Jake Burnette Cruises After Shaky First Inning
NILES, Oh. — The State College Spikes (7-6) lost 3-1 to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (6-7) on Saturday night. The Spikes had a good start from right-hander Jake Burnette, but the offense only combined for one run on four hits as they were swept in the three game series.
Jake Burnette made his third start of the season with the State College on Saturday and allowed two runs over five innings in the Spikes 3-1 loss.
The two lone runs that Burnette allowed came in the first inning. He went on to toss four frames after the shaky first with three strikeouts. After retiring his first two batters quickly, Burnett allowed a triple that was ripped down the right field line. His next batter crushed a two-run line drive home run to right field.
“I kind of left that pitch up and he got a hold of it,” Burnette said of the home run. “Wasn’t a good pitch.”
In the second inning, Burnette worked himself into a jam, but was impressive in getting out of it unscathed.
The inning started with a leadoff single to left field. His next batter laid down a sac bunt that rolled back to Burnette, but the pitcher couldn’t field it fast enough and the runner reached first base safely. A sacrifice bunt followed to advance the runners for the first out. But Burnette settled in. The right-hander got a line out into the glove of Jared LaKind at first and got his final batter to chase swinging to strand both runners.
“I really had to bear down right there,” Burnette said . “That was a big time in the game and I didn’t want to give up anymore runs. That last pitch I really tried to get it in the perfect spot. It was a good pitch.”
From there, Burnette got into a groove. He allowed just one hit in the fourth and finished that off with two perfect frames. Burnette didn’t walk a batter over his outing. The right-hander walked three his last trip to the mound, and was efficient needing 65 pitches despite two lengthy first innings.
“After that second inning, I kind of started focusing on each individual pitch,” Burnette said. “I just got locked in more, more focused.”
“He definitely got better as he went along,” catcher Jacob Stallings said. “He just located his fastball better. We started working in and out more, really tried to hit the corners. We started mixing in some more curves.”
Heredia Adjusting to Short Season A Ball
It was an aggressive push to promote Luis Heredia to State College from extended spring training. But at just 17-years-old, Heredia is proving it was a good decision by the Pirates. Heredia always has a smile on his face, and always is having fun, but is mature on the mound.
Heredia has made two starts so far with the Spikes, his third is scheduled for Sunday. He’s allowed two runs over nine innings with seven strikeouts in his first two starts.
“I’m feeling good. It’s my job here,” Heredia said of the adjustment to State College from the GCL. “I’m very happy with my first two starts. When they told me I was going to State College, I was surprised. I’m feeling strong now. I’m happy here and just working hard.”
Right-hander Logan Pevny allowed his first run of the season with the Spikes. He entered game action with five scoreless frames with three strikeouts, but an error by shortstop Jodaneli Carvajal allowed an unearned run to score in the seventh inning.
The runner reached on Carvajal’s second error of the game, and advanced to second on a ground out. Pevny gave up a one-out RBI single to right field, then went on to strike out two of his next three batters.
Pevny started the season in the bullpen, after starting and both relieving in the GCL last season. The right-hander was pitching in extended spring training before joining State College in his first season at this level.
“I really worked with Justin Meccage, our pitching coach on my mentality,” Pevny said. “Just going after hitters, attacking, not being afraid at all. Not holding anything back during any inning. Just taking it one pitch at a time really.”
Pevny said his role will be in relief, but will bounce around in the later innings. He’s been used in multiple frames and also notched a save this season.
“I’m up ready to go every night, even a day after I pitch,” Pevny said. “I keep the same mentality everyday as if I am pitching. I’m always ready to go.”
— Barrett Barnes, the Pirates supplemental pick in the 2012 draft, had a rough night at the plate and on the field. The outfielder struck out looking in the first inning and was involved in a 7-3 double play in the sixth. Barnes was also involved in a collision in the outfield. Both Barnes and left fielder Walker Gourley collided after attempting to catch a fly out. Gourley was down for several minutes, but both walked off the field and remained in the game.
— Seventh round pick in the 2012 draft catcher Jacob Stallings was pretty impressive on defense. He showed off his cannon arm on several occasions. Stallings went 2-for-3 on caught stealing attempts.
In the third inning with runners on first and second and one out, Burnette got strikeout and Stallings made a perfect throw to nail the runner at second for the strike em out, throw em out double play. He also got a runner attempting to steal second base in the bottom of the 8th inning.
Stallings scored the lone run of the game for State College in the second inning. After crushing a pitch just foul of a home run, Stallings battled full count and drove a base hit up the middle for a single to lead off the inning. With two outs, Gourley hit a single into center field to put runners on the corners. A wild pitch from the Scrappers starter allowed Stallings to take home plate. LaKind grounded to third base to strand the runner at second.