The Dominion Post  
 

Black Bears’ losing streak reaches 5

Created on:   Tue, Aug 29, 2017   12:12 AM

Last modified:   Tue, Aug 29, 2017   12:12 AM

The Dominion Post

GRANVILLE — Not even an interesting change in the batting order could shake up the late-season funk the West Virginia Black Bears find themselves in.

State College (Pa.) scored five runs in the telling sixth inning Aug. 28, leading the Spikes to a 10-6 victory, in front of 1,591 inside Monongalia County Ballpark.

West Virginia has now lost five straight games and nine of its last 11.

“The only thing I can say about it is baseball is going to be baseball and there are a lot of highs and lows in this game,” said Black Bears outfielder Bligh Madris who went 2 for 5 with a double and his fifth home run of the season while batting leadoff for just the second time this season.

“Toward the end of the season, you have guys get tired. You never know what’s happening in a clubhouse sometimes. It’s nothing with our team having problems. This game is just a roller coaster.”

All five runs were charged to reliever Hector Quinones, who was in his first inning of relief.

He allowed four consecutive singles and then a double before recording his first out, allowing the Spikes (35-31) to wipe out a 5-3 deficit and take an 8-5 lead.

State College and West Virginia (35-31) are now tied for second place in the Pinckney Division of the New York-Penn League.

Mahoning Valley swept a double-header with Batavia, giving the Scrappers a 4 1/2 game lead over the Black Bears and State College, who both have 10 games remaining in the season.

“No one likes losing, but you have to take every game and learn from it,” said West Virginia shortstop Tristan Gray, who also had two hits and a home run, his sixth of the season. “No matter if we’re up 10 runs or down 10, you have to give the same effort. It happens.”

Maybe to shake things up, West Virginia manager Brian Esposito inserted Madris into the leadoff spot — “I led off in one game against Batavia this year, but I’ve never been a leadoff guy before,” Madris said.

It looked good early, as Madris doubled hom two runs in the third with a double and then added a solo home run into the Black Bears bullpen that gave West Virginia the 5-3 advantage.

“I led off a few times in college, but it’s still new to me,” said Madris, who is batting .272 on the season. “I like being able to get aggressive and swing at fast balls right off the bat. It was kind of fun.”

State College scored two more runs in the seventh off Black Bears reliever Joel Cesar.

State College outfielder Brandon Benson went 3 for 4 and drove in three runs.

West Virginia starter Beau Sulser went five innings and gave up three runs on six hits.

Daniel Castano (8-3) picked up the win. He went six innings and allowed five runs and struck out seven.

The two teams will play again, at 7:05 p.m. Aug. 29.

NOTE

Hunter Owen, a 2016 Black Bear, started at third base on a rehab assignment from the West Virginia Power. He was 0 for 4, with two strikeouts and also committed a throwing error.