CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. – The High Point Rockers and Long Island Ducks split a doubleheader on Thursday night at Fairfield Properties Ballpark. The Ducks took the opening game 5-1 while the Rockers bounced back to claim the nightcap 2-1.
The Rockers are now 31-25 on the season and trail Gastonia (38-17) by 7.5 games in the Atlantic League’s South Division. Southern Maryland clinched a share of the North Division pennant with a 12-3 win at Staten Island on Tuesday.
The Rockers were trailing 1-0 in the sixth inning of the nightcap when they put together the game-winning rally. Johnny Field led off with a single and Ben Aklinski followed with a walk against Long Island righty Scott Harkin (L, 4-5). Zander Wiel doubled to right field to score Field and move Aklinski to third. Quincy Latimore’s sac fly to left scored Aklinski with the go-ahead run.
High Point starter Ivan Pineyro (W, 1-0) went five innings and held the Ducks to four hits on two walks while striking out six. Long Island’s lone run came in the second inning when Rusney Castillo walked, advanced to second on a single by Joe DeCarlo and scored on a single by Vladimir Frias.
Bryce Hensley pitched a three-up, three-down sixth and Ryan Dull (S, 1) earned his first save of the year with a 1-2-3 seventh inning.
In the opener, the Rockers sent recent signee Nick Evangelista (L, 0-1) to the mound. The South Jersey native, who pitched this spring at Fairleigh Dickinson University as a graduate student, gave a solid showing for his professional debut. He allowed only three hits over 5.1 innings and walked one and struck out one. Evangelist allowed a run in the first on a single by L.J. Mazzilli who would score on a sac fly.
DeCarlo hit a solo homer leading off the fifth to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead. Evangelista departed after hitting Long Island’s Deven Marrero with a pitch in the sixth. Adam Choplick came on in relief and allowed an RBI double to Sam Travis and a two-run homer to Deibinson Romero.
The Rockers tallied their lone run in the seventh when Giovanny Alfonzo singled, moved to third on a double by Mike Gulino and scored on a ground out by Michael Russell.
Long Island’s Stephen Tarpley (W, 2-3) tossed five innings for the Ducks and allowed four hits and two walks while striking out three. Nick Goody (S, 2) struck out three in his two innings of work.
The Rockers will return home and host the Lexington Legends on Friday night at 6:35 p.m. at Truist Point. Following the game, the Rockers will have a fireworks show with fans allowed to watch from the field.