TROY, NY - Tyler Lancaster became the 13th player in State College Spikes history to hit a grand slam, and his blast was the key to a five-run third inning that enabled the Spikes to take a 7-6 victory from the Tri-City ValleyCats on Thursday night at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.
Lancaster smashed a 3-1 pitch over the right-field wall to cap the Spikes' (13-10) big inning one week after Brandon Benson became the 12th Spike with a grand slam. The dinger was the first of the year for the 2016 16th-round draft choice, and extended the State College advantage to 7-2.
The offensive support helped Daniel Castano (5-0) become the first pitcher in the New York-Penn League to reach five wins. Castano yielded three runs, two of them earned, on seven hits and a walk while striking out six over 5 2/3 innings. The southpaw threw 104 pitches, the most for any State College starter in a game this season.
Imeldo Diaz gave the Spikes the lead in the second with a two-run single, and ended the game 2-for-4. Bryce Denton also contributed an RBI single, while Lancaster added a double to his grand slam for a multi-hit game.
The Spikes had to withstand a late Tri-City (8-14) rally, with Abraham Toro's two-run homer, his fourth of the season, drawing the ValleyCats within a run. However, Spencer Trayner (1) notched the last out one batter later to earn his first save of the year. Trayner also allowed one walk in his inning of work.
Andy Pineda went 2-for-5 with a pair of triples for the ValleyCats.
The win gave the Spikes their first series victory on the road this season.
Friday, the Spikes head to MCU Park on Coney Island to start a three-game series with the Brooklyn Cyclones (New York Mets). Right-hander Jonathon Mulford (0-2) gets the ball for State College in the 6:40 p.m. matchup. Brooklyn will send right-hander Chase Ingram (1-0) to the mound.
Following the weekend set against Brooklyn and a pair of road games on Monday and Tuesday of next week at the Williamsport Crosscutters (Philadelphia Phillies), the Spikes come back home on Wednesday for a 7:05 p.m. matchup against the Crosscutters. Fans will enjoy the nationally acclaimed Salute to Conspiracy Theories Night, with the Spikes donning special Conspiracy Theory Themed Jerseys which will be up for bids in a Jersey-off-the-Back Auction presented by PSECU to benefit Children's Miracle Network.
Tickets for the July 19 game, as well as every game 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 Friday via the Spikes Radio Network, presented by Penn State Health, at 6:25 p.m. with Spikes Live, presented by Mount Nittany Health, on the air from MCU Park. 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.