(photo: Yariel Gonzalez/Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)
State College Spikes press release
A franchise record six State College Spikes have been selected to play for the South squad in the 2017 New York-Penn League All-Star Game on Tuesday, August 15. Infielders Evan Mendoza and Yariel Gonzalez, catcher Josh Lopez, outfielder Scott Hurst and pitchers Daniel Castano and Andrew Summerville are all scheduled to represent the Spikes and the St. Louis Cardinals at the NYPL’s annual showcase of future stars.
All six will also be playing under a familiar staff at the All-Star Game, as Spikes manager Joe Kruzel, pitching coach Darwin Marrero, hitting coach Roger LaFrancois, athletic trainer Chris Whitman and strength & conditioning coach Jordan Brown will take the reins of the South squad.
The Spikes’ previous record of five selections was first set in 2013, and matched twice over the past three years.
The NYPL All-Star Game is set to return to Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in Troy, NY, home of the Tri-City ValleyCats, for the second time. The ValleyCats also hosted the league’s 2008 Midsummer Classic.
Mendoza has won the last two NYPL Player of the Week awards, becoming the first player in Spikes history to win multiple weekly honors in the same season. The 2017 11th-round draft choice out of N.C. State is second in the league in hitting through August 8 with a .370 average, second in RBI with 26, and leads the league in hits (57), extra-base hits (20) and runs scored (33). Mendoza is also tied for the NYPL lead in doubles with 14.
Gonzalez, who has played three different infield positions on the year, was named to the South team as a third baseman. The San Sebastian, PR native was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Cardinals in 2016, and carries a .297 average as of August 8. The switch-hitter has collected four doubles, two home runs, and 21 runs batted in on the year, with a pair of four-hit games under his belt this season.
Lopez got off to a hot start this year, and his .380 batting average, .447 on-base percentage and .546 slugging percentage through August 8 would all rank among the best marks in the league if the catcher was not just under the minimum number of plate appearances to appear on the lists. The Valencia, Venezuela native has also produced nine doubles, three home runs and 19 RBI over 32 games this season.
Hurst, the Cardinals’ 2017 third-round draft choice out of Cal State-Fullerton, is hitting .286 through August 8, with eight doubles, three triples, two homers and 12 RBI in his first professional campaign. The Glendora, CA native has also stolen four bases and owns a .359 on-base percentage over his first 31 games.
Castano was selected by the Cardinals in the 19th round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of Baylor, and won his first six starts of the season. Through August 8, the left-hander owns a 7-2 record with a 2.54 ERA over nine outings, totaling a league-leading 56 2/3 innings pitched. Castano has whiffed 56 batters this year to tie Jorge Guzman of Staten Island for the league lead, while walking just seven for an 8-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Summerville was taken by the Cardinals in the 12th round of this year’s draft, and recorded a save in his first professional outing on June 29 against Auburn. The left-hander from Stanford then shifted into the starting rotation, and picked up the win in his first pro start on July 15 at Brooklyn. Summerville is 3-0 with a 1.84 ERA this season, striking out 28 batters and walking 16 over 29 1/3 innings through August 8.