Spikes come back in 7th for 4-3 win

STATE COLLEGE – The State College Spikes ran their win streak to three in comeback fashion as five-straight hits in the seventh inning, capped by Bruce Caldwell’s RBI single, catapulted them to a 4-3 win over the Mahoning Valley Scrappers on Monday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

State College (13-8) has now won seven of its last nine games and, with Jamestown’s two losses to Batavia, has jumped into a tie for first place in the Pinckney Division.

Caldwell and Jimmy Bosco each produced RBI singles for State College as the Spikes erased a 3-2 deficit entering the seventh. Alex De Leon also had a big night with the first three-hit game of his professional career coming one game after his first professional home run.

David Washington started the scoring with a two-run homer to center field in the first inning off Mahoning Valley starter Caleb Hamrick. Hamrick, however, gave up only those two runs on four hits and a walk over six innings. The right-hander kept State College at bay and allowed the Scrappers to take the lead on Ryan Battaglia’s three-run homer in the fourth.

Cesar Valera, who was named the New York-Penn League Player of the Week for July 1 through 7 earlier in the evening, extended his on-base streak to 18 games with a 2-for-4 night that included a double, a run scored, and a stolen base.

Spikes starter Ben O’Shea (3-1) earned the win and became the second State College pitcher to log a seven-inning outing in the 2013 season. O’Shea yielded Battaglia’s homer, but battled back to keep the game close. The southpaw allowed a total of seven hits and a walk while striking out three. Kyle Webb (1) got the save with a one-hit ninth inning in which he recorded one strikeout.

Scrappers reliever Ben Heller (0-2) took the loss after giving up both of the Spikes’ seventh-inning runs and all five hits in his only inning of work. Heller struck out one.

Cody Ferrell went 3-for-4 for Mahoning Valley, while Scrappers Nellie Rodriguez and Juan Romero also collected multiple hits.

The game was delayed 15 minutes at the outset by a rain shower that passed through shortly before game time.

Tuesday, the Spikes complete a six-game homestand with the finale of their three-game set against the Scrappers. State College will send right-hander Willy Paulino (1-1) to the bump for the 7:05 p.m. matchup at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Paulino is making his first start of the year for the Spikes after appearing five times in a relief role. Mahoning Valley concludes the series with right-hander Robert Whitenack (1-2) starting on the mound.