The Spikes wasted a strong outing from starter Jake Dahlberg in their opener against the Vermont Lake Monsters last Wednesday, losing 3-0 before a come-from-behind 10-9 win on Thursday to even the series. The two teams played another close game on Friday, but a ninth-inning double from Vermont’s Aaron Arruda sent State College into the weekend with a series loss.
Lefthander Jacob Schlesener, who has made seven appearances out of the bullpen for the Spikes, started his first game for State College on Saturday against the Tri-City ValleyCats, who lead the Stedler division. Schlesener turned in a solid performance, allowing one earned run and striking out two in three innings of work. The Spikes also got four shutout innings from righthander Franyel Casadilla, who was assigned from Peoria last Wednesday, in the loss but tallied just three hits in the scoreless defeat.
On Sunday, the ValleyCats’ offense broke out in an 11-1 victory against the Spikes. State College had nine hits in the loss, including three off the bat of third baseman Stanley Espinal, who hit his second homer of the season. Dahlberg tossed again on Monday, giving the Spikes another quality start, but Kevin Hamann gave up his first earned run in eight appearances in the top of the ninth and the Spikes lost, 2-1, despite a rally in the bottom of the inning.
The Spikes enter Tuesday at 11-19 in a tie for last place in the New York-Penn League’s Pinckney division. They are seven games behind the division-leading Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
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What’s On Deck?
After a six-game homestand, the Spikes are headed back on the road. State College wrapped up its three-game home series with the Tri-City ValleyCats on Monday night and will now head to West Virginia to face the Black Bears for another three-game series before returning home on Friday for three games against the Auburn Doubledays.
The Spikes and Black Bears met up in West Virginia back in June during the second week of the season, and things did not go too well for State College. The Black Bears swept the three-game series against the Spikes in the midst of a five-game win streak.
Since that point, both teams have dug themselves to the bottom of the New York-Penn League’s Pinckney division. Like the Spikes, the Black Bears also head into this week after a disappointing weekend. West Virginia lost the last two games of its series against Hudson Valley and all three against Staten Island. The team enters Tuesday night’s game against the Spikes on a five-game skid.
The Black Bears are led by second baseman Raul Siri and Pirates’ first-round pick Travis Swaggerty, who was selected 10th overall out of South Alabama. Siri is hitting .304 for the Black Bears with five doubles, but he hasn’t played since Friday. Swaggerty, an outfielder, is batting .283 with eight extra base hits, including two homers, in his 16 games with West Virginia. He had three hits in two games against the Spikes in the teams’ first series this season.
Jake Dahlberg entered last week with a 4.03 ERA after allowing three earned runs or more in his previous three starts. The 24-year-old lefthander put a big dent into that number during the past seven days.
Dahlberg threw a season-high seven innings and struck out a season-high seven batters against Vermont last Wednesday. He allowed just one earned run on 10 hits and no walks. Dahlberg, who was a 21st-round pick by the Cardinals in 2017, was even better against Tri-City on Monday. He allowed one unearned run in seven innings, striking out eight batters and allowing just one hit. The lefty now has a 2.72 ERA in 36.1 innings pitched.
Even with his last two sparkling outings on the mound, Dahlberg is still looking for his first win of the season. The Spikes were shut out 3-0 by Vermont on Wednesday, and Dahlberg exited the game with the score tied 1-1 in Monday’s last-inning loss. His current record is 0-2.
Centerfielder Andres Luna was assigned to the Peoria Chiefs on Saturday after spending the first 16 games with the Spikes. The Cardinals signed Luna out of Venezuela in 2014 when he was 16. He spent his first three seasons in the Dominican Summer League before playing in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League last summer. Luna started this season in State College and batted .300 with two doubles and two stolen bases. The 20-year-old is hitless in his first five at-bats with the Chiefs.
Righthander Angel Rodon was assigned to the Chiefs last Wednesday after making five starts for the Spikes. The 20-year-old was 0-4 with a 3.72 ERA with State College. In 29 innings, Rodon struck out 23 batters and walked seven, while holding opponents to a .264 average against. Rodon allowed just one earned run in 7.2 innings during his first start with Peoria on Friday.