HIGH POINT, N.C. – High Point and Long Island engaged in a classic pitcher’s duel for five innings on Friday night before the Ducks pulled away for a 7-4 win in front of a crowd 1,853 at Truist Point.
High Point starter Cooper Casad limited the Ducks to one run through five innings while Long Island starter Joe Iorio kept the Rockers in check, holding them to three hits through six innings.
The Rockers took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Giovanny Alfonzo hit a double to left-center with two outs. Stephen Cardullo followed with a single to plate the first run of the game.
Long Island tied the game in the fourth as Vladimir Frias led off the inning with a double. He moved to third on a single by Steve Lombardozzi and then scored on a single by L.J. Mazzilli.
Long Island loaded the bases with one out in the sixth when Mazzilli, Deibinson Romero and Ramon Flores each singled with one out. Hector Sanchez singled to put Long Island up 3-1.
In the seventh, Long Island’s Breland Almadova singled and scored on a double in the gap by Vladimir Frias for a 4-1 lead.
High Point got one run back in the seventh when Stuart Levy walked, moved to second on a single by James McOwen and scored on a single by Michael Martinez. But the Rockers left the bases loaded when Long Island reliever Rob Griswold was able to retire Johnny Field and Alfonzo, leaving the Rockers trailing 4-2.
Long Island extended its lead to 5-2 when Almadova singled off reliever Joe Johnson and scored on a double off the wall in right by Lombardozzi. Following an intentional walk to Mazzilli, pinch-hitter Sal Giardina clubbed a two-run double to make it a 7-2 game.
McOwen doubled in the ninth before Jared Mitchell slammed his 12th homer of the year, a two-run shot with two outs, to cut the lead to 7-4.
Iorio (7-1) allowed five hits and walked three while striking out four. Casad (5-1) did not walk a batter and struck out two while allowing four runs in his seven innings of work.
McOwen and Alfonzo each finished with a pair of hits for High Point
The Rockers and Ducks will face off in game two of the three-game series at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday night at Truist Point. It will be Military Appreciation Night.
INF Michael Martinez, whom the Rockers had signed in March, reported to the team Friday and was in the starting line-up at second base vs. Long Island.
Jay Gonzalez, acquired from Winnipeg of the American Association, also reported on Friday and was in the starting line-up at DH.
The Rockers also received Chase Ingram in a recent trade with New Jersey of the American Association. Ingram was in uniform for the first time on Friday.
The Rockers released infielder Brett Centracchio and re-signed INF Nate Blakeney.