HIGH POINT, N.C. – Ben Aklinski hit a three-run double in the ninth inning to tie the game and Emmanuel Tapia singled home Zander Wiel in the 10th as the High Point Rockers defeated the York Revolution 8-7 in 10 innings Saturday night with a crowd of 2,424 watching at Truist Point.
The Rockers overcame deficits of 6-1 after five innings and 7-4 after seven to earn their fifth straight win.
Trailing 7-4 in the bottom of the ninth and right Emilker Guzman on the mound for the Revolution, Tapia started the frame with a walk. Shed Long, Jr. singled and D.J. Burt drew a walk to load the bases. Aklinski then lined a double into right-center to score all three runners and tie the game at 7-7.
Starting the top of the 10th with Troy Stokes, Jr. at second, Jacob Rhinesmith hit a line drive single to center which Burt fielded on one hop and tossed a strike to catcher Brian Parreira to nail Stokes, Jr. at home. Rocker reliever Cam Bedrosian (W, 2-1) then fanned the next two hitters to get to the bottom of the 10th.
High Point started the extra frame with Wiel at second. Parreira popped out to short and York intentionally walked Daikan Yoh to put runners on first and second. With the lefthanded Zach Neff on the mound, the lefthanded hitting Tapia sent an 0-2 pitch right back up the middle to score Wiel with the winning run.
“That’s just who we are,” said Rockers manager Jamie Keefe after the dramatic come-from-behind win. “All we preach is ‘get the tying run to the plate.’ And these guys just don’t give in. Everybody had a hand in this one, from one through 26 on the roster and one through nine in the bullpen. When Benny lined that double in the ninth and everybody was up on the rail. This team is special.”
While Aklinski and Tapia provided the game-winning moments, the night belonged to Burt. He was three-for three at the plate, drew a pair of walks and scored two runs while adding a pair of stolen bases. His first inning infield single extended his streak of consecutive games on base to 53, which is believed to be an Atlantic League record. Defensively, Burt made a diving catch in center field to rob Rhinesmith of extra bases. And in the top of the 10th, his throw to the plate to cut down Stokes, Jr. was another showcase play.
“Some of the things he does, you just can’t teach,” said Keefe of Burt. “He is special.”
The late fireworks overcame a shaky start for High Point’s Mickey Jannis. He allowed nine hits and six runs over his five innings and left the game trailing 6-1.
“Mick had a tough one today,” said Keefe. “I think (pitching coach) Frank (Viola) and I will take (responsibility) for that. He threw 118 pitches the other day and that’s the most he’s thrown in a few years. But at the end of the day, he got us through five innings and we got to keep the DH and he gave our guys an opportunity and they took advantage of it.”
Austin Ross went two innings and allowed one run and one hit but the Revs would not score again. Kyle Halbohn shutdown York in the eighth as did Sam Selman in the ninth before Bedrosian came on to pitch the 10th and pick up the win.
Down 4-0 in the fourth, the Rockers got on the board when Wiel blasted his 24th homer of the year to left field to make it a 4-1 game.
Drew Mendoza hit his second homer of the game, a two-run shot in the fifth, to put the Revs up 6-1. On the night, Mendoza was four-for-four and drove in six runs with a two-run single in the first, a solo homer in the third, a two-run homer in the fifth and another RBI single in the seventh.
With the win, the Rockers are now 23-12 in the Atlantic League’s South Division and 30 games over .500 at 64-34. Gastonia dropped a 5-1 decision at home to Lexington on Saturday night to fall two games behind the Rockers.
Game three of the series will take place at 4:05 p.m. Sunday at Truist Point. The game will be streamed live on FLO Baseball and also available on the Mixlr app. The first 1,000 fans in the gates at Truist Point will receive a free 2023 Rockers team photo.