Benson's record night leads Spikes to huge win

University Park, Centre County, Pa. - Brandon Benson, the St. Louis Cardinals’ 20th-round draft choice in 2017 out of Georgia College, made history on Thursday night at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field. Benson tied the Spikes’ single-game record with six runs batted in as part of a four-hit night, and capped it with the club’s first grand slam in three years in a 9-0 victory over the Williamsport Crosscutters.

The Loganville, GA native, in his ninth game with State College (10-7), scored the game’s first run after his single in the second. Benson followed with a base hit that dropped into right field to score Evan Mendoza in the third, and tripled in another run in the seventh inning.

Benson then finished his night with a grand slam to left-center field in the ninth, the first for the Spikes since Jake Stone smashed a slam against Jamestown on July 4, 2014.

The right fielder’s stout offensive effort bolstered a strong mound performance by State College righty Sam Tewes (1-2), who notched his first professional win. Tewes started the Spikes’ shutout by yielding six hits, two walks and a hit batsman while striking out four batters over 6 2/3 innings. The 2016 eighth-round draft choice also escaped bases-loaded situations in the fourth and fifth en route to the victory.

Leland Tilley completed the Spikes’ second shutout win of the year with 2 1/3 innings in which he allowed one hit, one walk and one hit batsman while notching two strikeouts.

Mendoza, the Cardinals’ 2017 11th-round draft choice, and Zach Kirtley, taken by the Cardinals in the fifth round this year, each collected three hits for the Spikes. Mendoza also scored three runs, while Kirtley drove in one.

Tyler Lancaster’s RBI single in the second also stretched his on-base streak to 15 games and tied him with Reed Gamache of Brooklyn for the longest such string in the New York-Penn League.

Williamsport (8-9) starter Andrew Brown (1-1) took the loss. Brown, a right-hander who took the rotation spot originally slated for left-hander Kyle Young, gave up two runs on seven hits and a walk over five innings. Brown also struck out five batters in the effort.

The Spikes will now bring their momentum back to Medlar Field at Lubrano Park as they start a three-game weekend series against the Auburn Doubledays (Washington Nationals) with a 7:05 p.m. matchup on Friday. State College is slated to send left-hander Daniel Castano (3-0) to the mound. Castano leads the NYPL with 25 strikeouts, and is one of seven pitchers in the league with three wins.

Auburn is set to go with left-hander Alex Troop (0-0) on the hill for his second pro appearance after being drafted by Washington in the ninth round of the 2017 MLB Draft out of Michigan State.

The Doubledays will also bring a familiar face back to Happy Valley as State College Area High School graduate Nick Raquet, the Nationals’ 2017 third-round draft choice out of William & Mary, joins the club for the trip. Raquet, who last pitched on Tuesday, is not slated to start during the series, but may make a bullpen appearance.

The fun starts on Friday with Princess Night and Daddy-Daughter Date Night that evening, featuring a Post-Game Family Dance. Plus, fans can purchase the 4 for $44 Friday Northwest Family Value Ticket Package, with four of our best seats, four hot dogs and four small sodas available for just $44.

After the game, kids 12 and under can also run the bases thanks to Wonderland Charter School.

More fun is in store for Spikes fans this weekend, including a special $1 Beer Saturday and the All-American BBQ featuring individual tickets in the Pepsi Picnic Pavilion at Saturday’s noon game, as well as Military Appreciation Night with FIREWORKS after the game presented by Lion Country Kia at Sunday’s 6:05 p.m. game.

Tickets for all three games, as well as every game on the Spikes’ 2017 home schedule, are currently on sale through the Spikes Ticket Office by calling (814) 272-1711 or by visiting in person. Fans can also buy and download single-game tickets by visiting

Catch all of the action on Friday via the Spikes Radio Network, presented by Penn State Health, at 6:35 p.m. with Spikes Live, presented by Mount Nittany Health, on the air from Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. The Spikes’ radio broadcast can also be heard worldwide through the “Listen Live” link on, provided by the club’s flagship radio home, Newsradio 1390 WRSC, as well as the TuneIn Radio app.

Spikes fans can also catch home games in 2017 even when outside Central PA thanks to MiLB.TV to stream all games online to paid subscribers of the service. MiLB.TV offers fans the chance to follow the game’s future stars across Minor League Baseball, with more than 5,000 games streamed live, including affiliates of all 30 MLB teams, and complete game archives available on demand. Fans can use the promo code “SPIKES” to save $10 on the regular yearly price.

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