Figuera’s efforts not enough for Spikes

UNIVERSITY PARK — Edwin Figuera collected three hits, including a triple, but the State College Spikes were officially eliminated from postseason contention with a 5-3 defeat at the hands of the West Virginia Black Bears on Thursday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

The Spikes’ (34-38) loss put them 5 1/2 games back of the lead in the New York-Penn League Pickney Division and 4 1/2 games back in the Wild Card race with four games remaining.

Figuera notched his fifth three-hit game of the year, and knocked in the first State College run with his RBI single in the fifth to plate Walker Robbins. Following a wild pitch that scored Alexis Wilson in the same frame, the Spikes were held off the board until Figuera tripled and scored on Jonatan Machado’s RBI groundout in the ninth.

West Virginia (30-42) took the opening lead in the third when Zach Kone doubled and Brett Kinneman tripled him home with two outs. Kone’s triple and Kinneman’s single then combined to produce the first of three Black Bears runs in the fifth, with Daniel Amaral’s two-run triple extending the lead to 4-0.

Amaral then scored the Black Bears’ last run, reaching base on a single that went off State College pitcher Michael Baird in the eighth. The center fielder then advanced to second on an error, to third on a stolen base, and scored on another Spikes error.

State College starter Diego Cordero (2-5) took the loss. The left-handed Cordero gave up four runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out three batters over 5 1/3 innings before leaving after a groundball struck him in his pitching hand, which then turned into an acrobatic glove flip from Figuera at second to shortstop Delvin Perez.

Baird was dominant over his 3 2/3 innings of relief for the Spikes, giving up just one unearned run on two hits while striking out five batters.

West Virginia reliever Allen Montgomery (1-0) picked up the win in his debut with the club. Montgomery tossed 2 1/3 perfect innings in which he struck out two batters.

Connor Loeprich (6) entered the game in the ninth inning and gave up a run on one hit, but notched the save for the Black Bears.

The loss extended the Spikes’ losing streak to six games, one shy of their longest of the season.

Friday, the Spikes finish up the 2018 home schedule with a 7:05 p.m. contest against the Black Bears at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Left-hander Jacob Schlesener (2-5), the only pitcher in State College Spikes history to record two double-digit strikeout performances with the club, gets the ball for the home team. West Virginia is slated to start right-hander Brad Case, who is making his Black Bears debut after being selected by the Pirates in the 17th round of the 2018 MLB Draft out of Rollins College in Florida.