WALDORF, Md. – Southern Maryland leftfielder Jimmy Kerrigan hit a pair of homers and drove in six runs as the Blue Crabs handed the High Point Rockers a 7-4 defeat on Thursday night at Regency Furniture Stadium.
With Gastonia sweeping a doubleheader from visiting Spire City, the Rockers find themselves in second place in the Atlantic League’s South Division. The Rockers, 28-16, trail the Honey Hunters, 30-15, by 1.5 games.
Shed Long, Jr. led off the game with a stand-up triple and gave the Rockers a 1-0 lead when Ben Aklinski singled him home.
The Blue Crabs tied the game in the second when High Point starter Mickey Jannis (L, 11-5) walked Khalil Lee who then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Alex Crosby grounded to Michael Martinez at short and Martinez opted to toss Lee out at third. However, the throw hit Lee and caromed into the So. Maryland dugout, allowing Lee to score. The Blue Crabs went up 2-1 in the fourth when Braxton Lee walked, moved to second on an infield ground out and scored on a single by Jimmy Kerrigan.
The Rockers tied the game at 2-2 in the sixth when Quincy Latimore drew a walk and was replaced at first base by designated pinch-runner Joe Johnson. A wild pitch from Blue Crab starter Daryl Thompson (W, 5-2) sent Johnson to second. He scored when Daikan Yoh bounced a ball back up the middle and into center field.
So. Maryland reclaimed the lead at 5-2 in the bottom of the sixth when Braxton Lee and Khalil Lee each singled and then scored on a three-run homer to left by Kerrigan. Jannis then allowed a single to K.C. Hobson and a walk to Isaias Quiroz before Jeremy Rhoades was summoned from the bullpen. Michael Baca singled to left but the inning ended when Wiel threw out Hobson at the plate.
With one out in the seventh, Long, Jr. hit a ground rule double to left-center and moved to third when Ryan Grotjohn flew out to left. Aklinski drove home Long, Jr. with a double that chased Thompson from the game in favor of Andre Scrubb. Wiel greeted Scrubb with a double that plated Aklinski and cut the Rockers’ deficit to a single run at 5-4.
In the bottom of the eighth, with Sam Selman on the mound for the Rockers, Crosby opened the inning with a single and then Kerrigan hit his second homer of the game to put the Blue Crabs back in front 7-4.
Aklinski drove in two runs for the Rockers with his two hits. Kerrigan finished three-for-four with two homers and six RBI. The win for Thompson was the 96th of his Atlantic League career. He is the all-time win leader in the league.
The Rockers will open their final regular season homestand of the season on Friday, Sept. 1 as the Rockers host the York Revolution. Friday’s first pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m. The game will be streamed live on FLO Baseball and also available on the Mixlr app.
NOTES: Centerfielder D.J. Burt was given the night off so shortstop Ryan Grotjohn made his first start of the year in center… Michael Martinez was at short… Aklinski is the league’s second-hafl RBI leader with 61.