CHARLESTON, W.Va. –Zander Wiel drove in all six runs for the High Point Rockers on Friday night but the Charleston Dirty Birds broke a 6-6 tie with a run in the bottom of the 10th to score a 7-6 win at Appalachian Power Park.
Wiel hit a grand slam in third inning, drove in a run with a sac fly in the seventh and then gave High point a 6-5 lead with a solo homer with two outs in the top of the ninth. Wiel’s six RBI were one shy of the franchise record of seven.
High Point is now 29-21 on the season and in second place in the Atlantic League South Division. Gastonia defeated Lexington 6-1 on Friday to improve to 35-15 and now hold a six-game lead over the Rockers.
Charleston scored three runs in the first off starter Neil Uskali. Nick Heath led off the inning with a double and moved to third on a two-base fielder’s choice by Connor Justus. Nick Longhi brought home Heath with a sacrifice fly before Alfredo Gonzalez drew a walk. Both runners moved up on stolen bases before Yovan Gonzalez delivered a two-run single. The Dirty Birds added a run in the second on a Corey Bird triple and a Heath sac fly.
The Rockers knotted the game in the third. Jay Gonzalez and Tyler Ladendorft singled and Jerry Downs drew a walk to load the bases. Wiel then hit the Rockers’ first grand slam of the year to left center to tie the game at 4-4. It was Wiel’s team-leading 10th home run of the year.
High Point took a 5-4 lead in top of the seventh when Ben Aklinski doubled and moved to third on a fly out by Johnny Field. Wiel then picked up his fifth RBI of the game when he hit a sac fly to right.
Alfredo Gonzalez hit a solo homer off Ryan Dull in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game at 5-5. It was the first home run allowed by Dull this season.
Wiel blasted his second homer of the night and 11th of the year in the top of the ninth to give High Point a 6-5 lead. But the Dirty Birds tied the game at 6-6 when Engel Beltre singled to score Anfernee Seymour with the tying run.
High Point was held scoreless in the top of the 10th by Charleston reliever Max Tannenbaum (W, 1-2). In the bottom of the 10th, with a runner starting the inning at second base, Justus singled to center to plate Bird with the winning run.
High Point and Charleston will play a doubleheader on Saturday at 5 p.m. at Appalachian Power Park.
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