtley and Brandon Benson led a resurgent State College Spikes offense with a homer apiece, and Sam Tewes put together a strong outing on the mound to lead the Spikes to a 10-4 victory over the Tri-City ValleyCats on Wednesday night at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.
Kirtley, the Cardinals' 2017 fifth-round draft choice out of St. Mary's (CA), smashed a solo shot to left for first professional home run to tie the game at 2-2 in the fifth inning. Benson, the 20th-round choice of the Cards in 2017 out of Georgia College, then followed with his second pro homer, a two-run blast to left, to finish a three-run sixth and give the Spikes (12-10) a lead they would not relinquish.
Another 2017 Cardinals draftee, third-round pick Scott Hurst of Cal State-Fullerton, then provided the capper to a five-run eighth with a bases-clearing triple to plate three runs.
Tewes (2-2) bolstered the offense by hurling seven innings of two-hit ball for his second professional victory. The righty retired the last seven batters he faced and yielded a total of five hits and a walk while collecting one strikeout.
The 10-run game, one night after the Spikes were shut out, was the second double-digit scoring effort for State College this season. The win also snapped a three-game losing streak.
Reliever Colin McKee (0-2) took the loss for Tri-City (8-13) after allowing six runs, five of them earned, on three hits and three walks over 3 2/3 innings. McKee threw four wild pitches, three of which enabled Josh Lopez to score from first in the sixth, and struck out four batters.
Jake Adams hit his fifth homer of the year, a two-run shot to left, in the first inning to give the ValleyCats the early lead. Luis Payano went 3-for-5 with a double for Tri-City as well.
Thursday, the Spikes face the ValleyCats at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in the rubber match of a three-game set. The Spikes will send left-hander Daniel Castano (4-0), the New York-Penn League's wins and strikeouts leader, to the mound for the 7 p.m. matchup. Tri-City will go with left-hander Carlos Hiraldo (0-2).
The Spikes will then head to MCU Park on Coney Island for a three-game weekend series against the Brooklyn Cyclones (New York Mets).
Following a pair of road games on Monday and Tuesday of next week at the Williamsport Crosscutters (Philadelphia Phillies), the Spikes come back home next Wednesday for a 7:05 p.m. matchup against the Crosscutters. Fans will enjoy the nationally acclaimed Salute to Conspiracy Theories Night, with the Spikes donning special Conspiracy Theory Themed Jerseys which will be up for bids in a Jersey-off-the-Back Auction presented by PSECU to benefit Children's Miracle Network.
Tickets for the July 19 game, as well as every game 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 Thursday via the Spikes Radio Network, presented by Penn State Health, at 6:45 p.m. with Spikes Live, presented by Mount Nittany Health, on the air from Joseph L. Bruno Stadium. 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.