NILES, Ohio State College rallied from an early deficit to stake a 5-4 lead in the eighth, only to see Mahoning Valley rebound for two runs in the home half of the inning and take the series opener 6-5 on Thursday night at East-wood Field.
The Spikes (7-4) fell behind in the first inning when the Scrappers (4-7) Charlie Valerio doubled in a run to give Mahoning Valley the early lead. State Colleges deficit grew in the second, when Jairo Kelly became the first Spikes opponent to hit a home run this season driving a three-run shot to right field off of starter Jason Creasy.
State College brought the lumber, however, and rebounded with four runs in the third off of Scrappers starter Geoffrey Davenport. The surge started when Rodarrick Jones delivered his first hit of the year with a ground-rule double to right field. Jodaneli Carvajal then dropped down a bunt and beat it out for a single. After a passed ball scored Jones, D.J. Crumlich doubled to score Carvajal to cut the Spikes deficit to 4-2.
Chris Diaz then drove in the third run with a base hit to score Crumlich, as Ryan Hornback tied the game with a single to center field.
The Spikes moved ahead in the fifth when Walker Gourley walked, moved to second on an errant pickoff throw and scored on David Valesentes RBI single. Valesente started his first game for the Spikes this season on Thursday as the designated hitter.
As State College led 5-4 heading into the bottom of the eighth, it was Mahoning Valley that was on the attack. After back-to- back singles off of Spikes reliever Tom Harlan (1-1) to lead off the inning, Scrapper Jeremy Lucas completed a 4-for-4 night with another single to center to tie the game. Joseph Wendle followed by driving in the game-winning run with a pinch-hit sacrifice fly to right.
Carvajal and Diaz had multi-hit performances for the Spikes on the evening.
Harlan took the loss after allowing both Mahoning Valley runs in the eighth inning. The left-hander yielded a total of six hits over two total innings while striking out two batters.
Scrappers reliever Enosil Tejeda (2-0) pitched the last two innings to get the victory. Tejeda allowed just one ninth-inning walk and struck out two batters in the winning effort.
Lucas doubled as part of his four-hit performance, while Kelly and Valerio rapped three hits apiece for Mahoning Valley.
The Spikes and Scrappers return to action at 7:05 p.m. tonight in the second game of their three-game series. State College will send left-hander Joely Rodriguez (0-0) to the mound, while Mahoning Valley will go with right-hander Jake Sisco (0-1).