Spikes overcome lead, Scrappers

STATE COLLEGE – The State College Spikes spotted the Mahoning Valley Scrappers a 3-0 lead, but brought forth an offensive deluge that included Alex De Leon’s first professional home run to sink the Scrappers, 12-3, on Sunday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

All three of Mahoning Valley’s (7-14) runs came in the third inning, but State College (12-8) scores in every frame after the fourth, including multiple runs in every inning from the fifth onward.

The Spikes took the lead for good in the fifth inning, using an RBI triple from Jimmy Bosco and Cesar Valera’s RBI double to tie the game, with a balk bringing Valera in with the go-ahead run.

De Leon, the Cardinals’ 23rd-round draft choice out of the University of Kansas this year, then smashed a 1-2 pitch to the Pepsi Picnic Pavilion in left field for a two-run shot off Mahoning Valley reliever Harold Guerrero in the sixth to extend the margin to 6-3. State College only revved up more after that, collecting a total of 14 hits.

Valera also had a big game, going 3-for-5 with three runs scored and one RBI while notching both a double and a triple. Bosco, Mason Katz, and Matthew Young put together multi-hit performances for State College as well. David Washington drove in three runs on a 1-for-4 night at the plate.

Spikes reliever Kevin Herget (3-0) got the win despite allowing all three Scrappers runs in the third. Herget yielded a total of six hits over three innings of work, but only two of them from the fourth inning onward.

Chase Brookshire started and tossed two scoreless innings in his professional debut for State College. Brookshire, the Cardinals’ 20th-round draft choice out of Belmont University in Tennessee this year, gave up one hit but faced the minimum six batters thanks to a double play. The righty struck out two.

Mitch Harris and Jacob Booden also threw two scoreless innings apiece to finish out the game. Harris retired all six batters he faced while Booden, making his first Spikes appearance, struck out five batters over his mound tenure.

Mahoning Valley starter Luis Lugo (1-2) took the loss. Lugo, who came into the game ranked first in the New York-Penn League in earned run average, gave up four runs, all earned, on six hits and a walk while striking out two. The southpaw, who retired the first eight batters he faced, also balked twice.

Juan Herrera had a two-run double for the Scrappers, while Juan Romero went 2-for-3 with a run batted in.

Monday, State College faces Mahoning Valley in the middle game of their three-game set at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. The Spikes will send left-hander Ben O’Shea (2-1) to the mound for his second appearance against Mahoning Valley this year. Meanwhile, right-hander Caleb Hamrick (1-3) gets the ball for the Scrappers.