WALDORF, Md. – High Point Rockers catcher Brian Parreira blasted a three-run homer in the seventh inning to erase a 2-0 deficit as the Rockers went on to defeat Southern Maryland 6-4 Sunday afternoon at Regency Furniture Stadium. The win, coupled with a Gastonia loss, moved the Rockers back into a tie for first place in the Atlantic League’s South Division.
Both the Rockers and Honey Hunters stand at 36-16 on the year after Gastonia dropped a 7-2 decision at Staten Island on Sunday. The two teams will meet in a critical three-game series at Gastonia’s CaroMont Health Park Tuesday through Thursday this week.
On Sunday, So. Maryland sent veteran righty Daryl Thompson to the mound. The Atlantic League’s all-time leader in wins and strikeouts, Thompson is the three-time reigning league Pitcher of the Year. Thompson shut out the Rockers for the first six innings, allowing just three hits while his Blue Crabs built a slow and steady 2-0 lead off Rockers starter Mickey Jannis.
Scoreless until the bottom of the third, So. Maryland’s Jack Sundberg slugged a two-run double to right and Philip Caulfield tripled to center on a ball that Ben Aklinski dove for but could not come up with as the Blue Crabs went up 1-0.
In the fifth, the Blue Crabs took a 2-0 lead when, with runners at first and third, Caulfield grounded back to Jannis who whirled and threw to shortstop Ryan Grotjohn for the out at second but Caulfield beat the return throw to first, allowing Michael Baca to score.
The Rockers scored three times in the seventh as the frame started with a single to left by Beau Taylor. After Daikan Yoh lined out, Michael Martinez singled to right to put runners at first and second, Following a Ben Aklinski strike out, Blue Crab manager Stan Cliburn brought in Jacques Pucheu (L, 0-2) to relieve Thompson. Parreira greeted Pucheu with an opposite field three-run homer to left to give High Point its first lead of the day at 3-2.
The Rockers added three more runs in the eighth when Beau Taylor drove in a pair of runs with a double and then scored on a Martinez groundout, leaving High Point with a 6-2 lead.
The Rockers again received outstanding pitching out of the bullpen. Cam Bedrosian (W, 1-0) took over for Jannis with two on and one out in the bottom of the sixth. He struck out Ian Yetsko and Michael Baca to get the Rockers out of the jam. Lefty Sam Selman struck out the side in order in the seventh. Jameson McGrane allowed a one-out solo homer to Khalil Lee in the eighth as the Blue Crabs pulled to within three at 6-3. Ryan Dull earned the save, his league-leading 10th of the year, in closing out the game. He allowed a solo homer to Ian Yetsko that accounted for the 6-4 final.
Taylor led the Rockers offensively with three hits, two doubles and a pair of RBI. Parreira had two hits with a single to match his three-run homer.
The Rockers will have Monday off and then start a three-game series at Gastonia. First pitch on Tuesday from CaroMont Health Park is slated for 6:35 p.m.
NOTES: Prior to the game, the Rockers released RHP Liam O’Sullivan and placed OF D.J. Burt and RHP Taylor Guerrieri on the Injured List. High Point also signed C Robbie Kellerman who was with the club earlier in the the week… High Point now has an 8-4 series lead over So. Maryland including a 5-1 mark on the road… High Point is 3-3 on the year vs. Gastonia, going 2-1 at home and 1-2 at Gastonia.