HIGH POINT, N.C. – Logan Morrison had five hits and the High Point Rockers exploded for five runs in the seventh inning in an 8-3 win over Gastonia on Friday night in front of a crowd of 2,124 at Truist Point.
The Rockers trailed the Honey Hunters 3-1 going into the seventh before scoring five runs on just two hits to take a 6-3 lead. The Rockers used four walks, a pair of hits and a hit batter to tally their runs. Morrison started the scoring with a bases-loaded RBI single before pinch-hitter Michael Martinez beat out an infield single to score the second run. With the bases still loaded, Quincy Latimore was hit by a pitch, Roldani Baldwin drew a walk and Tyler Ladendorf plated the final run with a fielder’s choice.
The Rockers added two insurance runs in the eighth inning on a single by Giovanny Alfonzo and an RBI double by Michael Russell. Morrison then blooped a single to center that scored Russell.
In the top of the ninth, Gastonia’s Luis Roman lined a potential extra base hit into the gap in left-center but Aklinski made a remarkable diving catch to keep the Honey Hunters off the bases.
Junior Rincon (W, 2-1) earned the win by pitching a shutout inning in the seventh. Mitch Atkins started and went four innings, allowing five hits and three runs while striking our four. Knuckleballer Mickey Jannis tossed two scoreless innings in relief of Atkins while Tyler Higgins shut down Gastonia with a pair of strikeouts in the eighth. Ryan Dull closed the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning aided by Aklinski’s highlight catch.
Gastonia jumped to an early 1-0 when Herlis Rodriguez opened the game with a triple and scored on a sac fly by Jack Reinheimer. Morrison’s solo homer in the bottom of the first tied the game at 1-1.
Gastonia went up 3-1 in the fourth on a double by Zach Jarrett and a two-run homer from Luis Roman.
Zack Godley started and went four innings for the Honey Hunters, allowing just three hits and striking out four before suffering an injury while warming up for the fifth inning. Enrique Zabaleta tossed two scoreless innings before Euclides Leyer (L, 4-3) started the seventh inning and lasted just one-third of an inning. He yielded two hits and five runs while walking three.
The win puts the Rockers at 59-53 overall and 20-26 in the second half of the Atlantic League season. The Rockers started the evening one-half game back of Kentucky in the league’s wild card race. Kentucky kept that margin with a 6-1 win over Lexington on Friday night.
The Rockers and Honey Hunters will meet in the second game of the three-game series on Saturday at 6:35 p.m. at Truist Point.