CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. – The Long Island Ducks scored in each of the first five innings on Tuesday night in dropping the High Point Rockers 9-7 at Fairfield Properties Ballpark. But the Rockers didn’t go down without a fight, scoring four times in the top of the ninth and putting the tying run in the on-deck circle.
The loss leaves the Rockers at 30-24 on the season and 7.5 games behind South Division-leading Gastonia (37-16).
The Rockers were trailing 9-3 heading into the ninth when Johnny Field led off with a pinch-single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Mike Gulino drew a walk and Logan Morrison singled to left to score Field to bring the Rockers to within five at 9-4. Zander Wiel then stroked a massive blast to left field for his second homer of the night and 13th of the year to pull the Rockers to within two runs at 9-7. But Long Island reliever Cody Beckman struck out Quincy Latimore to end the threat.
The Ducks scored single runs in each of the first two innings off High Point starter Jonah Scolaro (L, 1-1) before touching the rookie lefthander for a pair of runs in the third.
Wiel blasted a solo homer leading off the fourth inning to make it a 4-1 game.
Scolaro started the fourth inning but left the game with the bases loaded and nobody out. John Hayes replaced Scolaro and all three inherited runners scored to give the Ducks a 7-1 lead.
The Rockers cut the deficit to 7-3 in the fifth on RBI singles by Morrison and Ben Aklinski.
Long Island tacked on two more runs in the fifth when the first two hitters reached on infield errors. L.J. Mazzilli then delivered an RBI single and a passed ball allowed the second run to score.
Joe Iorio (W, 6-1) earned the win for Long Island with five innings of work, allowing five hits and three runs.
High Point and Long Island will meet in game two of the three-game series at 6:35 p.m. on Wednesday at Fairfield Properties Ballpark.