WALDORF, Md. – The High Point Rockers used outstanding pitching and timely hitting to defeat the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs 5-4 on Friday night at Regency Furniture Stadium.
Starter Bryce Hensley held the Blue Crabs without a hit until there were two outs in the sixth inning. Dario Pizzano and David Harris each singled but Hensley escaped the jam without allowing a run. Hensley finished the night allowing six hits in 6.2 innings while walking one and striking out seven.
High Point broke out in the top of the first when Johnny Field and Michael Russell greeted Southern Maryland starter Sam Burton with solo home runs to lead off the game for a quick 2-0 lead. The Rockers extended the lead to 3-0 in the fifth when Giovanny Alfonzo singled and scored on a double by Stephen Cardullo.
In the seventh, High Point moved ahead 5-0 when Field singled and stole second ahead of a walk to Russell. After Endrys Briceno replaced Burton on the mound, Jerry Downs singled to score Field. Stuart Levy then singled to drive home Russell.
Southern Maryland spoiled the shutout in the seventh when Joe Deluca singled and Kent Blackstone doubled to put runners on second and third. Michael Baca followed with a single to left to plate both Deluca and Blackstone.
Hensley came out after allowing the two runs in the seventh with Ryan Chaffee coming on in relief.
John Fasola took the mound to start the eighth and yielded a leadoff homer to Harris as Southern Maryland cut its deficit to 5-3. Fasola escaped the inning by inducing a groundout and a pair of strikeouts.
In the ninth, Preston Gainey came on to close out the win for the Rockers. He issued a pair of walks and a single to load the bases. With two outs, Alex Crosby was hit by a pitch to force in a run and cut High Point’s lead to 5-4. But Gainey recovered and struck out Josh McAdams to preserve the win and earn his team-leading sixth save of the season.
High Point and Southern Maryland will meet again on Saturday with a 6:35 p.m. start.0
SS Giovanny Alfonzo extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a fifth inning single.
CF Johnny Field had two hits to lead the Rockers.
The top six hitters in the High Point line-up contributed seven of the Rockers’ eight hits on Friday.
High Point pitchers fanned 12 Southern Maryland hitters in the game.