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Rockers Drop Tight Game to Power

By Steve Shutt, 08/01/21, 8:30PM EDT

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West Virginia avoids sweep with 7-6 win Sunday

HIGH POINT, N.C. – West Virginia third baseman Dominic Bethancourt hit an RBI double to break a 6-6 tie in the eighth inning and give the Power a 7-6 win over the High Point Rockers in front of a crowd of 1,650 at Truist Point. 

The loss spoiled the return of Northeast Guilford grad Mitch Atkins who made his first start for the Rockers since June 13 after having spent six weeks in the Mexican League.

Johnny Field led off the bottom of the first for the Rockers with a soft single to center.  He stole second then scored on a ground-rule double down the left field line by Stephen Cardullo to give High Point a 1-0 lead.

               West Virginia tied the game at 1-1 in the second on a solo homer by Rymer Liriano.  Bethancourt put the Power up 2-1 with a solo homer in the third.  Liriano homered again in the fourth, driving in Edwin Espinal who had singled ahead of him, for a 4-1 West Virginia advantage.

               “Mitch threw the ball well today, he just hasn’t pitched in three weeks,” said Rockers manager Jamie Keefe.  “He just gave up a couple of home runs and we had some situations we weren’t able to take advantage of.”

               High Point got two runs back in the fourth to cut the deficit to 4-3.  Jerry Downs walked to lead off and moved to third on a double by Stuart Levy.  Downs scored on a ground out by Jared Mitchell while Levy was plated following a sacrifice fly to center by James McOwen.

               The Rockers pulled ahead at 5-4 with a pair of runs in the fifth.  Singles by Field and Cardullo along with a walk to Downs loaded the bases.  Field scored on a wild pitch by West Virginia’s Junior Figueroa.  Luis Guzman, who replaced Figueroa with two outs, immediately issued a walk to Mitchell which brought home Cardullo before exiting the inning with a strikeout of McOwen.

               West Virginia took a 6-5 lead with a pair of runs in the sixth.  Justin Henle and Connor Myers each received bases loaded walks to force in both runs.

               High Point tied the game at 6-6 in the seventh when Levy hit a soft liner to right to score Cardullo who made an outstanding base running display when he went from first to third on Downs’ single to right.

               Joey Hennessey pitched the eighth inning for the Rockers and retired the first two men he faced.  He then walked Yovan Gonzalez and allowed an RBI double to Bethancourt that put the Power up 7-6.  West Virginia reliever Mike Broadway pitched a pair of scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth to hold the Rockers at bay.

               Hennessey (0-1) took the loss while West Virginia’s Max Tannenbaum (1-0) earned his first win with the Power.

               Field and Levy each collected three hits for the Rockers and Mitchell finished with a pair of RBI.  Levy has now reached base in nine consecutive plate appearances after two singles, a double, and a pair of hit by pitches on Sunday.

High Point will have an off-day on Monday before heading to Lexington, Ky. to start a three-game series with the Lexington Legends on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.

 

NOTES

On Sunday, the Rockers traded RHP Daniel James to the Cleburne Railroaders (American Association) for RHP Ezequiel De La Cruz and RHP Taylor Wright.

High Point also traded RHP Ricky Knapp to the Winnipeg Goldeyes (American Association) for RHP Joey Gonzalez.