CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Charleston Dirty Birds managed their third walk-off win of the weekend over the High Point Rockers with a 12-11 victory in 10 innings at Appalachian Power Park on Sunday.
The Rockers are now 30-23 on the year and trail South Division-leading Gastonia by 6.5 games.
The game boiled down to a bases-loaded single by Scott Burcham that scored Connor Justus in the bottom of the 10th. But that’s just scratching the surface.
Tied at 9-9 going to the bottom of the ninth, High Point reliever Jonathon Crawford hit Tyler Blaum with a pitch to start the inning and then threw a wild pitch allowing Blaum to move to second. Another wild pitch moved Blaum to third with nobody out. After a walk to Burcham, Crawford hit Scott Kelly with a pitch to load the bases. The Rockers brought in outfielder Ben Aklinski as a fifth infielder. Crawford induced Corey Bird to pop out to Aklinski at second base then struck out Angel Garced. Crawford then threw a pitch to Heath that sailed to the backstop. High Point catcher Dakota Mulcay fielded the ball on the rebound off the backstop and fired to third to pickoff Blaum and send the game into extra innings.
With Jay Gonzalez starting the 10th inning on second, Mulcay sacrifice bunted him to third before Giovanny Alfonzo blasted his first home run of the year to stake the Rockers to an 11-9 lead.
Aklinski then was called to the mound to pitch the bottom of the tenth. With a runner on second, Aklinski walked Nick Heath to start the inning. Anfernee Seymour grounded a ball to Tyler Ladendorf at second who flipped to Alfonzo for the out at second but Seymour was ruled safe at first, bringing Rockers manager Jamie Keefe out of the dugout. With runners at first and third, Aklinski walked Justus to load the bases. Yovan Gonzalez hit a ground rule double to tie the game and Burcham then lined a single to right to give Charleston a 12-11 win.
Charleston built a 3-0 lead early, scoring twice in the first and adding a run in the second. High Point starter Kyle Mott issued a pair of walks and a hit batter to load the bases with no outs. Yovan Gonzalez forced in a run when he was walked and Burcham plated another run on a sac fly. In the second, Bird singled, moved to second on a ground out and scored on a Heath single.
High Point made it a 3-2 game in the third when Jerry Downs belted a two-run homer, scoring Michael Martinez in front of him after Martinez had doubled. The Rockers then tied the game in the fourth when Ladendorf singled and moved to third on a double by Quincy Latimore. Gonzalez brough home a run with a ground out before Alfonzo singled to score Latimore.
Charleston scored five times in the bottom of the fourth. Mott walked three to load the bases and Seymore brought home a run on a ground out. Justus then punched a two-run single and Blaum brought in another run with a groundout to take an 8-4 lead.
But the Rockers answered right back with five runs of their own in the top of the fifth. Singles by Martinez and Joe Johnson, sandwiched around a walk to Downs, loaded the bases for Latimore who hit a grand slam to tie the game at eight. Gonzalez then doubled and scored on an Alfonzo double as the Rockers went up 9-8.
The Dirty Birds tied the game in the bottom of the fifth on a Scott Kelly double and an RBI single from Heath.
High Point will head to Long Island and start a three-game series with the Ducks on Tuesday, June 21.