From staff reports
TROY, NY - Matt Benedict went a season-high six innings on the mound, and the State College Spikes made an early lead stand up to start the second half of the 2011 season with a 2-1 win over the Tri-City ValleyCats on Wednesday night at Joseph Bruno Stadium.
Benedict (2-2), who came into the game as the only Spikes (12-27) starter to pitch into the sixth inning on year, successfully finished the sixth for the first time. The right-hander allowed just one run on four hits, a walk and two hit batsmen during his stay on the hill, and struck out four ValleyCats (15-23). Benedict also stranded seven runners in his six frames, including three on third base, to earn the win.
State College took the only lead it would need in the second inning. Taylor Lewis drew a one-out walk, and then advanced to third on Wes Freeman's base hit. Derek Trent followed with a base hit to right that knocked in Lewis and put Freeman on third, and a wild pitch by Tri-City starter Jonas Dufek (3-2) plated Freeman to make it 2-0.
The ValleyCats' lone run came in the sixth inning. Matt Duffy led off the stanza with a double, and after a walk to Brandon Meredith, moved up to third on Zach Johnson's sacrifice bunt. Drew Muren then sent a deep fly ball to center field, but Lewis ran it down at the base of the outfield wall for the Spikes to ensure that only Duffy scored on the sacrifice fly.
Orlando Castro sailed through the seventh and eighth innings in relief for State College, striking out the side in the eighth. Castro would run into trouble after recording the first two outs of the inning, putting runners on first and third with a walk and a base hit. Emmanuel De Leon (1) was then called on to get the final out for the save, which he did by getting Justin Gominsky to pop up to Spikes shortstop Ashley Ponce.
Alex Dickerson went 2-for-4 to become the only State College player with a mulit-hit game. Dickerson is now 11-for-16 at the plate in his last four games. The Spikes also achieved their first win on the road when outhit, which they were by a 6-5 margin.
Dufek took the loss for Tri-City after allowing two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out five over 5 1/3 innings. It was the first time in his last six starts that Dufek failed to complete the sixth inning.
Thursday, the Spikes take on the ValleyCats at 7 p.m. in the middle game of their three-game set at Joseph Bruno Stadium.