WALDORF, Md. – The High Point Rockers and Southern Maryland Blue Crabs split a doubleheader Thursday afternoon at Regency Furniture Stadium with Southern Maryland winning the first game 2-0 and the Rockers taking the nightcap 5-4.
With the split, the Rockers improve to 12-21 in the second half and 51-48 on the season.
In the first game, starting pitchers Ivan Pineyro (L, 4-3) of High Point and Mitch Lambson (W, 6-7) of Southern Maryland both came out firing. Pineyro did not allow a hit until SMD’s Alex Crosby reached on a Texas Leaguer to left in the fifth. But a Rockers double play eliminated the threat. High Point’s Ben Aklinski doubled in the first but the Rockers did not get another hit until Quincy Latimore doubled in the fifth.
Southern Maryland scored both of its runs in the bottom of the sixth. Ryan Haug was hit by a pitch from Pineyro and Michael Baca singled to center to put runners on the corners. Jack Sundberg singled home one run and Ian Yetsko’s ground out scored Baca for a 2-0 Blue Crab lead.
Lambson put the Rockers down in order in the seventh to preserve the Southern Maryland win.
In game two, the Rockers took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Tyler Ladendorf singled, moved to second on an infield grounder by Jay Gonzalez and scored on a single by Mike Gulino.
But the Blue Crabs scored four times in the second to taka a 4-1 lead. High Point starter Mitch Atkins, making his first start of the season and his first since Sept. 9, 2021, allowed a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases to start the inning. Jack Sundberg doubled home two runs, Michael Wielansky grounded out allowing a third run to score before Braxton Lee singled home the fourth and final run of the inning.
The Rockers pulled within a run after scoring twice in the fourth to make it a 4-3 game. Logan Morrison led off the inning with a single and Ladendorf followed with a double. Jay Gonzalez then produced a swinging bunt that was fielded by Southern Maryland pitcher Eddie Butler, allowing Morrison to score. Gulino’s sacrifice fly brought home Ladendorf.
Aklinski tied the game in the fifth when he doubled to bring home Michael Russell who had led off the inning with a single. High Point took a 5-4 lead in the sixth when Ladendorf doubled off reliever Dalton Geekie (L, 1-3), moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Gonzalez and scored on Gulino’s sacrifice fly.
Tyler Higgins (W, 2-0) came on in relief and earned the last out of the fifth and set the Blue Crabs down in order in the sixth to earn the win.
Ryan Dull set the Blue Crabs down in order in the seventh to earn his 10th save of the year.
Atkins went 1.2 innings in his season debut and allowed five hits and four runs while walking three.
The Rockers will return home to begin a three-game home series with South Division-leading Gastonia on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. at Truist Point with a fireworks show following the game.