HIGH POINT, N.C. – Craig Stem pitched seven strong innings and the High Point Rockers utilized home runs from Jared Mitchell and Mike Gulino to defeat the West Virginia Power 8-2 on Friday night in front of a crowd of 2,354 at Truist Point.
Stem finally was the benefactor for a blazing Rockers offense. The eight runs marked the third-most runs High Point had scored all year in one of Stem’s starts. He improved to 2-7 by allowing just six hits and striking out seven.
Jared Mitchell blasted his 11th homer of the year with Giovanny Alfonzo on board in the first to stake the Rockers to a 2-0 lead.
West Virginia cut the deficit to 2-1 in the second when Rymer Liriano doubled and scored on a ground out by Noberto Susini.
The Rockers took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the second when newcomer Brent Centracchio was hit by a pitch and scored on a double by J.R. DiSarcina. West Virginia pulled to within 3-2 with a run in the fourth on a pair of singles and a bases loaded walk to Ben Farias.
The Rockers went up 4-2 in the sixth when Stephen Cardullo led off with a single, and scored on an infield out by James McOwen. The lead increased to 5-2 I the seventh when Alfonzo notched his third hit of the night and scored from first on a double by Cardullo.
High Point put the game out of reach in the eighth when catcher Mike Gulino blasted his first home run of the season, a three-run shot, that gave the Rockers an 8-2 lead.
High Point’s bullpen was lights out in the last two inning against the Power. Kyle Halbohn set the Power down in order in order in the eighth and John Hayes followed suit in the ninth.
Alfonzo finished the game with three hits while Cardullo had two hits including a double. Gulino led the offense with three RBI.
West Virginia’s Arik Sikula (4-6) took the loss after working six innings and yielding five hits and four runs.
High Point and West Virginia will play the second game of their three game series on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at Truist Point.
INF Michael Russell is out for an undetermined period of time after suffering a broken jaw against Gastonia earlier in the week.
The Rockers signed INF Brett Centracchio prior to Friday’s game and he was in the starting line-up as the DH. Centracchio is playing as a professional for the first time after having played at Davidson from 2017-2020 and playing his final season at North Carolina.