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Spikes start FIREWORKS early with win at Mahoning Valley

Lukas Cook hit his second homer of the season to get the offense started in Tuesday night's win at Mahoning Valley. (Steve Manuel)
July 21, 2021

BOX SCORE/PLAY-BY-PLAY (via PitchAware) NILES, Ohio – State College Spikes fans can enjoy FIREWORKS From the Field starting on Friday, but the Spikes got a head start on the fireworks Tuesday night at Eastwood Field behind Lukas Cook’s second home run inside of a week as they topped the Mahoning

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

NILES, Ohio – State College Spikes fans can enjoy FIREWORKS From the Field starting on Friday, but the Spikes got a head start on the fireworks Tuesday night at Eastwood Field behind Lukas Cook’s second home run inside of a week as they topped the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, 13-7.

Cook, a product of Walters State Community College in Tennessee, sent an 0-1 pitch from Mahoning Valley (19-22) starter Jason Rackers (0-1) over the left-center field wall in the third for a two-run shot to increase the Spikes’ (18-24) lead to 3-0. Since the Major League Baseball Draft League’s restart on July 15, Cook is 7-for-18 (.389) at the plate with four runs batted in over five games.

After a wild pitch and subsequent error netted two more runs in the fifth, State College used a pair of big innings to blow the game open. In the sixth, newcomer Trent Lewis singled in one run and Michael Dolcean singled in two more as part of a five-run frame. The Spikes added three more runs, two on walks and one more on a hit batsman, in the seventh to increase their lead to 13-1.

Dolcean drove in a total of three runs in his first game with the Spikes, while Lewis and Marques Paige each knocked in two. Hylan Hall stole two bases, including a steal of home in the first inning, as the Spikes nabbed four bases as a team to improve their single-season team record to 96 steals over 42 games.

The Spikes also has a patient eye at the plate, drawing a total of 11 walks and seeing three runners reach base after being hit by pitch.

Jared Kengott made his first start in his return to State College, allowing one run on two hits and two walks while striking out two batters over 3 1/3 innings. Kiernan Higgins (1-0) then entered the game in the fourth and tossed 2 2/3 innings of scoreless, two-hit ball to earn the win. Higgins struck out five batters in the effort, and reduced his ERA to 0.39 for the season, still the lowest mark for any MLB Draft League pitcher with 20 or more innings.

Rackers started for Mahoning Valley and took the loss after yielding five runs, four of them earned, on a total of seven hits, two walks and a hit batsman over 4 2/3 innings. The right-hander struck out six batters on the night.

Jarrod Belbin went 2-for-4 with three runs batted in, and his three-run homer in the eighth served as the centerpiece of the Scrappers’ six-run frame that served as their last gasp of offense.

Wednesday, the Spikes and Scrappers meet in the middle game of their three-game series at Eastwood Field. Starting pitchers have not yet been determined for either team in the 7:05 p.m. matchup.

Following the road trip, the Spikes return home to Medlar Field at Lubrano Park to take on the Williamsport Crosscutters. Spikes fans will have the chance to carry the spirit of a historic, record-breaking Fourth of July forward with FIREWORKS From the Field and a $4 ticket discount to all remaining Spikes home games with a Fourth of July ticket.

Starting with a FIREWORKS Weekend that features back-to-back shows on Friday, July 23 and Saturday, July 24, all fans are invited to come down onto the field for an unprecedented view of the five remaining newly enhanced and lengthened FIREWORKS shows from the Spikes and their official FIREWORKS provider, Starfire Corporation.

Additionally, fans who were part of the historic, record crowd of 7,183 on July 4 can relive that spirit with a $4 ticket discount for all ten remaining home games. The $4 discount, which excludes seats in the Geisinger Champions Club and Pepsi Picnic Pavilion, can be claimed by presenting a digital or printed ticket from the Spikes’ Fourth of July game at the Spikes Ticket Office.

Tickets for all five remaining FIREWORKS From the Field dates starting on Friday, 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 on Friday 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.