WALDORF, Md. – The High Point Rockers, fresh off a seven-win homestand, headed back on the road on Friday and suffered a 3-1 defeat at Southern Maryland.
The Rockers dropped to 34-16 on the season while Gastonia (35-15) held a late lead over Staten Island on Friday night.
With the game scoreless through four innings, the Blue Crabs broke the ice with a single run in the fifth when High Point starter Ryan Weiss allowed a lead-off single to Khalil Lee. Jose Rosario then doubled to left, scoring Lee and giving So. Maryland a 1-0 lead. It grew to a 2-0 Blue Crab lead in the sixth when Braxton Lee hit a solo homer, his seventh of the season.
The Rockers began to claw back, pulling within a single run in the seventh. Dai-Kang Yang doubled to start the frame, leading to So. Maryland starter Neil Uskali coming out of the game. Facing reliever Jim Fuller, Brian Parreira singled to center to score Yang and make it a 2-1 game.
Uskali, the former Rocker, went six innings and held the Rockers to five hits and one run while walking three and striking out seven. Closer James Dykstra issued one walk to the Rockers in the ninth in earning his second save of the campaign.
Weiss went longer than any other Rocker starter this year, pitching 7.2 innings with seven hits and all three runs. He did not issue a walk while striking out six.
Yang led the Rockers with three hits including a pair of doubles.
The Rockers and Blue Crabs will play game two of their three-game series on Saturday at 6:35 p.m. and will conclude the series on Sunday at 2:05.
NOTES: The Rockers are expected to sign LHP Justin Nicolino and have him start Saturday’s game at Southern Maryland. Nicoline was the Rockers’ Opening Day pitcher in 2022 and made four starts for the Rockers, going 3-1 with a 1.85 ERA. His contract was acquired in May 2022 by the Cincinnati Reds and finished the season at Class AAA Louisville and then made six starts with Durango in the Mexican League earlier this year. . . The Rockers released 1B Montrell Marshall on Friday . . . OF Dai-Kang Yang, also known as Daikan Yoh, is hitting .500 in June with three homers and eight RBI in seven games since coming off the injured list. He is riding a seven-game hitting streak.