HIGH POINT ROCKERS 10, Kentucky Wild Health Genomes 5 Game Recap Thursday, April 21, 2022
HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point Rockers spoiled the debut of the Kentucky Wild Health Genomes, overcoming a 5-0 deficit in the sixth inning and rolling to a 10-5 win on Thursday night in front of an Opening Night crowd of 2,591 at Truist Point.
The Rockers closed the game in remarkable fashion as four Rocker pitchers struck out the final 10 Genome hitters of the game. High Point pitchers mapped the code, striking out a total of 16 Genomes on the night while walking just two.
“To score six runs with two outs (in the sixth inning) was pretty good,” said Rockers manager Jamie Keefe. When asked if he had ever seen a team end a game by striking out 10 straight opponents, he replied “Never. The back end of the bullpen threw the ball really well. If they keep that up, there are some teams that will have some long nights.”
Austin Glorius earned the win, facing just one batter, Carson McCurdy, and striking him out to end the sixth. That whiff started the Rockers’ K train and was the first of 10 straight strikeouts. Lefty Bryce Hensley fanned all three hitters he faced in the seventh, lefty Adam Choplick did the same in the eighth and closer Jonathon Crawford recorded three more consecutive strikeouts in the ninth to finish the game.
The Genomes got on the board first when catcher Chase Vallot sent a Justin Nicolino offering over the left field fence with Cleuluis Rondon aboard for a 2-0 lead.
Kentucky starter Dustin Beggs quieted the Rockers bats through five, allowing just two hits while striking out six and not allowing a walk. Nicolino was nearly as good, allowing just three hits through 4.2 innings while walking one and striking out six. But Nicolino made two bad pitches: the home run to Vallot and a one out triple in the fifth to Demetrius Moorer who would score on a Riley Mahan single to increase Kentucky’s lead to 3-0. The Genomes extended the lead with two more runs in the top of the sixth, using a sacrifice fly from Luke Becker and an RBI double from Vallot to go up 5-0.
The Rockers blew up for six ruins in the bottom of the sixth, all with two outs, while stringing together three hits and capitalized on a pair of errors on Becker, the Genomes third baseman. With one out, Logan Morrison and Jerry Downs drew consecutive walks off reliever Robby Scott. A Tyler Ladendorf single loaded the bases before Scott fanned Quincy Latimore for the second out of the inning. High Point’s Mike Gulino greeted Genomes reliever Jack Weinberger with a slow chopper to third that Becker fielded cleanly but threw wide of first, allowing Morrison and Downs to score and Gulino to move to third. Weinberger then hit Ben Aklinski with a pitch to put runners on the corners. Johnny Field slapped a ground ball to Becker who again threw the ball in the dirt, allowing Gulino and Aklinski to score and give the Rockers their first lead of the night at 6-5.
High Point added four more runs in the seventh. Ladendorf laced a one-out single and Latimore followed with a run-scoring double. Gulino then blooped a single to center to plate Latimore before Aklinski drilled a two-run homer to right to lift the Rockers to a 10-5 advantage.
On the night, the Rockers were led by Gulino with three hits while Zander Wiel had a pair of RBI and Aklinski finished with two hits and two RBI. The bottom third of High Point’s order, Wiel, Gulino and Aklinski, went six-for-11 and drove in five runs.
The Rockers continue on their 13-game season-opening homestand as they host Kentucky again on Friday at 6:35 p.m. at Truist Point. Fans will be entertained with a postgame fireworks show.