STATE COLLEGE - Matt Benedict earned his first pro win with a strong five innings of mound work, and Brian Sharp's two-run single in the fifth inning helped propel the State College Spikes to a 5-2 win over the Mahoning Valley Scrappers to snap a four-game losing streak on Wednesday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Sharp's base hit to left scored Derek Trent and Samuel Gonzalez to give the Spikes (3-10) a 2-1 lead. Taylor Lewis followed with a two-out single of his own to bring Sharp across and make it 3-1, State College. The Spikes added a pair of runs in the sixth inning when Gonzalez tripled to center to drive in Chris Lashmet and later scored himself on one of the four Mahoning Valley (9-4) errors in the game.
Benedict (1-0) allowed his first earned run as a professional pitcher in the fifth inning on a wild pitch, but also yielded just four hits and struck out three over five innings. The outing tied for the longest by a Spikes pitcher this season, matching the previous two performances by Nick Kingham. Benedict now holds a 0.73 ERA on the year.
Gonzalez's three-bagger was the lone extra base hit of the game, and the designated hitter also scored a pair of runs.
Mitch Fienemann (2) gave up a walk, but retired the other three batters he faced in the ninth inning to earn the save and finish his New York-Penn League-leading sixth game of the season.
Scrappers left-hander Kirk Wetmore (2-1) picked up the loss after allowing the Spikes' three fifth-inning runs, which were all unearned. The runs were the first of any kind that the southpaw had allowed in his first three starts. Wetmore also yielded four hits and a walk after allowing hitters just a .118 average in 2011 prior to the game, while also striking out six batters.
State College's victory was the first come-from-behind win of the year, as well as the first win in which the Spikes were outhit (7-5).
The Spikes will look for back-to-back wins for the first time in 2011 when they face the Scrappers in the second game of a three-game set at 7:05 p.m. Thursday. State College will have right-hander Ryan Hafner (0-0) on the mound. Hafner, originally slated for the start on Wednesday before last week's rain caused rotation changes, has not allowed a run or walk this season in two starts, and has notched six strikeouts. Mahoning Valley will go with right-hander Rob Nixon (1-1).