Spikes rally late to win game, series

GRANVILLE, W. Vir – Joe Gomez chose a big moment to deliver his first extra-base hit of the season for the State College Spikes, as his ninth-inning double drove in the go-ahead run to finish the Spikes’ 3-2 comeback win over the West Virginia Black Bears on Wednesday night at Monongalia County Ballpark.

With the win and the Mahoning Valley Scrappers’ loss to Batavia, the Spikes (37-31) now trail the Scrappers by just 2.5 games in the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division standings with eight games remaining for each team. State College and Mahoning Valley face each other in a three-game series at Eastwood Field in Niles, OH starting on Thursday.

The Spikes also remain three games behind Hudson Valley for the NYPL’s lone Wild Card berth.

Gomez, who was 1-for-19 as a Spike before coming to bat with one out in the ninth, skied a ball into the right-center field gap to score J.D. Crowe, who had reached base via an error one batter earlier. The Spikes’ catcher did try to stretch his hit into a triple, but was thrown out at third base.

Down 2-0 after six innings, State College got on the board in the seventh when Caleb Lopes doubled with two outs and scored on Crowe’s single up the middle. The Spikes then tied the game in the eighth as Edwin Figuera doubled, advanced to third on a groundout, and scored on Bryce Denton’s single.

West Virginia (35-33) took the lead in the first, loading the bases with no outs and scoring a lone run when Lucas Tancas was hit with a pitch. The Black Bears added to their advantage in the fourth when another run scored on a State College error.

Spikes starter Andrew Summerville went the first six innings and allowed two runs, but one only one earned, in a no-decision. The reigning NYPL Pitcher of the Week gave up four hits, three walks and a hit batsman while striking out four batters on the night.

Reliever Alex Fagalde (1-1) earned the win for State College with one walk and two strikeouts over 2 1-3 scoreless innings, retiring the first seven batters he faced. Noel Gonzalez (3) then entered the gaem and hit a batter, but bounced back to notch the game’s last two outs via strikeout for the save.

Black Bears reliever Blake Weiman (3-3) took the loss after giving up the go-ahead run, which was unearned, on one hit while striking out one batter over 1 1-3 innings.

State College now sets up for the crucial three-game set against Mahoning Valley with game time for Thursday’s opener set for 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Johan Oviedo (2-2) is set to get the ball for the Spikes, while the Scrappers will send left-hander Francisco Perez (4-4) to the mound.