The State College Spikes scored a run before recording a hit Friday night.
State College’s Jose Martinez reached on an error to start the bottom of the first inning. Mahoning Valley starting pitcher Juan Hillman then hit Vince Jackson and walked Ryan McCarvel to load the bases with one out.
Jeremy Martinez fouled off three two-strike pitches before taking two straight pitches to draw a walk and bring in the Spikes’ first run.
It took a long time for State College to score again, falling into a deep deficit before making a desperate late-game rally in an 8-5 loss to the Scrappers at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. It was the Spikes’ fourth straight loss, a streak defined by the team’s inability to capitalize offensively.
“I don’t think we hit the panic button yet,” Jeremy Martinez said. “We have a great team, a great lineup. … It’s just a little funk we’re in right now.”
The Spikes (18-10) have gone 4 for 42 with runners in scoring position during the losing streak.
They went 3 for 16 with runners in scoring position against the Scrappers (10-18) on Friday.
State College’s troubles started in the first inning.
After Jeremy Martinez’s bases-loaded walk tied the game 1-1, Ricardo Bautista struck out and Danny Hudzina lined out to right field to end the threat.
The Spikes offense remained quiet until the bottom of the seventh inning. That’s when Jackson came through with an RBI single.
Mahoning Valley had already built a commanding lead by that point.
Jackson’s single only pulled the Spikes within 7-2.
A three-run bottom of the ninth, with an RBI single for Bautista and a two-run double from Hudzina, brought some drama, but State College couldn’t complete the rally.
Highs and lows
Producing at the plate: State College’s Jeremy Martinez and Mick Fennell both extended hitting streaks Friday.
Martinez, who went 2 for 4, owns an eight-game hitting streak.
Martinez said he’s had to slow the game down.
“I think that’s the biggest thing” Martinez said of the adjustment to pro ball. “It’s the same ball, same glove.”
Fennell has a six-game hitting streak after going 2 for 3.
Rough outing: Spikes reliever Bob Wheatley allowed four unearned runs in 1 2/3 innings.
Mahoning Valley scored all four runs in the seventh inning to put the game out of reach.
Wheatley hit a batter and gave up a single before a fielding error by McCarvel loaded the bases with no outs. After Wheatley got a strikeout and popout, Scrappers right fielder Jodd Carter doubled to drive in two runs and push his team ahead 5-1. Another error by McCarvel allowed two more runs to score in the inning.
McCarvel, State College’s first baseman, couldn’t gather a throw by third baseman Hudzina on the second error.
Dominant run: Hillman had not allowed a run over 20 1/3 innings in his previous four starts.
That streak came to an end when the Spikes scored in the first inning.
Hillman allowed one run (unearned) and three hits in four innings. Mahoning Valley’s Ryan Colegate allowed one run and two hits in 2 2/3 innings of relief to earn the win.
Pro debut: Matt Davis recorded his first professional hit in his debut with the Spikes.
Davis, a Cumberland Valley grad, sent a ground ball toward the hole — fielded by Mahoning Valley shortstop Alexis Pantoja in shallow left field — for a single.
Davis, who was the designated hitter Friday, went 1 for 5. He joined the team Thursday after signing with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Different look: The Spikes wore jerseys inspired by the new Ghostbusters movie. The “State Puft Marshmallow Men” jerseys were auctioned off, with the proceeds going to Children’s Miracle Network.
State College: Steven Farinaro is set to make his sixth start of the season in the series finale at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 5.34 ERA.
Mahoning Valley: Luis Jimenez, a 6-foot-4 right-hander, will be on the mound for the Scrappers. Jimenez is 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA in five starts.