GASTONIA, N.C. – The High Point Rockers jumped out to a 6-0 lead over Gastonia on Friday night but the Honey Hunters rallied to take a 7-6 decision at CaroMont Health Park.
The loss was High Point’s seventh straight. Now with a 28-16 record, the Rockers are two games behind Atlantic League South Division-leading Gastonia at 30-14.
The Rockers came out swinging in the first inning, tallying six runs for a quick 6-0 lead. With one out, Ben Aklinski doubled and scored on a Jerry Downs single. Quincy Latimore singled and Logan Morrison drew a walk to load the bases. Tyler Ladendorf grounded out to force home a run and a Michael Russell infield ground ball produced a third run. With two on, Mike Gulino slammed his first home run of the season to complete the first inning scoring.
High Point starter Craig Stem kept the Honey Hunters off the board through the first four innings, allowing just three hits. But Gastonia tallied six times in the fifth, using five singles, a double, a wild pitch and a hit batter to draw within one run. Jake Reinheimer, Rayder Ascanio and Emmanuel Tapia had run-scoring singles for Gastonia and Luis Castro added an RBI double. Another run scored on a Stem wild pitch.
John Hayes (L, 2-1) came on in the sixth for High Point and lead-off hitter Zach Jarrett singled then stole second and third. After a pair of strikeouts, Herlis Rodriguez singled to right to bring home Jarrett with the go-ahead run.
The Rockers had one final chance, putting two runners on with one out in the ninth but Gastonia’s Jesus Balaguer extinguished the fire in earning his eighth save of the season.
Gastonia’s Marcus Walden (W, 3-0) sent seven innings and allowed four hits while striking out three.
High Point and Gastonia will play again on Saturday at 6:15 p.m. at CaroMont Health Park.
NOTES: Prior to the game the Rockers activated INF Tyler Ladendorf, C Mike Gulino and LHP Bryce Hensley off of the Injured List. Craig Stem was activated from the Inactive List. High Point released three players: C Yuta Okazaki, RHP Gavin Heltemes and OF Liam Scafariello.