HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point Rockers had the tying run on second base in the ninth inning but dropped a 3-2 decision to Southern Maryland Friday night at Truist Point in front of 2,327 fans.
The Rockers were trailing 3-1 in the ninth when Quincy Latimore and Michael Russell opened the inning with consecutive singles. Jay Gonzalez moved the runners to second and third with an infield out. Pinch-hitter Jerry Downs delivered a sacrifice fly to left to score Latimore and make it a 3-2 game. Giovanny Alfonzo battled the Atlantic League leader in saves, Mat Latos (S, 20), before grounding out to end the game.
Both starting pitchers delivered solid performances. High Point’s Craig Stem (L, 2-3) went six innings and allowed three runs, all unearned, while walking three and striking out two. Southern Maryland starter Daryl Thompson (W, 9-2) is the Atlantic League’s all-time leader in wins and tonight’s victory was the 85th of his career.
Southern Maryland took a 3-0 lead on three unearned runs. In the second inning, David Harris’ ground ball to third was mishandled by Michael Russell for an error. Singles by Alex Crosby and Joe DeLuca moved Harris to third and he scored on a sac fly by Ryan Haug.
In the fifth, Harris led off the inning by reaching via error and Crosby and Zach Collier followed with singles. DeLuca hit a sac fly to score Harris and then Haug grounded out to plate Crosby.
The Rockers got on the board in seventh when Zander Wiel singled with one and Latimore moved him to second with a base hit. Gonzalez singled to left to score Wiel and the Rockers had cut the deficit to 3-1.
Wiel, Latimore and Russell all finished with a pair of hits for the Rockers. Relievers Chasen Bradford (seventh inning), Bryce Hensley (eighth) and Ryan Dull (ninth) each held the Blue Crabs scoreless.
High Point is now 0-9 in the second half and 39-36 on the season. Southern Maryland, the ALPB North Division first half champion, improved to 54-22 and 6-4 in the second half.
The middle game of the three-game series between High Point and Southern Maryland is set for 6:35 p.m. Saturday at Truist Point. The first 1,000 fans at Saturday’s game will receive a free baseball courtesy of B&H Heating and Air Conditioning.