State College hitters welcomed left-hander Ian McKinney back to the club with plenty of support Tuesday.
The first-place Spikes belted 17 hits and turned back a late rally in rolling to a 13-8 victory over Mahoning Valley in the rubber game of a three-game series on Tuesday at Eastwood Park.
Robelys Reyes had three hits, including his second home run of the season, two lead seven starters who had multiple hits in the game. Danny Diekroeger scored four runs and drove in three as the Spikes (31-14) racked up multiple runs in four of their at-bats.
Fresh back from a stellar stint at Johnson City, McKinney (1-1) pitched well in his return before tiring in the seventh inning. The 19-year-old pitcher retired 14 consecutive hitters at one point as the Spikes built a 9-1 lead.
With the score tied at 1-1 entering the third, Robles belted a two-out solo homer to right field to give State College the lead for good. Diekroeger followed with a single and three consecutive walks brought him home to make 3-1.
The Spikes chased Santana an inning later.
Luis Cruz led off with a single and moved to second on a balk. One out later, Darren Seferina bunted for a hit and Cruz scored as Scrapper catcher Francisco Mejia threw it away.
With two outs, Seferina swiped second and went to third on Mejia’s second error. Diekroeger then walked. Alex De Leon, who had doubled in a run in the first inning, plated Seferina with a single to center. Jake Stone then singled on a liner that hit Santana and plated Diekroeger. Santana left the game
State College’s hitters continued to pour it on, tacking on three more runs in the sixth.
With one out, De Leon walked and moved to third on Stone’s single to right. Nick Thompson belted a RBI double to center to score De Leon. Collin Radack then plated Stone and Thompson with s single to center to make it 9-1.
McKinney allowed a run in the sixth, then couldn’t get out of the seventh. Two doubles, a single, a balk and McKinney’s only walk led to four runs as the Scrappers (19-26) closed to within 9-6.
State College iced it with four runs in the ninth. DieKroeger delivered the big blow with a three-run homer, his fourth of the season, to right field.
Jhohan Acevedo, Diekroeger, De Leon, Stone, Radack and Cruz had two hits each.
Bradley Zimmer and Mejia each had three of Mahoning Valley’s 12 hits. Steven Patterson had two hits and scored four runs.
The Spikes return home to face Aberdeen to start a six-game homestand on Wednesday. Right-hander Will Anderson (4-1, 2.72) will start against a yet-to-be-named IronBird pitcher.