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Legends Mount 9th Inning Comeback, Win 8-5

By Steve Shutt, 07/18/21, 9:00PM EDT

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Rockers held 5-1 after 6th inning

     HIGH POINT, N.C. – The Lexington Legends scored four times in the top of the ninth to come from behind and hand High Point an 8-5 loss Sunday night in front of 2,112 fans at Truist Point.

High Point held a 5-4 lead in the top of the ninth when righty Dylan James came in from the High Point bullpen.  Each of the Legends first four hitters in the frame smacked base hits with Tillman Pugh knocking a two-run homer.  When the smoke cleared, the Rockers trailed 8-5 going to the bottom of the ninth.  High Point put a pair of runners on base in the ninth but Lexington’s Derek Self closed out the Rockers to earn the save.

High Point scored twice in the bottom of the first for a 2-0 lead.  Johnny Field led off the frame with a single to left and Michael Russell followed with another single.  Jerry Downs’ single score Field and Stuart Levy sent another single to left to score Russell.

In the third, the Rockers scored three runs to extend their lead to 5-0.  Russell led off with a double and moved to third on an infield groundout by Stephen Cardullo.  Jerry Downs walked before Levy flied out to Cole Sturgeon in center, scoring Russell on the sacrifice fly.  Lexington second baseman Brandon Phillips tried to catch Downs at first but the throw sailed into the first base dugout, putting Downs at third. Jared Mitchell was hit by a pitch before James McOwen doubled to score Downs and send Mitchell to third.  Giovanny Alfonzo singled to plate Mitchell but McOwen was thrown out at the plate to end the inning. 

Lexington’s Ben Aklinski hit a solo homer leading off the fourth to cut High Point’s lead to 4-1.

High Point starting pitcher Craig Stem scattered six hits over the first five innings while walking three and striking out one.  High Point scored all five of its runs off Lexington starter Shawn Blackwell.

The Rockers held a 5-1 lead through six innings before Phillips, the former Major League All-Star and part owner of the Legends, hit a three-run homer in the seventh to pull the Legends within one at 5-4.

Russell finished the game with three hits while Alfonzo had a pair of hits and an RBI.

High Point will have the day off tomorrow and then set out on a road trip in which they will play their next nine games on the road, starting at Lancaster on Tuesday.  The Rockers will return home on July 30 to face the West Virginia Power.