FREDERICK, Md. – Shed Long, Jr. hit a grand slam to dead center field in the eighth inning to erase a 5-1 deficit and lead the High Point Rockers to a come-from-behind 6-5 win over the Spire City Ghost Hounds on Sunday afternoon at Nymeo Field.
Long, Jr.’s grand slam, on an 0-2 pitch, followed a walk to Brian Parreira, a single by Michael Martinez and a walk to D.J. Burt, all off Ghost Hounds reliever Donald Goodson (L, 0-2). The slam knotted the game at 5-5. Goodson then gave up a double to center by Ben Aklinski before Spire City manager Mark Minicozzi brought in Jeff Johnson from the bullpen. Johnson was greeted by Quincy Latimore who singled to center to bring Aklinski home with the go-ahead run.
Latimore has collected at least two RBI in each of the last three games, driving in nine runs over that span. He has eight hits in his last nine at-bats dating back to Thursday night, July 26.
Tying the game got High Point starter Mickey Jannis off the hook as he left after six innings, trailing 5-1. Jannis allowed nine hits and five runs while striking out eight and not yielding a walk. He did allow three home runs that accounted for all five of Spire City’s runs. Taylor Guerrieri (W, 2-1), pitched a scoreless seventh and was followed by Cam Bedrosian who struck out all three hitters he faced in the eighth. Ryan Dull worked around a base hit in the ninth to earn his league-leading 15th save of the season.
High Point took a 1-0 lead in the first when Latimore continued his hot streak, singling to left to bring home Aklinski who had singled and stolen second base.
Spire City tied the game in the third when Jannis surrendered a solo homer to Osvaldo Abreu. The Ghost Hounds added two more in the fourth on a single by Craig Dedelow which was followed by a homer from Steven Brault to put the ‘Hounds up 3-1. Another two-run homer in the fifth by Jimmy Paredes off Jannis gave Spire City a 5-1 advantage.
The Rockers managed at least one hit in each frame from the second through seventh innings but could not crack Spire City’s lead until putting together all the pieces in the eighth.
Latimore went four-for-five with two RBI. Aklinski was three-for-five with a pair of runs scored as he continues to lead the Atlantic League in runs scored.
The Rockers improve to 53-29 overall and 12-7 in the second half. The win will leave the Rockers in no worse than a tie for first in the Atlantic League’s South Division. Gastonia plays at Long Island later on Sunday and the Honey Hunters enter that contest 11-7 in the second half.
The final game of the three-game series is scheduled for Monday at 7:00 p.m. at Nymeo Field. The game will be streamed live on FLO Baseball and also available on the Mixlr app.
NOTES: Latimore returned to action on July 18 after missing the first 71 games of the year while recovering from knee surgery. After starting 5-for-24, he has gone eight-for-nine over the last three games… He has three home runs, nine RBI, four runs scored and a pair of walks over that span… Dull is now 15-for-15 in save opportunities… Bedrosian has thrown four consecutive three-up, three-down innings and struck out 10 of the 12 batters he has faced while not allowing a walk… Long, Jr.’s grand slam was the fifth of the season for the Rockers.