STATE COLLEGE - Alex De Leon knocked in three runs to lead the State College Spikes' attack, and the Spikes came back to defeat the Brooklyn Cyclones, 4-3, in a rubber match between the two teams on Friday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
De Leon started the scoring with a two-run double in the first inning that was lined to the base of the 410-foot marker in the left-center field National Penn Bank Nook. In the seventh inning, the Kansas product ended the scoring with an RBI single through a drawn-in infield to break a 3-3 tie.
The Spikes (20-8) trailed, 3-2, heading into the fifth inning. However, Luis Cruz led off the inning with a walk, and after a one-out single by Darren Seferina, Robleys Reyes singled home Cruz to knot the score.
Brooklyn (15-13) had taken the lead after taking advantage of wildness on the part of State College starter Austin Gomber in the second inning, with runs scoring on a wild pitch and a passed ball. Another run scored on a Spikes error, but Gomber hung tough to stay on the mound for 4 2/3 innings. The left-hander yielded two earned runs on eight hits, a walk and a hit batsman while striking out two.
Kyle Grana took over for Gomber and logged 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Grana gave up a hit and a walk while recording five strikeouts.
Jacob Booden then tossed 1 1/3 innings of relief before giving the mound over to Joe Scanio (2) for the final two outs. Scanio picked up his second save in as many nights after stranding runners on first and second by eliciting a flyout to right and a groundout to first base.
De Leon was one of four Spikes with two hits, as Seferina, Reyes and Danny Diekroeger also contributed to the State College offense. Diekroeger also notched a ground-rule double that set up De Leon's go-ahead single in the seventh.
Cyclones reliever Gaither Bumgardner took the loss after giving up a run on three hits and two walks. Bumgardner struck out four in the effort. Carlos Valdez started for Brooklyn and allowed three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out five over five innings in a no-decision.
The win, combined with Batavia's loss to Aberdeen on Friday, gave State College a 3-game lead in the New York-Penn League's Pinckney Division. The Spikes also picked up their 20th win of the year in 10 fewer games than the Pinckney Division-winning 2013 Spikes needed to reach the plateau.
Saturday, the Spikes welcome a new opponent to town as the Staten Island Yankees come into Medlar Field at Lubrano Park for a 7:05 p.m. matchup to start a three-game series. Right-hander Will Anderson (2-1), who has earned victories in each of his last two starts while giving up just two runs and striking out 14 over 14 combined innings, gets the ball for State College.