In two separate innings, Spikes starting pitcher Dewin Perez got two outs before facing one of the New York-Penn League’s top run producers.
Both times, Connecticut’s Blaise Salter won the battle.
Salter hit a two-run home run in the first inning and added a two-run single in the third to lead the Tigers to a 4-0 win over State College on Wednesday at Dodd Stadium. Salter finished 3 for 4 to go with his four RBIs.
Perez took the loss in his first start of the season, allowing four runs and four hits in five innings.
Connecticut (17-9) recorded its second straight shutout against the Spikes (18-8) to take the series, snapping State College’s streak of six straight series victories.
Tigers reliever Ryan Castellanos pitched four scoreless innings to earn the win. Starting pitcher Kyle Funkhouser went three innings, reliever John Hayes threw one inning and reliever Bryan Garcia pitched the ninth to finish the shutout.
Dylan Tice and Ricardo Bautista each had two hits to lead the Spikes, who finished with eight hits and went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position.
Perez got a groundout, gave up a walk and recorded a strikeout to start his outing in the bottom of the first.
Salter, who is now second in the league with 19 RBIs, then came to the plate. The Tigers cleanup hitter drilled a home run to left field to give his team a 2-0 lead.
After a scoreless second inning, Perez ran into trouble in the third.
With one out, Connecticut’s Will Savage singled to center field and Sam Machonis drew a walk. Cole Bauml’s groundout to first base moved the runners to second and third.
Salter sent a single to center field to drive in both runs and push the Tigers ahead 4-0.
It proved to be more than enough run support for Connecticut’s pitching staff in the series-clinching win.
The Spikes start a three-game home series against Mahoning Valley at 7:05 p.m. Thursday. John Kilichowski (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will be on the mound for State College, while Triston McKenzie (2-2, 0.33 ERA) is set to start for Mahoning Valley.
Catcher Riley Drongesen rejoined the Spikes on Wednesday. Drongesen went 1 for 4 with a double in one game during his stint with Single-A Peoria.