HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point Rockers closed out their season-opening 10-game homestand with their ninth win of the young season, sweeping Frederick with a 9-3 victory on Monday in front of an Education Day crowd of 2,327 at Truist Point.
First baseman John Nogowski, the Atlantic League’s RBI leader, added four more to his total including two home runs that also made him the ALPB’s home run leader. He now has driven in 18 runs and hit six home runs in the season’s first 10 games.
““It’s unreal (the way he’s playing),” said Rockers manager Jamie Keefe. “His body of work defensively speaks for itself. This guy is here for one reason and that is to put numbers up and get (signed by an MLB organization) and you can tell. We’re lucky he’s on our side. Great person, brings a lot to the clubhouse every single day. And he’s fun to watch out there, for sure.”
The Rockers never trailed in Monday’s matinee, taking a 2-0 lead in the first when Nogowski singled to right to score Michael Russell who had led off the frame with a double. Zander Wiel followed with a sacrifice fly to score D.J. Burt who had walked. High Point extended its lead in the fourth when Ryan Grotjohn singled and scored on a sac fly by leftfielder John Daly.
High Point starter Brandon Leibrandt allowed a leadoff double in the fourth and a sac fly as Frederick cut the Rockers’ lead to 3-1. High Point extended its lead to 5-1 in the fifth when Burt was safe on an infield error ahead of Nogowski’s first homer of the game.
Frederick pulled back to within a pair of runs in the sixth when Leobaldo Cabrera hit a two-run homer off reliever Jeremy Rhoades to make it a 5-3 game.
The Rockers responded in the seventh with a four-run outburst. Nogowski hit a solo homer and Grotjohn added a two-run blast, his second homer in as many days as the Rockers put the finishing touches on a 9-3 win.
Lefty Gabriel Castellanos (W, 1-0) was credited with the win after Leibrandt was removed after 4.1 innings of work. Dustin Beggs (L, 0-2) took the loss, allowing five hits and five runs over six innings while walking two and striking out four.
The Rockers finish their opening homestand with a 9-1 record and will look to continue the best start in club history when they hit the road on Tuesday. While High Point leads the Atlantic League’s South Division at 9-1, they will face their two toughest division foes, playing three games at 7-2 Lexington mid-week before returning home to host 6-3 Gastonia on the weekend.