HIGH POINT, N.C. – Gastonia’s Zach Jarrett hit a pair of home runs and the Honey Hunters jumped out to a 6-0 lead and held on to take a 12-5 decision from the High Point Rockers on Saturday night in front of 2,277 fans at Truist Point. It was just the third loss of the season for the Rockers as their record stands at 12-3 and remains the best in the Atlantic League.
Jarrett led off the fourth inning with a solo homer to break the 0-0 tie. Jarrett’s homer was followed by a three-run shot from Lamar Briggs as the Honey Hunters scored six times on four hits off High Point starter Brandon Leibrandt (L, 0-1). Jarrett’s solo shot leading off the fifth gave Gastonia a 7-0 lead.
The Rockers countered with a Ben Aklinski homer with nobody on in the fifth to make it a 7-1 game. But Gastonia again responded, scoring two more in the top of the sixth for a 9-1 advantage.
High Point rallied with four runs in the sixth to close the gap to 9-5. Walks to John Daly and Michael Russell set the stage for a John Nogowski RBI single, followed by a run-scoring single from Aklinski and a two-run single from Ryan Grotjohn.
But that would be all the scoring for the Rockers as Gastonia relievers Bryan Blanton and Tyler Thomas kept High Point scoreless over the final three innings.
Gastonia starter Ian McKinney (W, 1-1) retired the first 13 Rockers he faced and didn’t allow a base runner until Aklinski’s homer in the fifth. He allowed just one run over 5.1 innings while striking out six.
The Rockers finished with just four hits with Aklinski getting two of them.
The Rockers and Honey Hunters play the final game and the rubber match of their three-game series on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. at Truist Point. It is Nurses Appreciation Day with all nurses receiving 50 percent off their ticket order with their medical ID. Kids and moms get to run the bases following the game.