HIGH POINT, N.C. – High Point starting pitcher Brandon Leibrandt made his best start of the season, going five innings and limiting Long Island to just three hits as the Rockers took game two of the series by a 6-1 final score in front of a crowd of 2,045 at Truist Point on Saturday night.
Leibrandt (W, 1-2) went five innings and yielded just three hits while walking one and striking out three. Neil Ramirez came on in the sixth and allowed a single run in the eighth before Cam Bedrosian and Austin Ross recorded the last four outs of the game.
Zander Wiel put the Rockers on the scoreboard when he led off the bottom of the second with a double to left-center and scored on a single by Michael Martinez to give the Rockers a 1-0 lead.
The Rockers put up four runs in the fourth to increase their lead to 5-0. Franklin Van Gurp replaced Ducks’ starter Justin Courtney (L, 0-2) to start the inning and hit Beau Taylor in the foot with a pitch then walked Daikan Yoh. A single by Brian Parreira put the Rockers up 2-0. Michael Martinez then grounded back to Van Gurp whose throw to second to try and start a double play sailed into center field, allowing Yoh to score. D.J. Burt followed with a single that brought home both Parreira and Martinez for a 5-0 lead.
Long Island plated its lone run in the eighth inning when Brian Goodwin slapped a one-out double and scored on a single by Brantley Bell. Ben Aklinski saved another run with a diving catch of a sinking line drive in right to rob Alejandro De Aza of a base hit that would have scored another run. After Ramirez hit Sam Travis with a pitch, Bedrosian was summoned from the bullpen and he struck out pinch-hitter Boog Powell to end the inning.
High Point added an insurance run in the eighth when Taylor singled and pinch-runner John Daly stole second. Yoh then singled up the middle as Daly raced home to give the Rockers a 6-1 lead.
Courtney (L, 0-2) went three innings and allowed four hits and one run with no walks and two strikeouts.
Taylor was the only Rocker with two hits in the nine-hit attack. Burt’s two RBI were also a team-best.
The Rockers improved to 56-31 overall and 15-9 in the second half while Long Island, the North Division first half champion, fell to 11-13 and 48-39.
With Gastonia’s win over Lexington on Saturday night, the Honey Hunters are now 13-10 in the second half, 1.5 games behind High Point.
The third and final game of the series between the Rockers and Ducks is slated for a 4:05 p.m. start on Sunday at Truist Point. The game will be streamed live on FLO Baseball and also available on the Mixlr app.