Spikes hot bats grab twinbill

AUBURN, N.Y. – Andrew Warner smashed two home runs and ran his RBI total to a league-leading ten over the first four games of the year to lead the State College Spikes to 11-9 and 7-0 wins over the Auburn Doubledays in a makeshift doubleheader on Monday at Falcon Park.

Warner, whose three-run double was the last action before play was suspended on Sunday in the second inning, kept the Spikes (3-1) going when the game resumed Monday morning with a two-run homer to left field off Auburn (0-3) reliever Nelson Galindez.

The product of Columbia College in Missouri then followed with a three-run shot in the second inning of the second game on a 3-2 pitch from Carlos Romero (0-1), giving him eight runs batted in for the two-game series in Auburn.

Monday’s first game consisted of the resumption of Sunday’s suspended game, with State College up, 6-5. The Spikes took advantage of four straight walks from Galindez to start his mound stint to add two more runs in the second for an eight-run frame. Carlos Soto’s sacrifice fly added another run before Warner’s first homer of the day provided the eventual winning runs.

State College’s big second was helped by three Auburn errors, all with two outs, that prolonged the inning. Stanley Espinal began the frame with a single and Matt Duce followed with a double. Dariel Gomez and Martin Figueroa also knocked in runs with RBI groundouts before Warner’s bases-clearing two-bagger.

Spikes starter Nathaneal Heredia saw his first professional mound appearance cut short after just 2/3 of an inning after reaching 35 pitches. Heredia committed back-to-back balks to bring in Caldioli Sanfler with the game’s first run. On the first pitch after the second balk, Phil Caulfield then hit a solo home run to right field to make it 2-0.

Heredia allowed three more walks and a wild pitch while striking out one before being lifted. Reliever Junior Gonzalez (1-0) then came in with a 3-2 count to Colton Pogue, and forced a grounder. However, third baseman Luis Flores’s errant throw to first got away, allowing three runs to score.

The Doubledays added two runs in the second on another Flores error, followed by a wild throw to third by Duce. In the third, Jesus Morales plated a run with an RBI single an, while Caulfield capped the scoring with a double down the right-field line to bring in Morales.

State College’s Gonzalez picked up his first win of the year in game one despite throwing just six pitches in 1/3 of an inning before the rains came on Sunday. The right-hander was the pitcher of record when the Spikes erupted for eight runs.

The losing pitcher for Auburn was Pedro Gonzalez (1-0), who was tagged for seven runs, only two of them earned, on four hits and a walk over 1 2/3 innings. The Doubledays’ Gonzalez also notched one strikeout.

State College took control early in the second game, a seven-inning affair. Andres Luna doubled to start the game and scored on a dropped catch by Sanfler in center field. Espinal then smashed his first homer of the year, a two-run shot to left off Romero, to extend the lead to 3-0.

Following Warner’s second blast of the day, Luna brought in the last run with his second double of the game in the third.

Hector Soto and Martin Cordova (1-0) combined to produce the Spikes’ first shutout of the year in the second game. Soto gave up three hits and a walk while striking out four over four innings. Cordova received credit for the win after allowing a hit to the first batter he faced, Eric Senior, and then retiring the next nine hitters in order. Cordova also struck out one batter in the effort.

The Spikes will now return home to Central PA before heading back on the bus Tuesday to take on the Williamsport Crosscutters (Philadelphia Phillies) in a 7:05 p.m. matchup at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field. The game will begin a three-game set between the two teams.

Left-hander Jacob Schlesener (0-0) will make his first start of the year for State College. Schlesener struck out ten batters over four innings against the Crosscutters on August 16, 2018 to tie the Spikes’ single-game record. Williamsport is slated to send right-hander Leonel Aponte to the mound.

Following Tuesday’s contest, the Spikes will head back home to host the Crosscutters in 7:05 p.m. games on Wednesday and Thursday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.