LEXINGTON, Ky, – The High Point Rockers, who had a chance to clinch an Atlantic League playoff berth on Sunday night, will have to wait and celebrate after Kentucky took a 9-7 decision from the Rockers on Sunday afternoon at Wild Health Field.
High Point is 69-57 on the season and continue to lead the ALPB Wild Card race. The Rockers have a 5.5 game lead on Kentucky with six games left to play. The Genomes have seven remaining contests.
The Rockers tallied a single run in the top of the first when Michael Russell hit a solo homer, his eighth of the year. But the Genomes, after being held to just five runs over the first two games of the series, scored three runs in the first and four more in the second off High Point starter Neil Uskali. Kentucky’s Moises Sierra hit a two-run homer to highlight the first inning. Felix Pie hit a solo homer in the second and Khris Davis added a three-run shot in the same inning as the Genomes built a 7-2 lead. Quincy Latimore added a solo homer in the second for the Rockers.
The Rockers got a run back in the third on a Ben Aklinski solo homer and cut the deficit to 7-4 in the fourth when Michael Martinez slapped an RBI double. Martinez added another RBI double in the sixth to pull the Rockers to within two at 7-5.
Kentucky extended its lead to 9-5 with a pair of runs off reliever Bryce Hensley in the seventh.
In the eighth, Zander Wiel became the first Rocker to reach the 30-homer mark when he homered with nobody aboard.
High Point rallied in the top of the ninth when Martinez singled, his fourth hit of the afternoon. Russell’s double scored Martinez to make it a 9-7 game. But Genome reliever Robbie Ross, Jr. was able to escape the inning and give Kentucky the win.
Martinez had four hits, two doubles and two RBI. Russell had a pair of hits, a double and a homer, and two RBI.
With six games remaining in the regular season, Wiel can expand his season record totals of 30 homers and 93 RBI.
Uskali (L, 4-5) took the loss, allowing seven runs and eight hits over five innings.
The Rockers will have an off-day on Monday and then return home for their final three-game regular season series of the year. The Rockers host Gastonia on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights at Truist Point. All game times are set for 6:35 p.m.