HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point Rockers overcame an early 2-0 deficit and scored seven unanswered runs as they opened a three-game series with Charleston with a 7-2 win at Truist Point on Tuesday night.
The Rockers welcomed back first baseman Logan Morrison and infielder Giovanny Alfonzo, each of whom had spent considerable time on the injured list. Morrison blasted a two-run homer in the fourth inning to give the Rockers a 3-2 lead that they would never relinquish. Alfonso had a walk and scored a run while playing flawless defense at third base including turning a rocket off the bat of Charleston’s Mile Williams into a routine 5-3 groundout.
Andrew Church, making his second start for the Rockers, gave up a pair of runs in the first on four hits but the Dirty Birds would not score again.
“After the first few hitters, Andrew settled in,” said Rockers manager Jamie Keefe. “We played very good defense behind him. It was good to get Logan back. That home run is just what he needed. And it was good to have Gio out there. I’m excited about what’s to come.”
Church allowed singles to each of the first three Charleston hitters with Connor Justus’ driving home Anfernee Seymour with the first run of the game. Juan Perez doubled home a run from his clean-up spot but the Rockers were able to escape after giving up just the two runs.
Morrison walked to lead-off the second and scored on a single by Chris Proctor. In the fourth, Quincy Latimore was hit by a pitch and Morrison followed with his homer to give High Point a 3-2 lead.
In the fifth, Ben Aklinski walked and took third on a single by Jerry Downs then scored on Latimore’s sacrifice fly to give High Point a 4-2 lead.
The Rockers salted the game away in the sixth when they loaded the bases on a pair of walks and a Proctor single. A wild pitch brought home one run and Michael Russell was hit by a pitch to force home a second run. Aklinski’s sac fly gave High Point a 7-2 lead.
Church improved to 2-0 with the win, going 5.1 innings and allowing seven hits while striking out four. He left in the sixth after allowing a pair of singles as Jonathon Crawford came out of the bullpen to extinguish the fire. Adam Choplick, John Hayes and Bryce Hensley each threw scoreless innings to close out the game.
Charleston’s Stephen Chamblee (0-1) started and went four innings, allowing five hits and three runs.
Justus finished the night with three hits for the Dirty Birds while Perez had two hits, both doubles.
Proctor finished with three hits for the Rockers as they improved to 13-4 on the season while Charleston fell to 9-8.
The Rockers and Dirty Birds will play the second game of their three-game series on Wednesday night at 6:35 at Truist Point. It will be Healthcare Appreciation Night with all Healthcare professionals receiving half-price tickets with a valid ID.