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Paige's dramatic homer forces tiebreaker, Spikes fall

Marques Paige, seen here in 2021 when he led the Spikes with six homers, hit his first of the 2022 MLB Draft League season on Wednesday as part of a four-RBI game as the Spikes defeated West Virginia, 8-7. (Steve Manuel)
August 12, 2022

BOX SCORE PLAY-BY-PLAY UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Facing his last strike with two outs and the bases empty in the bottom of the ninth, Marques Paige lined one off the right-field foul pole for a solo shot to send the State College Spikes into the MLB Draft League Sudden Death

BOX SCORE

PLAY-BY-PLAY

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Facing his last strike with two outs and the bases empty in the bottom of the ninth, Marques Paige lined one off the right-field foul pole for a solo shot to send the State College Spikes into the MLB Draft League Sudden Death Tiebreaker after a 3-3 tie in regulation, but the West Virginia Black Bears recorded three outs to take the victory on Thursday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

Paige, who led the Spikes (10-9 2nd half) in home runs with six in the 2021 season, homered for the second straight game on Thursday. The Las Vegas native collected just the third hit of the MLB Draft League season against West Virginia (12-7 2nd half) closer Grayson Thurman, who had held opposing hitters to just a .071 average in his first 8 1/3 innings for the Black Bears.

In the Sudden Death Tiebreaker, though, West Virginia turned a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play by whiffing Trent Taylor and catching designated runner DeAndre Shelton stealing. After an intentional walk to Brock Reller, Thurman forced Luis Aviles to ground out back to him to seal the victory.

Reller had brought the Spikes back in the opening frame with a two-out, two-run homer to right field off Black Bears starter Zach Bravo. The long ball was the third of the season for the Northeastern (Okla.) State product, who also stretched his streak of games with a run batted in to eight. Reller’s string is second only to David Washington’s nine straight in 2013 across the history of the Spikes.

Taylor also extended his hitting streak to 11 games in the first with an infield single. The string is the longest currently going in the MLB Draft League and matches three other such streaks for the longest in the league throughout the 2022 season.

West Virginia took advantage of a pair of errors and Adan Fernandez’s double in the first to plate their first two runs. The Black Bears also took the lead in the sixth on Maddux Houghton’s double down the left field line to plate J.C. Santini.

Logan Mathieu, whose hometown of Bellefonte, Pa. was celebrated on Thursday as part of Bellefonte Community Night at the ballpark, was held in check with an 0-for-5 performance after going 6-for-11 in the first two games of the series. Mathieu did drive in his 23rd run batted in of the year as he reached on an error in the first, increasing his league-leading total in that category.

Spikes starter Jared Kengott allowed just two unearned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out four batters over five innings of work.

No winning or losing pitcher is recorded in games that reach the MLB Draft League Sudden Death Tiebreaker.

Friday, the Spikes begin a three-game series against the Williamsport Crosscutters, with all three matchups taking place at Muncy Bank Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field. The 6:35 p.m. series opener will feature right-hander J.D. Daniels (1-1) on the mound for the Spikes against an as yet unannounced starter for Williamsport.

Following the set in Williamsport and a three-game series against the Mahoning Valley Scrappers at Eastwood Field from Tuesday through Thursday, the Spikes return home for a three-game series against the Crosscutters at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park from Friday, August 19 through Sunday, August 21.

The series will feature another chance for fans to see FIREWORKS from the Field, as College Township presents the spectacular post-game show on Saturday, August 20. It’s also Space Night on the same date, with a Post-Game Rocket Launch.

More highlights include Heroes Night and Make-A-Wish Night on a 4 for $44 Friday presented by 95.3 3WZ on the 19th, as well as Witches & Wizards Night on a Sunday Funday presented by Bigfoot Country Legends as part of a 4:05 p.m. game on the 21st.

Tickets for the upcoming homestand, as well as all 11 remaining games on the Spikes’ biggest regular season home schedule in franchise history, including all three remaining FIREWORKS from the Field shows, are available now. Tickets can be purchased by calling (814) 272-1711 or by visiting the Spikes Ticket Office in person from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Fans can also buy and download single-game tickets, and view the full 2022 promotional schedule, at the only source for authentic Spikes tickets online by visiting StateCollegeSpikes.com.

More ticket packages, including Flex Books and an array of group and hospitality options for the 2022 season, are currently on sale by calling the Spikes at (814) 272-1711. Additional information on all club ticketing options, as well as team news and schedule info, can be viewed at StateCollegeSpikes.com.

Catch all the action of the Spikes’ game on Fridday via the Spikes Radio Network presented by Penn State Sports Medicine, Official Healthcare Provider of Penn State Athletics with Steve Jones and Joe Putnam on the call. The broadcast starts with Spikes Live! presented by Mount Nittany Health, on the air from Muncy Bank Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field at 6:20 p.m.

The game can be viewed worldwide on the MLB Draft League streaming platform at MLBDraftLeague.com/streaming, along with the “Listen Live” link on StateCollegeSpikes.com and the TuneIn Radio app.