HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point Rockers broke a 3-3 tie in the fifth inning on Jay Gonzalez’s RBI double and went on to post a 6-3 win over Gastonia on Sunday in the final game of a three-game series. The win gave the Rockers a 2-1 series win.
The Rockers improved to 53-49 overall and 14-22 in the second half of the season. South Division-leading Gastonia is now 70-32 overall and 25-11 in the second half.
Gonzalez’s fifth inning ground rule double to the right-center gap scored Ben Aklinski who reached base on an infield hit. Gastonia starter Ian McKinney (L, 5-2) then hit Jerry Downs with a pitch to put runners on first and second. After retiring Zander Wiel on a fly out, Quincy Latimore grounded to third and the Honey Hunters forced Downs at second with Aklinski moving to third. Gonzalez then battled to a 2-2 count before getting the go-ahead hit.
The Rockers extended their lead to 6-3 in the seventh when Aklinski walked and scored on Latimore’s two-run homer, his 14th of the year.
The Honey Hunters were stymied by High Point starter Craig Stem (W, 5-3) who struck out a career-high 10 while allowing three runs and six hits and just two walks. Tyler Higgins struck out two in the eighth in his lone inning of work to earn a hold and Ryan Dull added a pair of strikeouts in the ninth in earning his 12th save of the year.
Gastonia struck in the first as Joseph Rosa blasted a solo homer with two outs to put the Honey Hunters in front 1-0. But High Point rebounded in their half as McKinney walked Michael Russell and Aklinski to start the game then allowed a two-run single to Downs. Gonzalez bounced out as Downs scored to give the Rockers a 3-1 lead.
Gastonia’s Jack Skole led off the third with a triple and scored on a double by Darian Sandford to pull within 3-2. The Honey Hunters tied the game in the top of the fifth on a single by Jack Reinheimer and an RBI single from Luis Roman.
The Rockers will have a day off on Monday and then will start a six-game road trip at Charleston on Tuesday night.