NILES, OH – State College Spikes starter Trey Nielsen yielded just one hit and one walk over four shutout innings, but the Spikes fell victim to a late rally by the Mahoning Valley Scrappers and took a 3-2 loss on Monday night at Eastwood Field.
Despite the loss, the Spikes (30-14) maintained a lead of 8 ½ games in the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division over both Williamsport and Batavia.
Nielsen, the Cardinals’ 30th-round draft choice out of Utah in 2013, faced the minimum 12 batters over his four innings on the mound, erasing a first-inning walk with a 1-4-6-3 double play and wiping out a third-inning Austin Fisher single with a pickoff at first.
State College led, 2-0, after five innings, but Mahoning Valley (19-25) started its comeback whenOrdomar Valdez tripled in the sixth inning and scored on Fisher’s groundout. In the eighth inning, the Scrappers took the lead for good on a balk and a bases-loaded single by Steven Patterson.
Eight different Spikes collected hits in the game, including four doubles. Collin Radack and Luis Cruz each delivered two-base hits to plate the game’s first run in the second inning. State College added to the lead in the third when Alex De Leon singled and an error on the play brought in Nick Thompson.
Spikes reliever Kyle Grana (3-1) took his first loss and his first blown save after yielding the go-ahead run in the eighth inning. Grana gave up two hits and two walks, one of them intentional, while recording his 39th strikeout of the year.
Luis DeJesus (3-3) got the win in relief for the Scrappers after throwing three scoreless innings. DeJesus allowed one hit while striking out one. Luke Eubank (1) got his first save in three opportunities by striking out the side during a one-hit ninth inning.
Patterson and Fisher each collected multi-hit games for Mahoning Valley.
Tuesday, the Spikes and Scrappers finish their three-game set with a 7:05 p.m. matchup at Eastwood Field. Left-hander Ian McKinney (0-1), who returned to the Spikes on Monday after going 2-0 with a 1.26 ERA over eight starts with Rookie-level Johnson City, gets the ball for State College. Mahoning Valley with go with right-hander Juan Santana (0-5).
-Spikes Media Relations