The State College Spikes couldn’t muster enough offense Friday night, as they fell 2-1 to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers at Eastwood Field in Niles, Ohio.
The game was deadlocked 1-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth, but Scrappers right fielder Will Benson drove a line drive over the fence in right center field to record what would prove to be the game-winning solo shot. Mahoning Valley reliever Felix Tati retired the side in the ninth to pick up the pitching win.
Mahoning Valley had nine hits to the Spikes’ three. Overall, State College’s top six batters went a combined 1 for 23. State College was also 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.
With the loss, the Spikes fall to 38-32 while the Scrappers improve to 40-29.
Players of the game
Mahoning Valley pitchers Sam Hentges and Felix Tati: These two pitched two nearly perfect games. Hentges went 4 2/3 innings and allowed just one hit — a home run to Matt Davis — while striking out eight and walking one. Tati was even better. He pitched four innings, struck out three, walked one — and allowed just one hit. Tati faced just 13 batters.
Top of sixth: State College had one man on second with one out and was on the cusp of breaking the 1-1 tie — but Bryce Denton grounded out on a 2-2 count, and Wood Myers struck out swinging to end the inning. That was as close as the Spikes would get to scoring the rest of the way.
Received: Infielders Imeldo Diaz and Irving Lopez were received Friday from Rookie-level Johnson City. Diaz played earlier this season for State College, playing as recently as July 16, before being sent to Johnson City. He was batting .304 for the Spikes before being sent to Rookie-level ball. Lopez is the St. Louis Cardinals’ 19-round draft pick in 2017.
State College at Mahoning Valley, 7:05 p.m. Saturday: Spikes pitcher Daniel Castano (8-3, 2.82 ERA) is set to take on Gregori Vasquez (4-3, 2.20 ERA). The Spikes will return home on Sunday.