CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The High Point Rockers hit three home runs and starting pitcher Craig Stem threw seven shutout innings as the Rockers won their seventh straight game with a 12-0 win over Charleston on Thursday night at Appalachian Power Park.
The seven-game winning streak is the second-longest this year for the Rockers as they won 10 straight between May 18 and June 2. The Rockers are now 37-27 on the season.
Stem and a pair of relievers held Charleston to just four hits on the night and only two Charleston base runners were able to get to second base over the first seven innings.
The Rockers pounded out 10 hits and received home runs from Zander Wiel, Logan Morrison and Tyler Ladendorf.
The Rockers staked Stem to three runs before he even took the mound for his first pitch. In the top of the first, Ben Aklinski drew a one-out walk and Jerry Downs was hit by a pitch by Dirty Bird starter Jordan Stephens. Wiel then unloaded his 15th home run of the year to give the Rockers a 3-0 lead.
With two outs in the third inning, Wiel walked and scored on Morrison’s seventh homer of the year for a 5-0 High Point advantage.
Downs walked to start the fifth inning and moved to third on a single by Wiel. Morrison’s sacrifice fly scored Downs to give the Rockers a 6-0 lead. The Rockers doubled their lead to 12-0 with a six-run seventh inning. Reliever Michael Gunn hit Aklinski with a pitch and was followed by a Downs RBI double. Later in the inning, Ladendorf would hit a three-run homer, his sixth of the year. After walks to Mike Gulino and Johnny Field, Aklinski ripped an RBI single to center to score Gulino.
Stem threw seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and no walks while striking out four. William Kirwan, recently acquired by the Rockers after being released by Kentucky, came on in the eighth inning and allowed one hit and one walk. Joe Johnson threw a three-up, three-down ninth inning with a strikeout to close out the Dirty Birds.
The Rockers return home for a three-game Independence Day weekend series with North Division champion Southern Maryland. Game time for Friday’s series opener is set for 6:35 p.m. at Truist Point.