HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point Rockers limited the Kentucky Geomes to three hits on Sunday afternoon as High Point scored a 7-2 win in front of 1,996 fans at Truist Point. The win gives the Rockers a split in the four-game series with Kentucky.
High Point tallied three unearned runs in the first before Jerry Downs blasted a three-run homer in the second as the Rockers took a quick 6-0 lead.
“We learned a few things this weekend,” said Rockers manager Jamie Keefe. “We know we need to swing the bats better. We need to get into more hitter’s counts. But we know that we can pitch and we know that we can play defense and with those things, that will keep us in a lot of games. The bats will come around and we’ll be fine.”
The Rockers scored three runs in the bottom of the first, all unearned against Kentucky starter Aaron Blair. With one out, Michael Russell’s ground ball to third was fielded cleanly by Luke Becker but his throw to first sailed over Carson McCurdy’s head. A walk to Downs put runners on first and second before Blair struck out Quincy Latimore for the second out. Zander Wiel then lined a double off the wall in right-center, scoring Russell and Downs. Ben Aklinski followed with a sharp single to left to plate Wiel and give the Rockers a 3-0 lead.
High Point added another three runs in the second. After Blair hit Johnny Field and Mike Gulino with pitches, Downs cleared the bases with a three-run shot to right-center and stake the Rockers to a 6-0 lead.
Kentucky got on the board in the fourth when Riley Mahan walked and scored from first on a double by Felix Pie.
The Genomes tallied a run in the eighth when High Point reliever Adam Choplick walked three and hit a batter with Cleuluis Rondon getting an RBI after receiving a free pass.
High Point’s final run came in the ninth when Gulino singled to left, moved to second on a wild pitch by Kentucky reliever Andrew Keefer, moved to third on an infield groundout by Jay Gonzalez then scored on another Keefer wild pitch.
Downs finished the game with three RBI while Wiel had two hits as did Ben Aklinski and Gulino. Kentucky’s hits came off the bats of Pie, Chris Shaw and Becker.
Neil Uskali (1-0) earned the win with five innings of work in which he allowed two hits while walking two and fanning two. Four relievers limited the Genomes to one hit while striking out five. Blair took the loss for the Genomes, allowing four hits and six runs in two innings of work.
The Rockers will have Monday off before starting a three-game series with the Lancaster Barnstormers on Tuesday, April 26, at 6:35 p.m. at Truist Point.