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Rockers Win Third Straight, Drub Honey Hunters 11-2

By Steve Shutt, 07/15/21, 10:45PM EDT

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Gastonia gift-wraps 10 walks to High Point on Christmas in July

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point Rockers scored in double figures for the second straight night and defeated the Gastonia Honey Hunters 11-2 Thursday night in front of a crowd of 2,746 on Christmas In July at Truist Point.  The Rockers have now won three straight and took the series from the Honey Hunters three games to one.

               Gastonia was truly in the giving spirit, gifting the Rockers with 10 walks.

               The Rockers received superb pitching from starter Ricky Knapp as well as a pair of former Major League All-Stars who are on loan to the Rockers as they prepare for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

               Knapp tied his season-high with eight strikeouts while allowing just four hits and walking one as he evened his record on the year to 3-3.  He left with two out and one on in the sixth and U.S. Olympic pitcher David Robertson came on in relief.  Robertson, a former American League All-Star with the New York Yankees, yielded a sacrifice fly to Jesus Sucre but pitched the Rockers out of danger in the sixth then recorded a three-up, three-down inning in the seventh.

               Another Olympian and former Major League All-Star, Edwin Jackson, came on to set the Honey Hunters down in order in the eighth before Ryan Chaffee closed out the game with a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth.

               Gastonia starter William Kirwan was perfect through three innings before the Rockers loaded the bases in the fourth on a single by Michael Russell and a pair of walks.  Stuart Levy plated the Rockers’ first run with a sacrifice fly and Jared Mitchell’s single gave High Point a 2-0 lead.  Giovanny Alfonzo followed with a bases-loaded double that put the Rockers up 5-0.

               High Point added five more runs in the fifth, highlighted by a two-run single by catcher Michael Gulino, an RBI double by Russell, a run-scoring groundout by James McOwen and a bases loaded walk Mitchell.  

               High Point will now begin a three-game series with the Lexington Legends at 7:05 p.m. Friday at Truist Point.  A postgame fireworks display is planned.

NOTES

High Point’s attendance of 2,746 was the largest crowd of the year.  The previous high was 2,510 vs. Southern Maryland on June 18.

Michael Russell recorded his fifth consecutive multi-hit game, going two-for-four.  Russell is now hitting .532 in 12 games in July. He was 12 for 16 in the four games against Gastonia and is 15 for 21 over the last five games.

The Salvation Army food drive brought in 4,199 canned food items.  The food drive, part of the Christmas In July promotion, was sponsored by Old Dominion Freight Line.