HIGH POINT, N.C. – The York Revolution scored three times in the seventh inning and made those three runs stand up in a 3-2 win over the High Point Rockers on Friday night at Truist Point in front of a crowd of 2,155.
The loss drops the Rockers back to two full games behind Gastonia in the Atlantic League’s South Division race. Gastonia tripped Southern Maryland 15-0 on Friday night to improve to 39-17 while the Rockers now stand at 37-19 with seven games remaining in the first half.
The Rockers let an opportunity slip away in the first when Shed Long, Jr. drew a lead-off walk and Michael Russell doubled to left field. York starter Pedro Vazquez retired Zander Wiel on a foul pop out, struck out Beau Taylor and retired Ryan Grotjohn on a fly ball to left.
“We had opportunities early but we didn’t come through. The first inning killed us,” said Rockers manager Jamie Keefe. “When you’ve got runners in scoring position with your (big hitters) coming up, you’ve got to deliver.”
The Rockers got on the scoreboard in the second when Ben Aklinski was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Aklinski stole second and then, with two outs, scored on a single by Shed Long, Jr.
High Point starter Justin Nicolino went six innings and didn’t allow a run while yielding just three hits and two walks while striking out four.
“Nico threw the ball fantastic,” said Keefe of Nicolino. “That’s as good as he’s looked.”
Cam Bedrosian came on in the seventh and was greeted by consecutive singles from DH Nellie Rodriguez and Richard Urena. Alejandro Rivero sacrificed the runners to second and third, setting the table for a two-run single from catcher Ryan January. Shortstop Trent Giambrone then hit an RBI double to give the Revolution a 3-1 lead.
High Point was able to get one run back in the seventh inning to make it a 3-2 game when Michael Martinez hit a lead-off double, moved to third on an infield out by Long, Jr. and scored on a grounder to second by Michael Russell.
The Rockers tried to rally in the ninth when Emmanuel Tapia opened the inning with a walk and was replaced by designated pinch runner John Daly, arguably the fastest player on the club. But Martinez’s sac bunt attempt was popped up and caught by catcher Ryan January. Long, Jr. then scorched a ball on the ground that was ticketed for a base hit to right field but the ball hit Daly in the leg, resulting in the second out of the inning. Long, Jr. moved into scoring position by stealing second but York’s Andrew Gross fanned Russell to end the game.
Game two of the four-game series is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Saturday at Truist Point. The first 800 fans through the gate will receive a complimentary Rockers Trucker hat. The game will be streamed live on FLO baseball and will also be available on the Mixlr app.