O’Keefe’s blast lifts Spikes to W

From staff reports

STATE COLLEGE, PA Brian O’Keefe plated the game’s only run with a fifth-inning solo homer as four State College Spikes pitchers combined on the club’s second consecutive shutout in a 1-0 win over the Williamsport Crosscutters on Thursday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

With the victory, the Spikes (45-27) remain one game back of Hudson Valley for the top seed in the New York-Penn League playoffs, and the Pinckney Division champions are one game ahead of Tri-City for the second playoff seed in the four-team format.

O’Keefe’s home run off of Williamsport (32-40) starter Ricardo Pinto (1-5) on a 1-0 pitch was the first State College hit of the game, and one of just three for the Spikes. Robelys Reyes’s double and Jhohan Acevedo’s single were the other State College hits.

The Spikes received another stellar pitching effort, though, beginning with starter Daniel Poncedeleon (3-3). The right-hander yielded just four hits while striking out seven batters over five innings of work for the win. State College relievers then retired 12 straight batters over the last four frames to complete the victory. Brandon Lee recorded one strikeout over two perfect innings, while Nick Lomascolo registered two whiffs over 1 1/3 innings for his seventh hold of the year.

Kyle Grana (8) struck out the last two hitters of the game to earn the save and increase his strikeout total to 58, which is good for fifth-best in the New York-Penn League.

Pinto tossed seven innings for the Crosscutters, giving up all three State College hits and three walks while striking out nine.

Danny Diekroeger went without a base hit, ending his Spikes-record hitting streak at 21 games.

The win marked the first time State College posted back-to-back shutouts since June 21-22, 2012, and ran the Spikes’ scoreless streak to 21 innings.

Friday, the Spikes start their last home series of the regular season as they welcome the Batavia Muckdogs (Miami Marlins) to town. Right-hander Will Anderson (6-2), who is fifth in the NYPL in ERA at 2.52, gets the ball for State College. Batavia will go with left-hander Michael Mader (1-0). First pitch at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park will be at 7:05 p.m.