GRANVILLE, WV - Brandon Benson launched his fourth home run of the year for the State College Spikes, but the West Virginia Black Bears took a 4-1 decision in a five-inning, rain-shortened game at Monongalia County Ballpark on Friday night.
After being delayed 32 minutes by rain at the outset, the game was called with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning after nearly a half-hour of more rain.
Benson's homer, his second of the year in West Virginia, was a solo shot to left field in the third that put the Spikes (24-20) on the board. The Georgia College product added a double in the fourth that nearly plated another run, but Tyler Lancaster was ruled out at the plate on a relay throw from West Virginia (26-18) center fielder Jared Oliva to shortstop Robbie Glendinning to catcher Raul Hernandez .
The Black Bears jumped out in front with three runs in the second on a two-run, two-out double by Chris Sharpe and an RBI single by Oliva. Hernandez then drove in Glendinning with a groundout in the fourth to provide the game's final run.
Daniel Castano (7-2) took the loss after yielding four runs, three of them earned, on seven hits over 4 1/3 innings. The lefty struck out five batters to run his season total to 56, good for the New York-Penn League lead. Castano did not walk a batter, keeping his season total in that category at seven.
West Virginia starter Ike Schlabach (3-2) earned the win in what became a complete game effort. Schlabach gave up one run on five hits and three walks while striking out two batters over his five innings on the mound.
With the loss, the Spikes dropped to two games back of the NYPL Wild Card lead, and 2 ½ games out of the Pinckney Division lead.
The Spikes now head to Ohio to take on the team at the top of the Pinckney Division Standings, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Cleveland Indians), in a three-game set at Eastwood Field. The series opens on Saturday with a 7:05 p.m. matchup, and right-hander Johan Oviedo (1-0) gets the start for State College against Mahoning Valley right-hander James Karinchak (0-2).
Following the series in Mahoning Valley, the Spikes will return home for a six-game homestand from August 8-13 at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Highlights include Bark in the Park, presented by NEWSRADIO 1390 WRSC, on Tuesday, August 8, Ladies Night & Paint the Park Purple Night presented by Home Instead Senior Care and Juniper Village at Brookline to fight Alzheimer's disease on Thursday, August 10, the return of the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo on Saturday, August 12, plus a pair of Spikes hat giveaways and two FIREWORKS shows.
Tickets for all six games from August 8-13, as well as every game remaining on the Spikes' 2017 home schedule, are currently on sale through the Spikes Ticket Office by calling (814) 272-1711 or by visiting in person. Fans can also buy and download single-game tickets by visiting StateCollegeSpikes.com.
Catch all of the action on Saturday via the Spikes Radio Network, presented by Penn State Sports Medicine, Official Healthcare Provider of Penn State Athletics, at 6:50 p.m. with Spikes Live, presented by Mount Nittany Health, on the air from Eastwood Field. The Spikes' radio broadcast can also be heard worldwide through the "Listen Live" link on StateCollegeSpikes.com, provided by the club's flagship radio home, Newsradio 1390 WRSC, as well as the TuneIn Radio app.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.