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Spikes top Scrappers in blowout

NILES, Ohio – Luis Flores gave the State College Spikes a lead they would not relinquish with a three-run homer in the second, and the Spikes trimmed their deficit in the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division to two games with four left in the regular season as they topped the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, 8-1, on Thursday night at Eastwood Field.

Flores homered for the second consecutive at-bat after hitting a solo home run in his last at-bat of Wednesday night’s game as he took an 0-2 pitch from Mahoning Valley (35-36) starter Daniel Espino (0-2) deep to right field. The long ball was the Spikes’ (37-35) shortstop’s second of the year, and he finished 2-for-5 with four runs batted in.

State College added onto the lead with Donivan Williams’s sacrifice fly in the fourth, then tacked on two more runs with Matt Duce’s double in the fifth and a two-out single from Flores in the same frame.

Dariel Gomez then capped of the Spikes’ night with his third home run of the series and sixth of the season as he delivered a two-run shot to left. Gomez and Stanley Espinal both collected three hits in the game.

Mahoning Valley scored its lone run on a Joab Gonzalez RBI single in the fifth.

Enmanuel Solano (4-7) produced his fifth straight quality start with six innings of work for the win. Solano yielded one run, stopping his shutout streak at 13 innings, on four hits and a hit batsman while striking out two batters. The right-hander was coming off earning the New York-Penn League Pitcher of the Week honors for August 19-25 following his eight shutout innings on Saturday at Batavia.

Connor Lunn and Jack Ralston combined for three scoreless innings, two for Lunn, to complete the victory.

Espino, the Cleveland Indians’ 2019 first-round draft choice, took the loss after giving up three runs on a total of four hits and three walks over three innings. The right-hander struck out six batters in the outing.

The Spikes outhit the Scrappers, 14-4, for the game.

Friday, the Spikes complete their three-game set at Eastwood Field against the Scrappers with a 7:05 p.m. matchup. Right-hander Scott Politz (3-3) gets the ball for State College against Mahoning Valley right-hander Brian Eicchorn (4-3).

Following the trip to Ohio to take on the Scrappers, the Spikes will face the Williamsport Crosscutters (Philadelphia Phillies) at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field on Saturday before returning to Medlar Field at Lubrano Park for the regular season home finale on Sunday.

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