HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point Rockers tied a franchise record by scoring 18 runs during an 18-7 win over the Lexington Legends on Sunday afternoon at Truist Point.
The Rockers scored their 18 runs on 18 hits including three doubles and three home runs. Ben Aklinski went 4-for-6 with two runs scored, a home run and a game-high four RBI. Zander Wiel had a pair of doubles and two RBI while Jay Gonzalez and Mike Gulino each had three hits and three runs scored.
The win moves the Rockers to 34-25 on the season, 6.5 games behind Gastonia which is 40-18. The Honey Hunters have a magic number of one to clinch at least a share of the first half South pennant.
Jonah Scolaro (W, 2-1) started for the Rockers and gave up a run in the first before gaining a pair of strikeouts to escape the inning. Aklinksi tied the game in the bottom of the first with a solo homer.
Lexington took a 3-1 lead in the third but the Rockers opened things up with a five-run fourth inning. Aklinski had a two-run single but a Lexington fielding error led to a pair of unearned High Point runs.
“Jonah battled out there today but he got those strikeouts when he really needed them,” said Rockers manager Jamie Keefe. “We’re swinging the bats better than we have in a long time. This was a great series for us. We needed three good games.”
Scolaro went five innings and allowed four hits and three runs while striking out four. Nathan Bates came on in the sixth and allowed five hits and three runs in two-thirds of an inning as Lexington closed the margin to 6-5 before lefty Bryce Hensley relieved and used just one pitch to escape the jam. He then pitched a shutout inning in the seventh and Adam Choplick did the same in the eighth. Centerfielder Johnny Field gave up a run on a hit and three walks in the ninth.
The Rockers cracked the game open with an eight-run outburst in the bottom of the sixth. Downs and Wiel each had an RBI double while Tyler Ladendorf and Giovanny Alfonzo each hit three-run homers in the frame.
Aklinski credited the Rockers sweep of the Legends to being at home.
“(The) West Virginia (series) took a lot out of us,” said Aklinski. “Then we had a long travel day up to Long Island. Winning the first game of this series gut us excited.”
The Rockers will enjoy an off-day on Monday before starting a 13-day stretch of playing every day. High Point will travel to Chareston for a three-game series starting Tuesday and will be back at Truist Point on Friday for a holiday weekend series with Southern Maryland.