High Point, NC- The Rockers split a Friday doubleheader at Gastonia, dropping the opening game 6-3 before rallying for a 3-2 win in the nightcap.
In game one, Gastonia took a 3-0 lead in the second inning when Jaylen Smith launched a mammoth three-run home run off Rockers starter Mickey Jannis. The Honey Hunters would then add a pair of runs in the third inning, one scoring on a Dakota Mulcay passed ball, and another on Emmanuel Tapia’s RBI groundout.
Down 5-0, the Rockers finally got on the board in the fourth. After retiring the first nine hitters in order, Gastonia starter John Anderson gave up a leadoff hit to Michael Russell, who would score on a wild pitch two batters later. Then, Jerry Downs launched a solo home run (his third consecutive game with a home run) to make it 5-2. Quincy Latimore would single immediately after, and Cesar Trejo would drive him in to pull High Point to within two.
The Honey Hunters would get a run back in the bottom of the fourth, when Darian Sandford hit a chopper to first base with a runner on third, and Jerry Downs’ only play was to retire Sandford, allowing Skole to score.
Facing closer Jesus Balaguer in the seventh, High Point loaded the bases, but Downs struck out to end the contest.
In the second game, Honey Hunters pitcher Onas Farfan and new Rocker Bryan Quillens traded zeroes until the bottom of the fourth inning. Quillens exited after allowing a walk and a single, and both inherited runners came around to score off Junior Rincon. Luis Castro drove in Joseph Rosa with a single, and Tapia would bring Luis Roman in to score for a 2-0 Gastonia lead.
The Rockers’ bats remained quiet until the sixth, when Michael Russell and Ben Aklinski led off the inning with a pair of doubles. Downs promptly singled into right field, bringing both runners home and tying the game.
In the top of the seventh, the Rockers got three singles from Jay Gonzalez, Mike Gulino, and Russell to load the bases with one out. Aklinski would hit a ground ball to shortstop, but Rosa bobbled the ball, taking away any chance at a double play. Rosa recovered to force out Russell at second, but Gonzalez came in to score the deciding run.
For the day, Downs drove in three runs and has extended his hitting streak to a team best this year with his 13th consecutive game with a base hit.
Game three of the weekend series is set for tomorrow night at CaroMont Health Park in Gastonia. First pitch is scheduled for 6:15 as the Rockers look to continue to hound the Wild Health Genomes for the Wild Card spot, now down 1.5 games.