Spikes fall to Muckdogs, in playoff race

BATAVIA, N.Y. — Lars Nootbaar continued his late-season surge with three runs batted in and his second professional home run, but the Batavia Muckdogs got two homers from Sean Reynolds and delivered an 11-6 defeat to the State College Spikes Monday night at Dwyer Stadium.

The Spikes (34-35) remained 2 1/2 games back in the race for the New York-Penn League’s lone Wild Card berth, but dropped to fifth place behind Vermont, who defeated first-place Brooklyn Monday. Mahoning Valley’s win also extended the Spikes’ deficit in the Pinckney Division race to 4 1/2 games with seven to play.

Nootbaar produced an RBI single in the eighth to bring the Spikes within 11-2, then drilled the first pitch he saw from Batavia (33-36) reliever Ryan McKay in the ninth over the right-field wall for a two-run shot. The USC product has now driven in 12 runs over his last four games after producing 13 RBI over his first 45 games of the year.

The Muckdogs used the big inning to take control of the game. Demetrius Sims opened the door to a four-run second for Batavia with an RBI double and scored on Luke Jarvis’s triple. Davis Bradshaw then singled in Jarvis and went on to score himself when he dashed home on a slow return of the ball to the infield following Ricardo Cespedes’s base hit.

Reynolds then smashed the first of his two homers off Franyel Casadilla (4-2), a solo shot to right field, in the fourth inning. The Batavia slugger then went deep for a three-run shot to right, his New York-Penn League-leading 15th home run of the year, in the fifth.

Matt Brooks’s two-run homer to right, his first as a professional, then ballooned the Muckdogs’ lead to 10-1 as they finished a five-run fifth.

Wadye Ynfante and Edwin Figuera also produced RBI singles for the Spikes, while Cameron Knight recorded a three-hit game that included a double.

Casadilla, who earlier in the day was named the New York-Penn League Pitcher of the Week for August 20-26, was dinged for 10 runs on eight hits, two walks and two hit batsmen over 4 2/3 innings in the loss. The right-hander struck out two batters in the effort.

Batavia reliever Bryce Howe (2-1) picked up the win. Howe yielded one run on four hits while striking out five batters over three frames.

The Spikes finish their three-game series against the Muckdogs tonight with a 7:05 p.m. matchup at Dwyer Stadium. Left-hander Eli Kraus (2-1) will get the ball for State College against Batavia right-hander Josh Roberson, who will be making his debut for the club after getting called up from the Rookie-level Guld Coast League Marlins.