Wick’s 14th homer propels Spikes, 6-3

BURLINGTON, Vt. – Rowan Wick smashed his 14th home run of the year to get within nine of the New York-Penn League single-season record, and Will Anderson produced another quality start to earn his fourth straight win as the State College Spikes defeated the Vermont Lake Monsters, 6-3, on Friday night at Centennial Field.

Wick’s home run, a two-run shot to right-center field in the fifth inning, capped the scoring and brought the North Vancouver, BC native closer to the short-season league record of 23 home runs set by John Hennell of Utica in 1982. The State College (25-9) slugger also reached base in his 23rd consecutive game, putting him one-game shy of the Spikes’ franchise record streak of 24 games set by David Rubinstein over the 2008 and 2009 seasons.

Anderson (4-1) yielded three runs on seven hits and a walk over six innings of work. The Spikes right-hander struck out four in his first road start of the season, and retired nine straight batters from the third inning to the sixth.

State College trailed, 3-1, going into the fourth inning, but got doubles from Alex De Leon, Nick Thompson and Ronnierd Garcia to tie the game. Collin Radack then singled to knock in the go-ahead run and give the Spikes a lead they would not relinquish.

De Leon, Radack and Jake Stone each collected multiple hits for State College, with Stone’s pair of singles extending his hitting streak to 13 games.

Kyle Grana struck out five batters over two innings of scoreless relief during the seventh and eighth. Joe Scanio (3) pitched a perfect ninth innings, including a strikeout, to earn his third save in as many opportunities.

Vermont (12-22) starter Jerad Grundy (0-4) took the loss after allowing all six Spikes runs on nine hits while striking out three over 4 2/3 innings. It was the first time Grundy allowed more than three runs in any of his seven starts on the year.

Joe Bennie and Trent Gilbert each delivered two hits for the Lake Monsters. Gilbert knocked in a pair of runs as well.

The win was the Spikes’ 14th in their last 16 games, and enabled them to remain in a tie with Hudson Valley for the NYPL’s best record. State College also increased its lead in the Pinckney Division to 6 1/2 games over Batavia.

Saturday, the Spikes begin a three-game series with the Tri-City ValleyCats. The two teams renew acquaintances after battling in the 2013 NYPL Championship Series, which Tri-City won two games to one.

Left-hander Dewin Perez (2-1) is set to get the ball for the Spikes to make his team-leading seventh start of the year. Tri-City will go with left-hander Randall Fant (0-0), who also pitched for the ValleyCats in 2013.