STATE COLLEGE - Ryan Hafner delivered a strong five innings to match the longest outing of the year for a State College Spikes pitcher, but the Mahoning Valley Scrappers struck late to take a 7-3 win on Thursday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Hafner, the 17th round draft pick of the Pirates in 2010, struck out four batters during his tenure on the mound to become the third straight State College (3-11) starter to last five innings, following Nick Kingham and Matt Benedict. Despite allowing the first two runs against him this year on three hits and three walks, Hafner left the game with the lead in the fifth inning.
The Spikes gave Hafner that lead in the bottom of the third inning after Mahoning Valley (10-4) took the initial lead with a pair of runs in the top half. Brian Sharp's one-out double advanced Taylor Lewis to third base, setting the table for Alex Fusilier to tie the game with a single to right field. Fusilier advanced to second on the throw home and went on to score on Chris Lashmet's single up the middle to give State College a 3-2 advantage.
The Scrappers would retaliate with the tying run in the sixth inning, a run plated without the benefit of a hit. Mahoning Valley then took a lead it would not relinquish with three run in the eighth inning on a two-run Todd Hankins single and an RBI base hit from Cody Elliott. Bryson Myles scored an insurance run to seal the final margin in the ninth inning.
Lashmet started at third base, his usual position at Northwestern University, for the first time as a Spike. The 2011 33rd-round draft pick added a pair of hits to go with his RBI as well.
Josh Poytress (0-1) took the loss after allowing the Scrappers' trio of eighth inning runs in his only frame on the mound. The Fresno State product made his professional debut on Thursday after being drafted in the 18th round by the Pirates in this year's draft. Poytress yielded four hits and notched a strikeout.
Mahoning Valley reliever Will Krasne (1-0) picked up the victory after leaving the bases loaded in the seventh inning. The right-hander walked a pair of batters, but allowed no further damage.
Friday, the Spikes and Scrappers finish off a stretch of six straight games against each other with a 7:05 p.m. matchup at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Stetson Allie makes his third career start for State College. Allie allowed two runs in 2 2/3 innings in his last mound appearance on Saturday in Jamestown, walking four hitters but striking out three.
Mahoning Valley goes with right-hander Mason Radeke, who earned the victory against the Spikes in his professional debut on Sunday at Eastwood Field.