Lantigua's cycle spoils series opener for Spikes

First-ever cycle for Spikes opponent helps 13-3 West Va. win

(Steve Manuel)

By State College Spikes | August 29, 2018 11:23 PM

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Stanley Espinal homered and drove in all three runs for the State College Spikes, but the West Virginia Black Bears put together a 15-hit barrage and Edison Lantigua hit for a historic cycle as the Black Bears took a 13-3 victory on Wednesday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

Lantigua completed the first cycle for a Spikes (34-37) opponent at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park with a two-run triple in the ninth-inning to finish a five-RBI performance. The Puerto Plata, Dominican Repulbic native had started his night with a solo home run, his third of the year, off Chris Holba (3-3) in the second inning. Lantigua then followed with a two-run double in the third and a single in the seventh.

The cycle was also the first in Black Bears (29-42) history since the team's arrival in West Virginia in 2015.

In between his first two and last two hits, Lantigua also struck out to give all fans in attendance a free Big Mac with any purchase by using their ticket at participating McDonald's restaurants, as he was named the McDonald's Strikeout Guy prior to the game.

Mike Gretler started the scoring with a two-run homer, his second of the year, in the first, but Espinal tied the game at 2-2 with a two-run double of his own.

Espinal then smashed his team-leading seventh home run of the year, a solo shot in the sixth, to bump his RBI total to 40 for the season.

Brett Kinneman also had a cycle bid going for West Virginia after starting the game with a double in the first, an RBI triple in the third and a two-run homer, his fourth of the year, in the fourth. However, Kinneman ended the night a single shy of the cycle after striking out in each of his last two at-bats.

Holba took the loss after starting and yielding seven runs on eight hits while striking out one batter over two-plus innings.

Outfielder Walker Robbins finished the night on the mound for State College, walking one batter in the ninth before recording his first pro strikeout to end his outing.

Black Bears starter Alex Manasa (4-7) earned the win after allowing three runs on six hits and a walk over six innings. Manasa also struck out six batters.

Cody Smith (1) finished the game with three scoreless innings to earn the automatic save. Smith gave up one hit and one walk while striking out four.

Kyle Watson added a run-scoring single in the seventh for the Black Bears.

The loss whittled State College's elimination number for both the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division and Wild Card races to one.

Thursday, the Spikes continue their final homestand of the 2018 with a 7:05 matchup against the Black Bears. State College will send left-hander Diego Cordero (2-4) to the mound against West Virginia right-hander Francis Del Orbe (5-2).

It will be a jam-packed evening at the ballpark, as one lucky fan 18 and over will win a vacation getaway to beautiful Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, presented by Fans who originally entered to win the trip when it was originally scheduled on July 21 are still eligible to win as well.

After the game, will also present a fantastic FIREWORKS shows to light up the skies over Happy Valley.

Plus, it's THON Night at the ballpark, and the first 1,000 fans through the gates when they open to the public at 6 p.m. will receive a Fanny Pack Giveaway presented by First National Bank.

First National Bank and the Spikes are also offering PSU students a FREE meal voucher good for up to $8 at Spikes concession stands with tickets to Thursday night's 7:05 p.m. home game. Students can stop by the HUB or the Spikes Ticket Office to get tickets through Penn State SPA - The Student Programming Association will be able to have a meal on FNB and the Spikes.

Fans can bring their dogs to the ballpark as well for the fourth and final Bark in the Park Night of the year, presented by NEWSRADIO 1390 WRSC. Complete Bark in the Park policies and procedures are available online at

It's also a $1 Beer Thursday, presented by BIG Froggy 101. Fans of age can enjoy $1 12-oz. domestic draft beers from 6-8 p.m.

After the game, the fun continues as kids can run the bases.

The Spikes' home schedule then concludes on Friday with FIREWORKS and LuCKy's Kia Giveaway II on Fan Appreciation Night, presented by Lion Country Kia and MAJIC 99, to close out the regular season .

Tickets for both games remaining on the 2018 Spikes home schedule, are currently on sale through the Spikes Ticket Office. Tickets can be purchased by calling (814) 272-1711 or by visiting the Ticket Office in person from 9 a.m. to the end of the game on gamedays Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to the end of the game on gamedays Saturday and Sunday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on non-gamedays Monday through Friday.

Fans can also buy and download single-game tickets by visiting

Catch all of the action on Thursday via the Spikes Radio Network, presented by Penn State Sports Medicine, Official Healthcare Provider of Penn State Athletics, at 6:35 p.m. with Spikes Live, presented by Mount Nittany Health, on the air from Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. The Spikes' radio broadcast can also be heard worldwide through the "Listen Live" link on, 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.

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