UNIVERSITY PARK — The State College Spikes’ offense is hot. Scorching, that is.
After steamrolling the Mahoning Valley Scrappers 12-5 Tuesday, the Spikes completed the three-game sweep with a total of 41 hits and 28 runs and went 17-for-42 with runners in scoring position (.405).
“Wow,” said Bruce Caldwell with raised eyebrows. “I didn’t even know it was that good.”
On Tuesday night, four players had three hits; three players hit home runs and every starter in the lineup had a hit except New York-Penn League Player of the Week Cesar Valera.
The Spikes treated 2,709 fans at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park to a 17-hit night, which helped keep State College (14-8) tied atop the Pinckney Division with Jamestown.
Juan Castillo went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and fell a double short of the cycle.
With an unmistakable crack of the bat in the second, Castillo launched a solo homer to left that tied the game at two.
“It’s a different sound,” said Spikes’ manager Oliver Marmol. “He has some raw power and he’s got some filling out to do. That’s what’s interesting about him. He’s still a lanky kid for his frame.”
Luke Voit followed Castillo a pitch later with his first professional home run.
Jimmy Bosco went 3-for-5 and tied Valera for the team lead in hits with 27. Caldwell and David Washington each went 3-for-4.
Washington extended his hitting streak to 10 games and his RBI streak to nine straight games, adding two more to his league-leading 22. The 6-foot-5 lefty also hit a solo home run — his fourth in six games.
Victor DeLeon (1-1) earned his first win after relieving starter Willy Paulino, who made his first start of the season after starting the year in the bullpen. Paulino went four innings, gave up two runs (one earned) and struck out four.
DeLeon gave up three earned runs in one inning of work, but still got the win because of the offensive onslaught.
The Scrappers (7-16) took an early 2-0 lead in the first and even regained a short-lived lead with a three-run fifth before the Spikes ran away.
Starter Robert Whitenack (1-3) gave up six runs (four earned) on nine hits in four and two-thirds innings. He also gave up two homers and was ejected in the fifth after hitting Voit in the back after Castillo hit a two-run triple.
Kerry Doane pitched one inning in relief for the Scrappers and gave up six runs — all earned — on seven hits.
The Spikes scored six runs in the seventh inning on seven hits, including Washington’s homer to right field. The team has also reached 10 hits or more seven times already in July after just five times in June.
With offensive production like this how long can the Spikes expect to hold onto quality players before they get promoted to higher levels?
“That’s the beauty of this organization,” Marmol said of the St. Louis Cardinals. “We’re pretty strong all the way through. There are guys doing the same thing above them. Expectations are high everywhere. As far as movement, you never know. Right now these are the guys we’re going to battle with and we will again tomorrow.”
State College will travel to Aberdeen Wednesday for a three-game set with the Ironbirds. Jimmy Reed (1-0) will start for State College. Mitch Horacek (0-1) will pitch for Aberdeen.