UNIVERSITY PARK — Rain suspended play between the State College Spikes and Connecticut on Sunday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park with the Tigers leading 2-1 in the fifth inning.
The game will resume Monday at noon and be followed by a seven-inning contest for the regularly scheduled game to conclude the series.
After losing Saturday on David Washington’s walk-off grand slam, Connecticut jumped on the Spikes early with two solo home runs off right-handed starter Arturo Reyes.
“It’s always tough when you lose in the ninth inning, especially on a walk-off grand slam,” said Tigers’ manager Andrew Graham. “It could send these guys into a little bit of worry, but they came ready to play and it showed.”
Austin Schotts homered off Reyes on the game’s second pitch, driving a ball well over the fence in left for his first home run this season. Tyler Gibson followed with a solo homer to right in the third, also his first of the season.
The Tigers have five hits to just two for the Spikes.
State College scored when Washington blooped a single to right and was subsequently driven home by a Carson Kelly double to center that slipped past Schotts after the Tigers’ centerfielder took a poor angle.
Reyes struggled for command early and fell behind seven of the 14 hitters he faced. He pitched four innings and gave up two runs on three hits in his first start for State College.
Jhonny Polanco is the pitcher of record for State College. Jonathan Maciel replaced left-handed starter Joe Mantiply for Connecticut.
“(I) fell behind in counts, which was one of the biggest mistakes, but other than that I just tried to forget about it and compete the rest of the time I was out there,” Reyes said.
Both home runs came on 1-0 counts on fastballs down the middle.
Connecticut threatened again in the second after Duncan McAlpine singled to start the inning. However, Reyes got some help from Patrick Leyland, who grounded into a double play on a 2-0 count.
“I think it was just a little mental,” said Reyes of missing the zone early. “Just trying to do too much with pitches and just not being as aggressive as I like to be.”
An aggressive defensive play in left field ended Ronald Castillo’s night after a headfirst diving catch in the fourth. Castillo, who missed 10 games this season after tweaking the same shoulder, finished the inning but was replaced by Matt Young when the Spikes batted in the fourth.
Spikes’ manager Oliver Marmol said Castillo’s status is unknown pending further evaluations.
The probable starters for Monday’s seven-inning contest after completion of the suspended game were right-hander Willy Paulino (1-1) for State College and right-hander Jonathon Crawford (0-1) for Connecticut.
Marmol said the makeshift doubleheader won’t cause his lineup or pitching staff any problems, but Graham said his bullpen would be taxed.
“It’s always tough on the bullpen, having to cover 11 innings tomorrow,” Graham said. “Especially because we have a doubleheader (Friday against Lowell). So it’s one of those things, but it’s part of the game and these guys maybe have to get used to coming off no days rest.”
The Spikes will travel to Mahoning Valley on Tuesday to begin a three-game series with the Scrappers. State College returns home on Friday for two games with Auburn.