Vince Jackson became the eighth player in State College Spikes history to record two triples in one game, and his three-baggers powered the Spikes to their 10th win in the last 11 games with a 4-1 victory over the Mahoning Valley Scrappers on Saturday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
The Spikes’ 12-4 start is the best in franchise history through 16 games, and State College now holds a three-game lead in the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division.
Jackson, the St. Louis Cardinals’ 14th-round draft choice out of Tennessee in 2016, hit both triples to the right-center field wall. The left fielder’s three-base hit in the fourth was followed by a Mahoning Valley (3-13) error to plate the game’s first run. In the fifth, Jackson’s triple brought in two runs to extend the lead to 3-0.
The pair of triples allowed Jackson to join Elevys Gonzalez, Taylor Lewis, Kirk Singer, Jodaneli Carvajal, Tyler Gaffney, Jhohan Acevedo, and 2016 Spikes teammate Danny Martin in the record book. Singer is the only Spike to have accomplished the feat twice, doing so on July 10 and 11, 2011.
Danny Hudzina brought home the Spikes’ last run with a sixth-inning sacrifice fly.
State College also received a strong pitching effort. John Kilichowski provided three scoreless innings in his second professional outing and first start. Kilichowski, the Cardinals’ 11th-round draft choice out of Vanderbilt in 2016, allowed two hits and two walks while striking out five.
Dewin Perez (2-0) then came on in relief and faced the minimum over his first five innings on the mound. Perez then yielded the only Mahoning Valley run in the ninth, but earned the win for his efforts. The southpaw struck out five and allowed two hits and two walks on the evening.
Brady Bowen (1) then retired the last three batters of the game in order and earned his first save of the season.
Erlin Cerda produced the lone Scrappers run with a sacrifice fly in the ninth. Gabriel Mejia collected three of the four Mahoning Valley hits and drew a walk.
Micah Miniard (0-2) took the loss for Mahoning Valley. Miniard started and gave up three runs, all of them unearned, on four hits and a walk over five innings. The right-hander struck out four in the effort.
The Spikes will now finish off a three-game series against the Scrappers, and a six-game homestand, with a 6:05 matchup on Sunday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. After originially scheduled starter Dailyn Martinez was promoted to Single-A Peoria on Saturday, right-hander Carson Cross (1-1) will now get the ball for State College. Cross will be starting on four days rest.
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