STATE COLLEGE – The State College Spikes built a 4-1 lead, but saw it go away as the Aberdeen IronBirds tied the game in the ninth inning and took a 5-4 win in 10 innings on Friday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Despite the loss, State College (32-16) maintained a nine-game lead in the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division, and the Spikes are just a game back of Hudson Valley for the best record in the NYPL.
State College scored three runs in the sixth inning to break open a 1-1 tie, with Jhohan Acevedo’s single plating a pair. Brian O’Keefe then hustled home to score on Robelys Reyes’s foulout sacrifice fly to third base to stake the Spikes to a three-run edge.
Aberdeen (17-30) responded with Austin Anderson’s two-run double in the seventh inning to draw within 4-3. The IronBirds then tied the game back up in the ninth when Jay Gonzalez scored on an error.
In the tenth, Riley Palmer led off for Aberdeen with a walk, and scored on Jamill Moquete’s triple to left-center field for the eventual game-winning run.
O’Keefe went 2-for-4 with a double to lead the Spikes offense. The State College catcher was also hit by his league-leading tenth pitch of the year. Reyes and Chase Raffield also produced multiple hits for the Spikes.
Kyle Grana (3-2) took the loss in relief for the Spikes after allowing two runs, but only one earned, over 1 1/3 innings across the ninth and tenth. Grana gave up one hit and walked four batters, one intentionally, but struck out three as well to bump his season total to 42. The Bellarmine product now holds the second-best total in that category in the entire NYPL.
IronBirds reliever Luc Rennie (1-1) earned the win with six innings of relief from the fourth onwards. Rennie gave up three runs on four hits, a walk and a hit batsman.
The loss was the Spikes’ first of the season when leading after eight innings.
Saturday, the Spikes welcome the Hudson Valley Renegades (Tampa Bay Rays) to town for the opener of a big three-game series at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. The 7:05 p.m. matchup could be a potential playoff preview, as both State College and Hudson Valley lead their respective divisions.
Right-hander Daniel Poncedeleon (1-2) gets the start for the Spikes, while the Renegades are slated to send right-hander Enderson Franco (4-1) to the hill.
-Spikes Media Relations