The ball jumped off Ryan McCarvel’s bat and soared into the sky.
It landed on a set of steps beyond the left-field fence and bounced toward the scoreboard.
McCarvel’s solo home run pushed his season-total to five and gave the Spikes the lead for good in a 9-3 win over Mahoning Valley (10-19) on Saturday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. State College (19-10) snapped a four-game losing streak and broke out of its offensive slump by scoring in each of the first five innings.
“We did play well today,” Spikes manager Johnny Rodriguez said. “I saw them in the clubhouse before the game. They were quiet, a good quiet intensity. I said, ‘I like it.’ I like they were focused because they got to see the position they’re in. They have a chance to be special.”
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McCarvel finished 2 for 4 with three RBIs, while teammates Tommy Edman and Matt Davis each drove in two runs.
Davis delivered with the bases loaded to give the Spikes an early lead.
The State College third baseman lined a single to right field in the first inning, driving in a pair of runs.
“I wasn’t trying to do too much,” Davis said, adding he was looking to go the other way during the at-bat.
After Mahoning Valley scored three runs in the top of the second, State College’s Riley Drongesen scored on a sacrifice fly by Edman in the bottom half to tie the game.
The next inning, McCarvel crushed a changeup over the left-field wall for a home run to give his team a 4-3 lead.
“It was just a good pitch in a zone that’s really hot for me right now and just put a really good swing on it,” McCarvel said.
McCarvel drove in two more runs in the fourth to help State College start to pull away.
The Spikes still led by one run when McCarvel stepped in the batter’s box with the bases loaded. The first pitch sailed past his head and to the backstop, allowing Edman to score. Two pitches later, McCarvel pulled a single down the left field line to make it 7-3.
Drongesen’s RBI triple and Edman’s RBI double pushed the lead to 9-3 in the fifth.
Cruise control: Spikes starting pitcher Steven Farinaro stayed perfect.
The right-hander improved his record to 4-0, allowing three runs in six innings to earn the win. Farinaro also struck out seven and walked none to set the tone on the mound.
“I thought Farinaro was more aggressive, had a good tempo, a good rhythm” Rodriguez said.
He allowed all three runs on four hits in the second inning.
Free pass: The Spikes walked 16 times as Mahoning Valley’s pitchers struggled to find the plate.
All six Mahoning Valley pitchers allowed at least one walk. All nine Spikes hitters walked at least once. State College’s Ricardo Bautista led the team with three walks.
“Their guys couldn’t execute,” Rodriguez said. “We didn’t chase.”
Starting pitcher Luis Jimenez walked four and allowed three runs in two innings. Reliever Dace Kime walked four and allowed four runs in two innings to take the loss.
Hustle plays: Drongesen made a pair of plays on the base paths.
With State College trailing 3-2 in the second inning, Drongesen scored on a sacrifice fly by Edman, racing home on the lineout to left field.
In the fifth, he stopped at second base after finding the left-center field gap. He then looked to the outfield and took off for third base to turn what appeared to be a double into a triple.
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Last resort: The Scrappers turned to first baseman Nate Winfrey to finish the night on the mound.
Winfrey entered with one on and no outs in the bottom of the eighth inning.
He didn’t allow a hit and walked one in a scoreless inning.
Familiar face: After a stint with Single-A Peoria, right-handed relief pitcher Gerwuins Velazco rejoined the Spikes on Saturday.
Velazco made two appearances for State College earlier this season, allowing one run in 3 1/3 innings before being promoted to Peoria. He went 2-1 with a 6.75 ERA in six appearances for the Chiefs.
State College: The Spikes start a three-game series at Lowell at 5:05 p.m. Sunday. Ronnie Williams will be on the mound for State College. The right-hander has allowed five earned runs in his last 29 1/3 innings. He is 3-1 with a 2.62 ERA.
Lowell: The Spinners (18-11) have yet to announce their starting pitcher for Sunday. Lowell finished a three-game sweep of Brooklyn on Saturday to extend its winning streak to four games.