CHARLESTON, W.Va. – In the longest game in club history, the High Point Rockers took a 6-5 win from Charleston in 13 innings on Friday night at GoMart Ballpark in Charleston. Daikan Yoh singled home the go-ahead run in the top of the 13th and lefty Bryce Hensley was able to shut out the Dirty Birds in the bottom of the 13th to preserve the win.
Kyle Halbohn (W, 2-0) earned the win and Hensley picked up his first save of the season.
Ben Aklinski started the 13th inning at second and moved to third on a disengagement violation by Charleston pitcher Brayden Theriot as John Daly drew a walk to put two aboard. After Daly stole second, Beau Taylor received an intentional walk to load the bases for Daikan Yoh who singled home Aklinski for a 6-5 High Point advantage. In the bottom of the 13th, Charleston sacrificed Telvin Nash to third before Ryan Grotjohn made a diving stop of a grounder to get the out at first and keep Nash at third. Gonzalez then grounded out back to Rockers pitcher Bryce Hensley who threw to first for the final out.
The Dirty Birds broke the ice first as Juan Carlos Perez doubled to score Dwight Smith, Jr. who had singled off High Point starter Brandon Leibrandt, taking a 1-0 lead.
The Rockers went on top with a pair of runs in the third. Facing Charleston starter Joe Testa, Ryan Grotjohn started the inning with a double and scored on a double by Michael Martinez. Shed Long, Jr. then singled home Martinez to give the Rockers a 2-1 lead.
Daikan Yoh’s solo homer in the fourth inning, his ninth blast of the year, gave the Rockers a 3-1 lead.
Leibrandt would pitch into the sixth inning before walking Perez and hitting Bobby Bradley with a pitch. Austin Ross was summoned from the bullpen and he struck out Telvin Nash and was able to get the Rockers out of the frame unscathed.
Charleston touched Ross for a run in the seventh when Jalen Miller was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a single by Smith, Jr. and scored on a single by Perez.
Leibrandt went five innings and allowed just four hits while walking two and striking out seven. Ross allowed one run and struck out four in his two innings of work. Taylor Guerrieri threw a three up, three down inning in the eighth before turning it over to Ryan Dull in the ninth.
Dull struck out Yovan Gonzalez and Yefri Perez before allowing a double by Jalen Miller. Smith, Jr. then singled to right and Miller beat the throw from Ben Aklinski in right to tie the game at 3-3. It marked Dull’s first blown save of the season after successfully converting 16 straight opportunities.
High Point took a 4-3 lead in the top of the tenth when D.J. Burt started the inning at second and stole third before scoring on a sac fly to deep center by Long, Jr.
Jameson McGrane pitched the 10th and allowed a sac fly to Telvin Nash to tie the game at 4-4.
In the top of the 11th, the Rockers loaded the bases with one out on a pair of walks and took a 5-4 lead on a balk by Charleston hurler Luke Westphal. In the bottom of the 11th, Diego Goris singled home the tying run off Kyle Halbohn but a 4-6-3 double play kept the game tied going into the 12th.
In the 12th, the Rockers were unable to score in the top half nor were the Dirty Birds in the bottom half.
The second game of the three-game series is slated for a 6:35 p.m. first pitch on Saturday in Charleston. The game will be livestreamed on FLO Baseball and also available on the Mixlr app.
NOTES: The Rockers had played multiple 12 inning games but had never played 13 innings until tonight.