State College Spikes: Auburn quiets Spike bats to end four-game win streak

The State College Spikes’ red-hot offense was cooled of a bit on Saturday evening.

A night after errupting for a dozen runs and a franchise record-tying 20 hits, the Spikes were held to just five hits and saw their four-game win streak come to an end with a 6-4 New York-Penn League loss the the Auburn Doubledays.

Carson Kelly launched a three-run home run during a four-run fourth inning to give State College a 4-0 lead, but the team would collect just one more hit the rest of the game, sent down in order in seven of the nine innings, to be denied the sweep of the three-game series.

Quieting the Spike bats was the Doubleday pitching trio of Kylin Turnbull, Jake Joyce and L.J. Hollins. Turnbull (2-0), who won Auburn’s season-opener on Monday, gave up all four runs and four hits with six strikeouts over six innings for the victory. Joyce surrendered just one hit with two strikeouts over two innings, and Hollins had a 1-2-3 ninth for his first save, and none of the three pitchers gave up a walk.

Auburn got a 3-for-4 day from Cody Gunter, while Jordan Poole doubled and homered and Greg Zebrack also had two hits and two RBIs. Gunter also doubled and Wilmer Difo tripled.

Victor De Leon pitched three innings and took the loss, allowing six hits and three runs with no strikeouts. Andrew Pierce pitched the first three innings, also allowing six hits and two runs with three strikeouts. Willy Paulino worked the final two innings, allowing a run and a hit, along with the game’s only walk, while striking out two.

The Spikes’ highlight inning was the fourth, when Steven Ramos and Cesar Valera began the frame with back-to-back singles. Alex De Leon bounced into a fielder’s choice, with Ramos cut down at home plate after being caught in a rundown. Ronald Castillo followed with an RBI single, then Kelly crushed a ball off the scoreboard in left-center field for his first round-tripper with State College following two hit with Peoria earlier in the spring.

State College managed only one more hit — a Ramos single in the eighth — while Auburn began to chip away.

The Doubledays got two runs back in the bottom of the fourth, loading the bases before Austin Chubb bounced into a doubleplay to score a run and Zebrack singling home another.

Poole hit a solo homer in the fifth, and an RBI single from Zebrack and RBI double for Poole added two more runs in the sixth for the lead. The final run came home when Difo tripled and scored on a passed ball.

The Spikes return home to Medlar Field at Lubrano Park to begin a three-game series with the Jamestown Jammers. The first pitch for Sunday’s game is at 6:05 p.m. The Jammers are now the NY-PL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Spikes’ former parent club, and eight players from last year’s team along with manager Dave Turgeon will make their first return to State College.