The State College Spikes used a six-run sixth inning to cruise to a 13-7 win over the Batavia Muckdogs on Friday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
The Spikes (3-2) finished with three doubles during the big inning to break the game open and push their lead against the Muckdogs (3-2) to eight runs. State College won the final two games of the series ahead of its first road series of the season, set to start Saturday at Mahoning Valley.
“We got everybody into the ballgame in the first week, so mission accomplished,” Spikes manager Joe Kruzel said. “What you’re learning is that some guys are kind of rising and some other guys are staying afloat. So we need to make sure we keep everybody moving in the right direction.”
Bryce Denton and Erik Garcia each scored three runs and drove in two runs for the Spikes, who finished with 15 hits. Josh Lopez paced State College with four hits.
Denton hit a home run in the second inning and scored in the fifth inning to give the Spikes a 5-4 lead. State College led the rest of the way, taking a commanding lead after its six-run sixth inning. Garcia and Mick Fennell each had one-run doubles in the sixth, and Edwin Figuera added a two-run double.
“It was just a matter of time,” Garcia said of the Spikes’ offensive outburst. “We were all kind of rusty from the first couple nights. We can do better, too, in some aspects.”
Lopez crushed a solo home run to left field in the seventh to account for State College’s final run.
Player of the game
Spikes catcher Josh Lopez: Lopez went 4 for 5 with a home run. He scored two runs and drove in two runs. Lopez began his home run trot immediately as the ball soared toward the left field wall in the seventh inning. Lopez, who is now hitting .643 (9 for 14), has three multi-hit games to start this season.
At the plate
Productive night: Denton finished 3 for 4 and stole a base to go with his home run. Denton’s solo shot in the second inning was his first home run with the Spikes and his second of the 2017 season.
“It’s definitely a better start than striking out like I had the last couple games,” said Denton, who struck out six times in the team’s first three games. “But it felt good to have a good at-bat and put a good swing on a good pitch. That helped us get some momentum as well.”
Denton also had a stolen base. Denton was drafted out of high school by the St. Louis Cardinals in the second round in 2015. He opened the 2017 season with Single-A Peoria, hitting .157 with one home run and four RBIs in 19 games.
On the mound
Busy night: The Muckdogs used five pitchers, and the Spikes used four pitchers in Friday night’s game.
State College at Mahoning Valley, 7:05 p.m. Saturday: Right-hander Sam Tewes is set to start for the Spikes in the series opener against the Scrappers. Tewes (0-1, 7.20 ERA) allowed four runs in five innings in his first start Monday against Williamsport. Left-hander Francisco Perez (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his second start this season for Mahoning Valley.