CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The High Point Rockers’ offense came alive on Thursday night in a 12-1 win over Charleston at Appalachian Power Park. The Rockers banged out 16 hits including a club-record eight doubles in winning their fifth straight game. A trio of High Point pitchers held the Dirty Birds to just three hits while striking out 14.
Michael Russell and Logan Morrison each had three hits including a pair of doubles while Giovanny Alfonzo added three hits and one double. Quincy Latimore blasted a three-run homer that set the club record for career RBI and tied the career mark with 42 home runs.
The win gives the Rockers a 56-49 overall record and a 17-22 mark in the second half. Losses on Thursday by Kentucky and Lancaster have moved the Rockers into a 1.5 game lead in the race for the Atlantic League Wild Card race. The Wild Card team would earn a berth in the playoffs if either Southern Maryland or Gastonia repeat as second half division champions.
High Point took a 1-0 lead in the first when Morrison doubled and Zander Wiel followed with an RBI double. The Rockers added three runs in the second inning when Jay Gonzalez reached on an error and Alfonzo drew a walk from Charleston starter Alec Kisena (L, 0-2). Russell then cleared the bases with a triple. Morrison then delivered an RBI single to plate Russell for a 4-0 lead.
In the top of the third, Wiel blasted his 26th home run of the season to put the Rockers up 5-0.
The Rockers scored six times in the fourth when they started the inning with a club record three consecutive doubles from Russell, Morrison and Jerry Downs. Russell was thrown out at the plate on Morrison’s double but Downs picked up the RBI when he drove home Morrison. Wiel then reached on a fielding error by Charleston center fielder Anfernee Seymour before Latimore hit his 15th homer of the season. It was also Latimore’s 42nd of his High Point career, tying Stephen Cardullo for the most career home runs as a Rocker. Latimore’s round-tripper was followed by a single from Roldani Baldwin, a double from Gonzalez, an RBI single from Alfonso and a run-scoring ground out by Mike Gulino. When the smoke cleared, the Rockers were up 11-0.
In the seventh, Gulino singled and then scored on a double by Russell.
The Dirty Birds notched their lone run on a Scott Burcham home run off Jannis in the eighth.
High Point starter Mitch Atkins drew his second start of the season after spending the first four months of the season rehabbing from an arm injury suffered last season. Atkins went four innings and allowed just one hit while walking two and striking out four. Knuckleballer Mickey Jannis (W, 1-1) came on in the fifth and struck out eight in his four innings of work. Joe Johnson worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning and struck out two.
High Point will open a three-game series at South Division-leading Gastonia on Friday night at 6:15 p.m. at Caromont Health Park.
NOTES: Wiel’s 26th home run leaves him one shy of the club season record of 27 set by Richie Shaffer in 2019… Wiel set the season record for RBI with 83, breaking Jerry Downs’ mark of 81 set last season… Quincy Latimore hit his 42nd home run as a Rocker to tie Stephen Cardullo for the club record for career homers… High Point set a record for doubles in an inning with four in the fourth and the three consecutive doubles that inning were also a record… Latimore and Downs are now tied for the most career RBI as a Rocker with 149 each… Stephen Cardullo held the previous mark of 146.