LANCASTER, Pa. – The High Point Rockers fell 8-6 to the Lancaster Barnstormers Tuesday night at Clipper Magazine Stadium.
The loss was High Point’s sixth straight to start the second half of the Atlantic League season. The Rockers are now 39-33 overall. The Rockers held leads of 2-0 and 4-2 but a three-run seventh inning put Lancaster ahead to stay.
Lead-off hitter Tyler Ladendorf opened the game by reaching first base on an error by Lancaster third baseman Trace Loehr. Barnstormer starter Erik Manoah, Jr. hit Ben Aklinski with a pitch to put two aboard and then committed a balk to put both runners in scoring position. Zander Wiel singled to left to give the Rockers a 2-0 lead.
Lancaster tied the game in the bottom of the first. High Point starter Ivan Pineyro yielded consecutive singles to Shawon Dunston, Jr. and Melvin Mercedes before Kelly Dugan delivered an RBI single. Andretty Cordero plated the tying run with a sacrifice fly.
In the third, Aklinski led off with a double followed by a walk to Logan Morrison. Wiel singled to load the bases and Aklinski scored from third when Jerry Downs was hit by a pitch. Michael Martinez grounded out to score Morrison and give High Point a 4-2 lead.
Lancaster added a run in the fourth on a solo homer by Jake Hoover to pull the Barnstormers to within a run at 4-3.
Pineyro went five innings and allowed six hits, three runs and walked four while striking out six.
Lancaster took the lead in the bottom of the seventh. With Chasen Bradford on in relief, Kelly Dugan reached on a catcher’s interference call on Dakota Mulcay, erasing a beautiful diving stop by Ladendorf on a ball hit up the middle. Cordero singled and Anderson Feliz laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners up a base. Trayvon Robinson then grounded a single up the middle that scored both Barnstormers and gave Lancaster a 5-4 lead. Junior Rincon replaced Bradford and after walking Hoover, pitching coach Frank Viola went to the mound. That led to an altercation with the home plate umpire and resulted in Viola’s ejection. Rincon then walked the next two hitters on four pitches each, forcing home a run and giving Lancaster a 6-4 advantage. Ryan Dull then retired Melvin Mercedes on a pop out to third to escape the inning.
Trayvon Robinson hit a two-run homer off Dull in the eighth to go ahead 8-4. The Rockers rallied in the top of the ninth against Lancaster closer West Tunnell. Aklinski drew a walk to leadoff the inning and Wiel then blasted his 18th homer of the year to pull the Rockers within 8-6. But Downs had a screaming line drive snagged at short by Hoover for the second out and Martinez grounded to first to end the game.
Wiel finished the game with three hits and four RBI while Aklinski scored three runs. The Rockes were outhit 11-6 and went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
High Point and Lancaster will play the middle game of the three-game series on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Clipper Magazine Stadium.