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Spikes rally, but fall to Scrappers

From staff reports

NILES, Ohio – Dariel Gomez smashed two home runs and Luis Flores added another, but it was not enough as the State College Spikes dropped a 5-4 decision to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers on Wednesday night at Eastwood Field.

With the loss, the Spikes (36-35) dropped to three games back of the lead in the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division with five games remaining in the regular season. State College is also four games out of the race for the league’s lone Wild Card berth, with four teams ahead of them.

Gomez, who collected a total of three hits, started the State College scoring with a majestic solo shot to right field in the fourth inning off Mahoning Valley (35-35) starter Carlos Vargas (5-4). The Spikes’ first baseman then stepped up with a man on in the eighth and reduced a 5-1 deficit to 5-3 with a two-run shot to right field off reliever Andrew Misiaszek.

Gomez became the second player to hit two home runs in the same game for the Spikes in 2019. Andrew Warner also produced a pair of round-trippers on July 13 at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park against Staten Island.

In the ninth, Flores homered to left field off Misiaszek for his first home run of the season to trim the margin to 5-4. However, Jerson Ramirez (6) then came on and retired the next three Spikes batters in order, two via strikeout, to pick up the save for Mahoning Valley.

The Scrappers built the lead with two runs in the third on a Korey Holland double and Brayan Rocchio’s infield single. Mahoning Valley then stretched the lead in the fifth when the combination of a Jeremy Randolph wild pitch and a Cameron Knight throwing error plated Rocchio.

In the sixth, Jonathan Lopez singled in another run and an errant pickoff throw by Randolph scored another to complete Mahoning Valley’s scoring.

Spikes starter Junior Gonzalez (3-6) took the loss after allowing three runs, two of them earned, on three hits and five walks. Gonzalez struck out three batters in the effort.

Vargas earned the win for the Scrappers with a run on six hits and a walk while striking out six batters over 5 2/3 batters.

Thursday, the Spikes continue their three-game series against the Scrappers with a 7:05 p.m. matchup at Eastwood Field.

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