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West Virginia Needs Extra Innings to Top Rockers

By High Point Rockers, 09/25/21, 10:30PM EDT

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High Point maintains 4-game lead in wild card race

HIGH POINT, N.C. – West Virginia needed extra innings to beat the High Point Rockers 5-4 in 10 innings on Saturday night.  The Rockers attracted a season-high 2,822 fans to Truist Point.

West Virginia used a sacrifice bunt and a sac fly to score the winning run in the top of the 10th.  High Point put runners on first and third in the bottom of the tenth but could not push across the equalizer.

John Hayes (2-2) pitched the 10th inning and took the loss.  West Virginia’s Junior Rincon (5-2) pitched the ninth and 10th innings for the win.

The loss leaves the Rockers 2.5 games behind the Power in the race to win the second half of the Atlantic League’s South Division.  But High Point maintained a four-game lead over Southern Maryland in the battle for a wild card berth in the Atlantic League playoffs.

Johnny Field, Michael Russell and Quincy Latimore led the Rockers with two hits each.  Cardullo drove in two runs with a two-run homer in the third.

Cardullo staked the Rockers to a 2-0 lead in the third inning.  Russell led off the inning with a walk from West Virginia starter Elih Villanueva.  Cardullo then lifted a high fly ball to left that continued to carry until it cleared the wall.  It was Cardullo’s 18th home run of the year.

The Rockers extended their lead to 3-0 in the fifth.  Russell reached on a lead-off bunt single, moved to second on a single by Jerry Downs and scored on a single by Latimore.

High Point’s Tommy Lawrence carried a no-hitter through five innings, not allowing a hit until West Virginia’s Elmer Reyes led off the sixth with a single to right field.  Reyes’ single was followed by a bunt single by Nate Easley and another single by Olmo Rosario to load the bases.  Alberto Callaspo grounded to Jerry Downs who threw to second for an out but Callaspo beat the return throw to first as Reyes scored.  Edwin Espinal and Fransisco Arcia each followed with RBI singles to tie the game and chase Lawrence from the contest.

The Power took a 4-3 lead in the top of the seventh.  Reyes reached on a fielder’s choice and Nate Easley singled, moving Reyes to third.  Easley took off on an attempted steal of second and catcher Stuart Levy’s throw was not in time.  Second baseman Michael Martinez’s throw to the plate to catch Reyes was off line, allowing West Virginia to take a 4-3 lead.

The Rockers rallied in the eighth inning when Jared Mitchell led off the frame with a walk, stole second and moved to third on a groundout by Jay Gonzalez.  Mitchell then scored on a sacrifice fly by Levy to knot the game at 4-4.

High Point and West Virginia will conclude their series on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. at Truist Point.