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Watkins shines on mound in Spikes debut

Kenny Piper (right) high-fives Spikes third-base coach Jermaine Mitchell after his first MLB Draft League homer, a solo shot in the eighth, on Sunday. (Steve Manuel)
June 13, 2021

BOX SCORE/PLAY-BY-PLAY (via PitchAware) UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Kenny Piper kept the State College Spikes close on Sunday with his first Major League Baseball Draft League home run, but the West Virginia Black Bears took a 4-1 decision at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Piper took a 3-2 pitch from

BOX SCORE/PLAY-BY-PLAY (via PitchAware)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.Kenny Piper kept the State College Spikes close on Sunday with his first Major League Baseball Draft League home run, but the West Virginia Black Bears took a 4-1 decision at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

Piper took a 3-2 pitch from West Virginia (9-5) reliever Madison Jeffrey over the left field wall into the Pepsi Picnic Pavilion for a solo homer to start the bottom of the eighth and make it a 2-1 game. The Columbia College product had launched two previous shots earlier in the series into the pavilion, but both of his previous efforts were ruled foul.

The Black Bears took the opening lead of the game on Garrett Spain’s sacrifice fly in the fifth, then extended their advantage when Grant Hussey tripled in a run in the eighth. Following Piper’s homer, Spain’s RBI double and Freylin Minyeti’s RBI single completed the scoring.

State College (7-10) starting pitcher Chase Watkins, who was named the starter on Sunday after joining the club the previous evening, produced a solid first MLB Draft League outing. The Oregon State southpaw tossed 3 1/3 scoreless frames and yielded just one hit and two walks while recording five strikeouts.

Reliever Andrew Moore (2-2) took the loss after allowing one run on two hits, a walk and a hit batsman over 1 2/3 innings. Moore, named the top pitcher in the MLB Draft League based on his pitching repertoire by Prep Baseball Report earlier this week, also struck out three batters.

West Virginia reliever Peyton Alford (1-0) picked up the victory after throwing two shutout innings. Alford gave up just one walk and hit batsman while striking out one batter. Michael Hobbs (1) pitched a perfect ninth inning, including two strikeouts, for the save.

After an off day on Monday, the Spikes will hit the road for a three-game series in eastern Ohio as they visit the Mahoning Valley Scrappers Tuesday through Thursday. State College will then take on the Williamsport Crosscutters at Muncy Bank Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field on Friday and Saturday before returning home on Father’s Day for a matchup against the Crosscutters.

The Father’s Day at the Ballpark matchup will start at 4:05 p.m., with gates open to the public at 3 p.m. Fans can bring Dad out for a great time and enjoy the fun themselves with the Spikes Father’s Day Gift Pack. The Gift Pack includes 4 Diamond Club or Field Box seats, 4 hot dogs, 4 regular sodas, a Spikes Pint Glass, and a $10 Spikes Gift Card, all for just $85. Plus, fans can enjoy a Post-Game Kids and Dads Run the Bases Home Run Edition.

For more information, and to purchase the Father’s Day Gift Pack, call the Spikes Ticket Office at 814-272-1711, or buy online at StateCollegeSpikes.com.

It’s also another Sunday Funday at the ballpark, presented by Bigfoot Country Legends, with $3 ice cream sundaes all game long and $3 16 oz. hard seltzers from 3-5 p.m.

Tickets for next Sunday’s game, as well as every game remaining on the 2021 home schedule, are currently on sale through the Spikes Ticket Office. Tickets can be purchased by calling (814) 272-1711 or by visiting the Ticket Office in person from 9 a.m. to the end of the game on gamedays Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to the end of the game on gamedays Saturday and Sunday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on non-gamedays Monday through Friday.

Fans can also buy and download single-game tickets by visiting StateCollegeSpikes.com.

Catch all of the action next Sunday via the Spikes Radio Network, presented by Penn State Sports Medicine, Official Healthcare Provider of Penn State Athletics, starting with Spikes Live, presented by Mount Nittany Health, on the air from Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. The game can be viewed worldwide on the *MLB Draft League *streaming platform at MLBDraftLeague.com/streaming, along with the “Listen Live” link on StateCollegeSpikes.com and the *TuneIn Radio *app.