FREDERICK, Md. – The High Point Rockers took game two of their three-game series at Spire City by a 7-6 final score at Nymeo Field.
With the game tied at 6-6, High Point’s Daikan Yoh hit a nubber back to the Spire City pitcher with the bases loaded in the ninth as D.J. Burt came across to score the go-ahead run to put the Rockers in the lead for good.
The ninth inning run made a winner of Rockers reliever Cam Bedrosian (W, 3-1) who pitched the eighth inning. Spire City’s Dovydas Neverauskas took the loss in the back-and-forth contest.
The win gives High Point the best full-season record in the Atlantic League at 68-35 and its 27-13 second half mark gives the Rockers a 1.5 game lead over Gastonia at 26-15.
High Point took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when Burt walked and moved to second when Ben Aklinski was hit by a pitch from Ghost Hounds starter Zac Rosscup. Zander Wiel then singled to chase home Burt for the first run of the game.
Spire City forged a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third. After High Point starter Craig Stem retired the first two batters, Jose Marmolejos singled and Raudy Read coaxed a walk from Stem. Jimmy Paredes signed off the glove of Shed Long, Jr. to load the bases. A wild pitch allowed Marmolejos to score and tie the game before Steven Brault reached on a throwing error by Rocker shortstop Ryan Grotjohn as Read scored on the play to give Spire City the lead.
High Point regained the lead in the fourth when it scored three times as Brian Parreira singled and Emmanuel Tapia drew a walk. Michael Martinez singled to center to bring home Parreira before Long, Jr. sent a single to center that plated Tapia and Martinez as High Point took a 4-2 lead.
The Rockers’ lead grew to 6-2 in the fifth when Rosscup walked Yoh with two outs, allowing Parreira to blast a two-run homer, his 10th of the year.
In the bottom of the fifth, Stem allowed a double to Read and a two-run homer to Paredes as the ‘Hounds pulled to within two at 6-4.
Stem left after five innings, holding a 6-4 lead. He allowed seven hits and four runs while striking out five and walking two. Taylor Guerrieri put the Ghost Hounds down in order in the sixth but Sam Selman allowed a solo homer to Jose Marmolejos in the seventh as High Point’s lead dwindled to 6-5.
In the eighth, Bedrosian walked Luke Becker who moved to second on an infield groundout. A wild pitch moved Becker to third and he scored on Leobaldo Cabrera’s single to knot the game at 6-6.
The Rockers went ahead 7-6 in the top of the ninth when Neverauskas allowed a lead-off single to Burt and a single by Aklinski to put runners on the corners. Aklinski stole second and after Wiel struck out, the Ghost Hounds walked Ryan Grotjohn intentionally to load the bases. Yoh hit a swinging bunt back to Neverauskas whose only play was at first as Burt scored the go-ahead run.
Ryan Dull tossed a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth to secure his league-leading 17th save of the season.
Game three of the series is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday. The game will be streamed live on FLO Baseball and also available on the Mixlr app.
NOTES: D.J. Burt reached base three times on a pair of hits and a walk to extend his streak of consecutive games on-base to 58. He singled in his first at-bat to secure the streak continued… at 68-35, the Rockers are now 33 games over .500 on the season, a mark they have never before achieved.