HIGH POINT, N.C. – Southern Maryland and High Point played a version of Home Run Derby on Friday night with the Blue Crabs coming out on top, 8-6 on the scoreboard and 5-4 on the home run tally. K.C. Hobson of So. Maryland and High Point’s Zander Wiel each claimed the individual award with two home runs apiece.
The loss drops High Point to 29-15 on the season and one and one-half games back from Gastonia (30-13) in the race for Southern Division title in the Atlantic League.
Ian Kahaloa (W, 3-3) was the starter and picked up the win for the Blue Crabs, giving up eight hits and five runs, while striking out eight.
Southern Maryland scored first off Rocker’s starter Liam O’ Sullivan. Hobson hit a solo home run off the video board leading off the second to give the Blue Crabs a 1-0 lead.
The Rockers responded in the bottom of the second off Kahaloa. Wiel hit a solo home run to left field to tie the game.
With three runs in the fourth, Southern Maryland regained the lead. Braxton Lee hit a solo home run to left field. Hobson walked and scored on a home run from Alex Crosby, to put the Blue Crabs up 4-1.
High Point plated two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Ryan Grotjohn hit a home run to right field, his seventh of the year. D.J. Burt singled up the middle followed up by a single from Michael Martinez. Brian Parreira flew out to right to move Burt to third base. Dai-Kang Yang then drove in Burt with a single to make the score 4-3.
The Blue Crabs extended the lead 5-3 at the top of the fifth. Michael Baca hit a double to center field, followed by a fielding error by Burt to advance Baca to third. Matt Hibbert hit an RBI single to score Baca.
High Point tied it up in the bottom of the fifth. Michael Russell singled to left field. Wiel then hit his second home run of the night off the center field wall to score Russell and make the score 5-5.
Jeremy Rhoads (L, 5-1) came on to pitch the sixth and allowed a solo homer to Khalil Lee leading off the frame that put So. Maryland back in front 6-5. The home run was followed up by back to back singles from Jose Rosario and Ryan Haug and a walk to Baca. Cam Bedrosian then came in to pitch for the Rockers with bases loaded. Bedrosian was able to pitch out of the inning with back to back strikeouts and a groundout to first.
Taylor Guerrieri pitched the eighth for High Point. Baca reached with a fielder’s choice and moved all the way to third when Guerrieri’s pickoff attempt sailed wide of first. A wild pitch then scored Baca, giving the Blue Crabs a 7-5 advantage.
Hobson hit his second home run of the night off Jameson McGrane to put Southern Maryland up 8-5 in the top of the ninth inning.
Issac Mattson came in too close for the Blue Crabs in the ninth, picking up his third save of the season.
In one last effort to catch the Blue Crabs, Dai-Kang Yang hit an opposite field home run off Mattson to put the score at 8-, in the bottom of the ninth.
High Point and Southern Maryland will play the second game of the three-game series on Saturday at 6:35 p.m. at Truist Point. The game will be streamed live on FloBaseball and also available on the Mixlr app. The first 1,000 fans will receive a free baseball courtesy of B & H Heating & Air Conditioning Inc.