HIGH POINT, N.C. – A ninth inning rally fell just short as Gastonia escaped Truist Point with a 7-6 win over the High Point Rockers on Wednesday night.
Trailing 7-4 in the ninth, the Rockers surged behind a leadoff infield single from Quincy Latimore and when Michael Martinez was hit by a pitch from Gastonia’s ace reliver Jesus Balaguer, the Rockers had the tying run at the plate. Adam Taylor lined a single to right to score Latimore and make it a 7-5 game. Logan Morrison then pinch-hit and lined a 3-2 pitch to right to plate Martinez and cut the margin to 7-6.
But the rally fizzled as Giovanny Alfonzo’s sacrifice bunt attempt was fielded by first baseman Emmanuel Tapia who threw out Taylor at third. Balaguer then struck out Jay Gonzalez and Tyler Ladendorf to earn his 14th save of the year.
The Rockers had started strong, scoring twice in the first inning on a Zander Wiel double and a homer from Jerry Downs, his 10th of the year. Gastonia’s Jake Skole tripled to lead off the second and scored on a groundout to cut the Rockers’ lead to 2-1. Herlis Rodriguez’s solo homer leading off the third off High Point starter Ivan Pineyro tied the game at 2-2.
High Point regained the lead in the bottom of the third on a walk to Alfonzo and a two-run homer from Ladendorf to take a 4-2 lead.
Gastonia tallied a run in the third when Pineyro walked the bases loaded and allowed a run on a wild pitch. The Honey Hunters then scored three times in the fifth, knocking four consecutive doubles off Pineyro to go ahead 6-4. Gastonia extended its lead to 7-4 in the seventh on two more doubles by Luis Roman and Luis Castro.
Pineyro (L, 2-1) went five innings and allowed eight hits and six runs while walking three and striking out five. Gastonia’s Zack Godley (W, 2-0) pitched six innings and yielded five hits and four runs with two walks and six strikeouts.
High Point is now 0-2 to start the second half of the Atlantic League season while Gastonia improves to 2-0.
The Rockers and Honey Hunters continue the series Thursday night at Truist Point with a 6:35 p.m. first pitch.