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Second baseman Nick Dunn is a hit. And a hit. And a hit; Spikes notes

State College Spikes' Nick Dunn, seen tagging out Batavia's Albert Guaimaro, had a hit in 9 of his last 11 games before Thursday.
State College Spikes' Nick Dunn, seen tagging out Batavia's Albert Guaimaro, had a hit in 9 of his last 11 games before Thursday.

Second baseman Nick Dunn was one of the Cardinals’ top draft picks this year, going in the fifth round out of the University of Maryland. Dunn was named a second-team All-American by Baseball America this past season after batting .333 with 10 home runs for the Terps.

The Sunbury, Pa., native signed with the Cardinals on June 14 and has been solid addition for the Spikes since. The lefthanded hitter has posted a .259/.351/.358 slashline in 22 games. He has six doubles and a triple.

Heading into Thursday night, Dunn had a hit in nine of his last 11 games, including a five-game hitting streak from July 4-9.

While known more for his bat coming out of school, Dunn has also been reliable at second base for State College. In the first 158 innings of his professional career, Dunn has yet to record an error.

Power Surge

Heading into the game against the Vermont Lake Monsters, the Spikes ranked tied for last in the New York-Penn League with the Connecticut Tigers at seven home runs. Though the Spikes’ power numbers aren’t at the top of the league this season, they’ve found a bit of extra pop as of late.

State College finished the month of June with just one homer, but the team has gone deep six times since the start of July. All six homers came in a five-game stretch from July 4-8. Leading the way for the Spikes with two home runs is third baseman Brady Whalen, who also leads the team with 15 RBIs. Whalen homered in consecutive games this past weekend.

Finding Himself

Righthanded pitcher Kevin Hamann got off to a tough start to the season with the Peoria Chiefs. He had a 10.61 ERA in his first six appearances, giving up 15 hits in 9.1 innings pitched.

Hamann was assigned to the Spikes in May and has found his stride on the mound. Since June 16, Hamann has pitched in eight games for State College. He has a 0.69 ERA in 13 innings of work out of the bullpen.

The 6-foot-4 righthander hasn’t allowed an earned run in seven straight appearances and hasn’t allowed a hit in his last five appearances. Hamann has given the Spikes a reliable arm late in games. He has had three save opportunities since June 30 and converted them all.

Misleading Stats

Righthander Will Changarotty has also been a reliable arm out of the bullpen lately. Changarotty gave up four runs against West Virginia on June 23, but he hasn’t allowed an earned run in five appearances since.

During that stretch, Changarotty has given up one earned run and allowed just one hit in 5.1 innings pitched. Changarotty has a 4.32 ERA this season, but he has kept opponents without an earned run in seven of his eight appearances, while holding opponents to a .167 batting average.

Familiar Face

The Cardinals selected outfielder Brandon Benson in the 20th round of last year’s MLB draft. The righthanded hitter out of Georgia College and State played 51 games for the Spikes last summer, batting .256 with four homers and 30 RBIs.

Benson started this season in the Gulf Coast League, where he batted .250 with two home runs, but he has returned to State College. He made his season debut with the Spikes on Wednesday against Vermont, going 1-for-3 with a stolen base.

Called Up

After batting .410 in 19 games last season for the Johnson City Cardinals, the Cardinals’ Rookie League affiliate, shortstop Wood Myers finished his rookie year with State College in 2017, where he batted .224 in 39 games.

The Coastal Carolina product, who was drafted in the 29th round by the Cardinals in 2017, started the season in Palm Beach (Class A Advanced) before joining the Spikes in June. Myers batted .348 in 12 games with the Spikes to earn the call up to Class A Peoria earlier this month.