AUBURN, N.Y. — After State College’s sixth straight loss last week, starting pitcher Will Anderson felt the Spikes simply needed one game to spark the team’s bats and get back on track.
Anderson’s feeling proved to be right as State College has responded with five straight wins, including a three-game sweep of Auburn completed with a pair of wins Sunday at Falcon Park. State College took the first game of the doubleheader 4-1 and rallied for a 7-4 victory in the second game.
State College is hitting .319 during its five-game winning streak after batting .206 in six straight losses.
The victories reduced State College’s magic number to clinch the Pinckney Division title to five games with 13 games left in the regular season.
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The Spikes (38-25) scored in each of the first three innings to build a 4-0 lead in the first game Sunday.
Danny Diekroeger hit a solo home run to right field to give the Spikes the lead in the first. It was Diekroeger’s fifth homer of the season.
Luis Cruz blasted a two-run shot to left field in the second, and Brett Wiley, who finished 3 for 4, drilled a one-run single in the third to make it 4-0 State College.
Spikes reliever Brandon Lee allowed one run in two innings to earn the win. Spikes starting pitcher Trey Nielsen pitched four scoreless innings, and Kyle Grana struck out two in a scoreless seventh to pick up his sixth save.
In the second game, Jake Stone gave the Spikes a 1-0 lead on an RBI single in the first inning.
State College added to its lead in the top of the fourth when Brian O’Keefe singled home Wiley, who doubled with one out.
But Auburn (26-35) answered with four runs in the bottom half.
The Doubledays’ first six hitters reached base to chase Spikes starting pitcher Fernando Baez. Baez allowed four hits, two walks and all four runs in the inning.
State College reliever Kender Villegas, who was promoted from Johnson City on Saturday, entered and retired three straight in his first appearance. He went 2 1/3 scoreless innings.
The Spikes tied the game on a two-run homer by Robelys Reyes, his third of the season, in the top of the fifth. State College then took the lead with three runs in the seventh on RBI singles by Diekroeger, Nick Thompson and Stone.
Diekroeger is now on a 13-game hitting streak.
State College reliever Josh Lucas was flawless in the final 1 2/3 innings to earn the win.
The Spikes have an off day Monday before the New York-Penn League All-Star Game on Tuesday at MCU Park in Brooklyn, N.Y. Middle infielders Reyes and Darren Seferina and pitchers Anderson and Grana will represent the Spikes on the South team.
State College then hosts Auburn for a two-game series starting Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.