State College Spikes

McCarvel hits for cycle in State College Spikes’ win

State College Spikes' Ronnie Williams pitches during the Thursday, June 30, 2016 game against Brooklyn. Williams had 10 strikeouts in the game.
State College Spikes' Ronnie Williams pitches during the Thursday, June 30, 2016 game against Brooklyn. Williams had 10 strikeouts in the game. adrey@centredaily.com

Ryan McCarvel didn’t know he was close to hitting for the cycle until his last at-bat.

McCarvel came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth and saw his stats for the night on the scoreboard.

He singled in the first inning. He tripled in the fifth. He doubled in the sixth.

“My heart started to race a little bit but tried to keep a cool, level head,” McCarvel said.

The Spikes first baseman crushed the first pitch he saw over the left field foul pole for a solo home run to complete the cycle. McCarvel finished 4 for 5 with five RBIs to lead State College to a 10-4 win over the Brooklyn Cyclones on Thursday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

McCarvel became the second player in franchise history to hit for the cycle, joining Jimmy Bosco, who accomplished the feat at Mahoning Valley on June 26, 2013.

Spikes starting pitcher Ronnie Williams also made history.

Williams struck out 10 to tie a Spikes record shared by Will Anderson (2014), Fernando Baez (2014) and Juan Perez (2015). Williams allowed three runs and six hits in eight innings to earn the win.

“Today it was Williams and McCarvel — a duet,” Spikes manager Johnny Rodriguez said.

McCarvel got the Spikes on the board in the first inning, bouncing an RBI single up the middle.

Williams cruised through the first three innings in 30 pitches before finding trouble in the fourth.

The Spikes right-hander retired the first nine batters he faced, including striking out the side in the second. But after a six-pitch third inning, he gave up a single to Brooklyn’s Gene Cone and walked Nick Sergakis to start the fourth.

With one out, Colby Woodmansee singled down the left field line to tie the game and Brandon Brosher singled to left field to give the Cyclones the lead. Arnaldo Berrios’ single to right field on the 21st pitch of the inning pushed the lead to 3-1.

Williams recovered and finished his 93-pitch outing with four straight scoreless innings, saving the bullpen after State College used six pitchers in an 11-inning win Wednesday night.

“I just knew I had to go out and battle, battle as long as I can and just fight for my team,” Williams said. “I knew we were low on pitchers.”

Williams got plenty of run support on a 15-hit night by the Spikes, highlighted by McCarvel’s cycle.

After McCarvel’s single in the first inning, he flew out to left field in the third inning.

McCarvel crushed an RBI triple off the center field wall, part of a four-run fifth that gave the Spikes a 5-3 lead. In his next at-bat, in the sixth, he ripped a two-run double to left-center field to push his team ahead 8-3.

McCarvel, who came into the game with a .216 batting average, has been working on getting his foot down earlier during his swings.

“It just helps my eye sight a little bit better,” McCarvel said. “If I get my foot down late, my eyes are still moving vertically so it helps me take the bat straight to the ball a little bit better.”

Anticipation started to build in the Spikes dugout with McCarvel at the plate in the eighth.

His teammates knew he needed a home run to get the cycle. McCarvel knew it, too, after looking at the scoreboard.

It was in the back of his mind, but he tried to focus on seeing a good pitch from Brooklyn pitcher Nabil Crismatt.

He crushed the first pitch down the left field line and hopped out of the batter’s box.

It soared toward the foul pole.

“It was either, ‘This is going to be one of the greatest things I’ve ever had in my baseball career, or it’s going to be a long strike,’” McCarvel said.

The home-plate umpire signaled it was a home run.

McCarvel had the cycle.

“It was pretty close, but that ball was hit a mile,” Williams said. “I was just excited.

“After I saw it go up, I was just like, ‘Stay fair, stay fair, stay fair,’” the pitcher continued, waving his right hand, motioning for the ball to stay fair. “It happened to stay fair and the whole team just exploded.”

The ball sailed over the foul pole and headed for the Pepsi Picnic Pavilion.

“I think it was over the concession stand,” Rodriguez said.

The solo home run accounted for the Spikes’ final run.

His night revealed the power potential Rodriguez hopes can carry his team at times.

“It’s not just one player, but pretty much, when you hit for the cycle, driving in five runs and you win 10-4,” Rodriguez said. “Actually, you won 5-4 if you look at one guy.”

Notes: The Spikes host Mahoning Valley at 7:05 p.m. Friday, the start of a three-game series. … Dylan Tice went 3 for 5 and scored three runs for State College on Thursday. Vince Jackson, Bladimil Franco and Elier Rodriguez each had two hits for the Spikes.

Ryne Gery: 814-231-4679, @rgery

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