TROY, N.Y. Following a couple lackluster performances, State College Spikes manager Dave Turgeon had a few words for his team and put a few starters on the bench before it left for a six-game road trip.
The message was heard.
Appropriate for the Fourth of July, the Spikes broke out the offensive fireworks in a big way Wednesday evening with a season-high 15 hits and blasting three home runs in a 7-2 victory over Tri-City to end the ValleyCats 11-game win streak.
The home run total one was an inside-the-part shot from Barrett Barnes, who was 4-for-4 came one night after Samuel Gonzalez hit the teams first homer of the season. After 138 homerless innings, the Spikes now have four in the last 13 frames.
D.J. Crumlich, who was 3-for-5, added a leadoff shot to left in the seventh inning and Walker Gourley cracked a two-run shot to left in the ninth. Gourley, Chris Diaz and Ryan Hornback each added a pair of hits to the total as seven Spikes had at least one at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.
All that offense backed up a sparkling night on the mound for a quartet of State College pitchers as Adrian Sampson, Pat Ludwig and Josh Smith combined to give up just two hits and one run through seven innings. Kyle Haynes gave up one run and four hits to close out the final two innings.
Sampson, a fifth-round draft pick out of Bellevue (Wash.) Community College making his first professional start and just his second pro appearance, gave up an Austin Elkins home run to lead off the first, then didnt allow a hit and gave up just two walks while striking out three over his three innings.
Ludwig, Smith and Haynes combined for seven strikeouts, with Ludwig earning his first win.
Barnes, one of the players benched, got the offense going with a leadoff single in the third and scoring on a Crumlich single to tie the game. At that point, State College had already left seven runners on base off eight hits.
The fireworks broke out in the fourth, when Barnes blasted a pitch deep to left field, where the ValleyCats Dan Gulbransen made a leaping attempt to catch the ball. Gulbransen missed the ball, crashed into the wall, and the top of the wall fell on top of Gulbransen and the ball.
Meanwhile, Barnes circled the bases and scored, with Diaz crossing the plate ahead of Barnes after reaching on a double. It was the second inside-the-park home run in Spikes history, joining a shot by Nathan Southard in 2006.
The game got even more heated when on the very next pitch, when Tri-Citys Joe Bircher hit Samuel Gonzalez in the shoulder and was immediately ejected from the game. Bircher was tagged with the loss.
In the sixth, Jodaneli Carvajal reached on an error and tried to score on a Diaz double but was cut down at the plate. Diaz took third on the throw and scored on a Gonzalez groundout.
Following Crumlichs homer in the seventh for a 5-1 lead, Barnes continued his hot hitting and hustle. In the eighth, he hit a soft bouncer to center field and never let up around first base to turn it into a double. He was left stranded at second.
Tri-City cut into the margin in the eighth on an Andrew Aplin RBI single, but Gourleys two-run homer in the ninth, after a Hornback single, gave State College a little more cushion.
The teams will continue their three-game series at 7:05 p.m. today. Spikes lefty Joely Rodriguez (0-0) will face ValleyCat right-hander Brady Rogers (1-0).