GASTONIA, N.C. – High Point and Gastonia traded big innings but in the end it was Mother Nature that prevailed. The Rockers fell to Gastonia 8-5 on Tuesday night in a rain-shortened five inning game at CaroMont Health Park.
The Rockers start the second half of the Atlantic League season with an 0-1 record while standing at 39-28 overall.
Rookie Nick Evangelista made his third start and faced Gaston’s Reilly Hovis. Hovis held the Rockers without a baserunner through the first three frames as the Honey Hunters took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third on a solo homer by Emmanuel Tapia.
The Rockers bounced back with a vengeance in the top of the fourth. Jay Gonzalez walked and stole second in front of a Zander Wiel walk. Jerry Downs singled to drive in Gonzalez and Quincy Latimore unloaded a three-run homer. Tyler Ladendorf doubled to left and then scored on a single by Mike Gulino and the Rockers had a five-run inning and a 5-1 lead.
But Gastonia flipped the table in the bottom of the fourth. Joseph Rosa led off with a triple and Zach Jarrett unloaded his seventh homer of the year to make it a 5-3 game. Walks to Reece Hampton and Rayder Ascanio sandwiched around a ground out put runners on first and third. Ascanio set off to steal second and Gulino’s throw to second was cut off by Giovanny Alfonzo but his throw to the plate was not in time to nail Hampton. Stuart Levy then doubled home Ascanio and Bryce Hensley came on to relieve Evangelista. Hensley was greeted by a double by an RBI double from Herlis Rodriguez, and fielding error at third by Michael Martinez that plated a run and a Rosa double. The Honey Hunters tallied seven times in the inning and led 8-5.
Hovis put the Rockers down in the fifth and reliever Austion Glorius did the same against Gastonia in the bottom of the fifth. That’s when the rains came and after a 28-minute delay, the umpires called the game.
Evangelista (L, 1-2) gave up five hits and six runs in his 3.2 innings while Hovis (W, 5-2) allowed five hits and five runs in his five innings with one strikeout.
The Rockers and Gastonia move the series to Truist Point on Wednesday and Thursday with each game starting at 6:35 p.m. The final three games of the series will be played over the weekend in Gastonia.