The State College Spikes could be excused if they looked a little bleary-eyed Tuesday.
After winning Monday night in Vermont, the team rode 475 miles on a bus to get home at 7:15 Tuesday morning.
With a little sleep on the ride and then in their own beds, they were back at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park by 5:30 p.m. to meet the West Virginia Black Bears.
“Guys were a little tired, but that’s no excuse,” second baseman and leadoff hitter Tommy Edman said. “It’s the game of baseball no matter what.”
The Bears racked up 16 hits to rough up the Spikes 7-4.
“(The long ride) had nothing to do with what happened out there,” said manager Johnny Rodriguez, whose team made only one error. “Nothing to do with it. Actually, we had more energy. How could we come up and almost tie the game, actually take the lead in the last inning?”
The Spikes (35-16), who had won three straight and 11 of the last 13, collected 10 hits with a big day from Edman, who was 3 for 3 with two walks.
“Today was definitely one of those days where I was seeing the ball pretty well,” Edman said. “… It’s kind of weird how it happens, when you have a ‘show-and-go’ day, get back so late (this morning). It just turns out to be one of my best days of the year.”
Yariel Gonzalez had two hits and two RBIs and Danny Hudzina also had a pair of hits.
The Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate (23-28) got hits from 8 of 9 batters in the lineup, paced by a 3 for 5 day from Stephen Alemais and a 3 for 3 day with two walks from Albert Baur. Will Craig, Kevin Krause, Sandy Santos and Hunter Owen each had a pair of hits.
Steven Farinaro (6-1) had a rough night, allowing 12 hits, five runs and two walks with one strikeout over 5 2/3 innings.
“Farinaro just didn’t have it,” Rodriguez said. “He didn’t have his location, didn’t have his finish, nothing was finishing, flat and very hittable.”
Stephen Meyer (2-4) pitched six solid innings for the win, giving up just one run with two walks, two strikeouts and six hits allowed.
The Black Bears jumped ahead early, with Craig doubling to right — his 12th of the season — and scoring on a Krause single in the first. Owen walked and scored on an Alemais single in the second, while in the third Santos ripped a two-run triple to the wall in right-center.
Baur roped his 11th double of the season and scored on an Arden Pabst sacrifice fly in the fifth, while two more crossed in the eighth on a Krause RBI fielder’s choice and a Baur RBI single.
After Edman reached base on his first two at-bats, he finally came around to score in the fifth, singling to left and racing the rest of the way home on a Gonzalez double to right.
That was the team’s offensive highlight until the bottom of the ninth when it loaded the bases with no outs. Anthony Ray’s grounder was bobbled to bring in one run, a passed ball plated another and a Gonzalez fly ball plated another run, but Vince Jackson struck out as the tying run to end the game, a learning experience for a future with longer bus rides up the minor league ladder.
“They saw their energy was good,” Rodriguez said. “… I was more than happy with the effort that they put out there.”
Up and down
All-Stars: Five Spikes were named to the New York-Penn League’s All-Star Game on Tuesday, matching the franchise record for most representatives to the showcase of the future stars of baseball. Infielders Edman, Hudzina and Elier Rodriguez were named to the team along with catcher Jeremy Martinez and relief pitcher Eric Carter. They will play on the South team.
“Could have been seven (players), could have been more,” Johnny Rodriguez said. “… They worked for that. They earned that.”
The contest will be played next Tuesday at Dutchess Stadium, home of the Hudson Valley Renegades.
Welcome back: A former State College Spike was on the mound for the Black Bears. Jason Creasy, who was with the Spikes in 2012, is with the Bears on a rehab assignment from Class AA Altoona. He pitched two innings, striking out one and allowing a hit.
Spikes: The teams will tangle in Game 2 of the three-game series, with right-handed pitcher Bryan Dobzanski (4-4, 3.73 ERA) scheduled to start.
Black Bears: Righty James Marvel (3-6, 4.96) is slotted for the start for the Bears.