Thwarted by thunderstorms a day earlier, the State College Spikes survived more of them during a doubleheader Thursday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
With thunder and lightning — and heavy rains — just beyond the stadium walls, the Spikes fell 8-4 to the West Virginia Black Bears in the opener.
There was no dodging the drops and lightning in the nightcap, with the Spikes finally prevailing 7-4 after a brief interruption.
“We’re not the most talented team in (the New York-Penn League),” manager Johnny Rodriguez said. “We have to play our game, which is, ‘go about your business.’ That’s what we are. We’re businesslike.”
Spencer Trayner pitched four impressive shutout innings in the nightcap, facing just two batters over the minimum while allowing three hits and no walks in the second game.
“Trayner in that second game was just awesome,” Rodriguez said. “He just went out there and gave us everything.”
Andy Young ripped a pair of triples to highlight the offense for the Spikes, and Elier Rodriguez had three singles over the two games to extend his hit streak to nine games.
Stephan Alamais and Ty Moore hit solo home runs for West Virginia (24-29) in the opener, with Moore finishing 3 for 5 along with Sandy Santos.
Ryan McCarvel ripped a two-run homer for State College (36-17), which was held to four hits.
Danny Beddes (4-2) pitched one-hit ball over six innings for the win. The 15th-round draft pick out of Utah Valley in June, who hit 97 mph on the radar gun, has given up a total of six runs over his last six starts.
Spikes pitchers: Right-handed pitcher Bryan Dobzanski (4-5) started the game Wednesday, threw 19 pitches to four batters and was tagged with the very tough-luck loss. The only hit and run allowed was Alamais’ homer. But he couldn’t return to the mound Thursday, so the team had to depend on the bullpen. Dobzanski will pitch again Saturday.
The team also had to use Dewin Perez, who gave up 5 runs, four hits and four walks over two innings, along with Jhonatan Escudero and Greg Tomchik.
It didn’t help the team saw righty Harley Holt promoted to Single-A Peoria on Wednesday. He was the scheduled starter Friday.
“We’re thin,” Johnny Rodriguez said. “But I’m not asking for anybody, not calling anybody.”
Trayner was sharp for his start, though he didn’t get a decision. Gerwuins Velazco and Eric Carter finished the game.
Black Bears pitchers: James Marvel was Wednesday’s starter, warmed up but never threw an official pitch before the umpires sent everyone off the field.
Ouch: Spikes starting catcher Jeremy Martinez took a pitch that bounced in the dirt and off his wrist in the third inning and had to leave the game. That left Riley Drongesen as the only catcher available. Ryan McCarvel, playing first base in the opener, caught the second game
Johnny Rodriguez said Martinez was fine, and might be in the lineup as a designated hitter Friday.
Also, left fielder Anthony Ray made a spectacular diving catch just over the foul line for the third out of the first inning in the second game, sliding on the warning track and slamming fairly hard into the wall. The play saved two runs from scoring. He left the field seeming to favor his right shoulder and didn’t return, and Johnny Rodriguez said Ray also was to undergo concussion protocol.
“A-Ray sets the tone for the game,” Rodriguez said. “The play of the year, maybe.”
Black Bears: During the nine minutes of action played Wednesday, Alamais cracked his solo homer to left. With the restart and new pitcher Perez, the Bears added five runs in the second with an RBI double for Hunter Owen, the three bases-loaded walks and a Kevin Krause sacrifice fly. All through the inning, rain poured over Mount Nittany and toward Bellefonte, with dozens of lightning flashes, but it all avoided the stadium.
Another run came home in the fourth on a Spikes error, and Moore capped the scoring with a solo shot, his first homer of the season, to the bleachers in right in the ninth.
Spikes: McCarvel got the Spikes on the board with a two-run homer in the fourth, clearing the wall just to the left of center field for his sixth round-tripper of the season. Drongesen doubled to the wall at the 410-foot mark in left-center and scored on a wild pitch in the seventh, and Mick Fennell doubled to right and scored on a Young sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Spikes: The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fourth. Young led off with a triple but was erased at home by shortstop Erik Forgione on a McCarvel grounder. But McCarvel and Ricardo Bautista later scored on Elier Rodriguez’s single to left.
They put three more runs across home plate in the fifth on a two-run triple to center for Young, with a Vince Jackson fly to center scoring Young. Play was halted not long after for rain and the loss of stadium lights, with a delay of 44 minutes, before the contest was finished with only a handful of fans left in the stadium.
“I always worry about the momentum change,” Johnny Rodriguez said. “When you have that momentum, and then you stop to reload, it’s not easy.”
Two insurance runs were added in the sixth. Elier Rodriguez singled and scored on a Fennell ground out, and Tommy Edman had an RBI single.
Black Bears: The shutout was spoiled in the sixth with four straight singles, the last by Albert Baur to score a run, before the bases were cleared on a Santos double.
Spikes: The team begins a three-game series with the Staten Island Yankees at 7:05 p.m. Friday. Left-handed pitcher Jordan DeLorenzo (1-0, 3.21 ERA) will get the start.
Yankees: Staten Island will send right-hander Kolton Mahoney (4-3, 2.42), a 16th-round draft pick out of BYU in 2015, to the mound.