Danny Diekroeger set the tone for the State College Spikes offense as he extended his franchise-record hitting streak Tuesday night.
Diekroeger recorded the Spikes’ first two hits, including a two-run double that gave State College a lead it would never relinquish, in a 6-2 win over Mahoning Valley at Eastwood Field. State College has won 10 of its last 12 games.
The victory, combined with Tri-City’s 2-1 loss to Vermont, brought the Spikes into a tie with the ValleyCats for the No. 2 seed for the New York-Penn League’s playoffs, which begin next Wednesday. Hudson Valley maintained a two-game lead for the No. 1 seed for the four-team playoff.
Robelys Reyes scored twice and Nick Thompson drove in two runs for the Spikes, who finished with six hits.
Diekroeger finished 2 for 4, pushing his hitting streak to 20 games.
Spikes starting pitcher Dewin Perez allowed two runs on six hits in five innings to earn the win. Perez struck out three and walked two. Mahoning Valley starter Cameron Hill allowed two runs on one hit to take the loss.
The Spikes (43-27) took the lead in the third inning.
After Jhohan Acevedo walked and Reyes was hit by a pitch with two outs, Diekroeger doubled to left field for State College’s first hit, giving the Spikes a 2-0 lead.
After five innings, State College still had just one hit but led 2-1. The Scrappers (30-39) got on the board on Yonathan Mendoza’s RBI single in the bottom of the fourth.
Diekroeger came through with the Spikes’ second hit of the game in the top of the sixth, sending another double to left field after a leadoff walk by Reyes.
With Diekroeger and Reyes at second and third, Thompson singled to right field to push the Spikes ahead 4-1.
The Scrappers chased Perez from the game in the bottom of the sixth.
Perez allowed back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases with no outs. Right-hander Joe Scanio then replaced Perez and limited the damage by getting Mahoning Valley’s David Armendariz to ground into a double play. Bradley Zimmer scored on the play to bring the Scrappers within 4-2.
But Mahoning Valley never got any closer.
Scanio and Josh Lucas each pitched two scoreless innings to finish the game.
Brian O’Keefe and Brett Wiley drove in one run apiece in the eighth inning.
State College begins its final homestand of the season at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday against Williamsport. Austin Gomber (0-2, 3.27 ERA) is set to pitch for the Spikes, while Alejandro Arteaga (1-7, 4.59) will be on the mound for the Crosscutters.