GASTONIA, N.C. – The High Point Rockers fell behind Gastonia and could not catch up Thursday night, dropping a 7-4 decision at CaroMont Health Park. The Rockers are now 22-9 on the season and hold a half-game lead in the South Division of the Atlantic League over the Honey Hunters who improved to 21-9.
Gastonia took a 1-0 lead in the first when J.C. Escarra reached on an error and scored on a single by Carlos Franco. The Honey Hunters extended the lead by scoring four runs in the third. A double by Cole Freeman led to an RBI single by Jack Reinheimer. A double by Zach Jarrett plated Reinheimer before Curtis Terry blasted his fourth homer of the year, a two-run shot that put Gastonia up 5-0.
The Rockers began to claw back, scoring three runs in the top of the fourth. John Nogowski drew a leadoff walk and scored on Zander Wiel’s homer, his seventh on the season. Ben Aklinski and Beau Taylor followed the blast with singles of their own and each moved up on a ground out by Ryan Grotjohn. John Daly then delivered a sacrifice fly to center to score Aklinski to cut the margin to 5-3.
Each team scored a run in the fifth as Nogowski homered for High Point and Terry doubled for Gastonia to drive home J.C. Escarra leaving the Honey Hunters with a 6-4 lead after five. Gastonia would add a final run in the sixth when Freeman homered to left, his third of the year.
Gastonia’s Gunnar Kines (W, 3-0) went five innings and scattered six hits while striking out six. Three relievers including Ryan Williamson, David Richardson and Tyler Thomas (S, 1) held the Rockers without a hit over the final four innings while fanning seven. High Point starter Sam Burton (L, 1-1) allowed six hits and five runs over his four innings with two strikeouts.
Wiel and Taylor each finished the night with a pair of hits while Gastonia was led by Freeman’s three safeties.
The Rockers will return home on Friday to start a six-game homestand beginning with the Charleston Dirty Birds. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m. at Truist Point and it will be First Responders Night. The game will be streamed live on FloSports and MixLR will carry the Rockers’ audio broadcast of the game.