Cardullo, Rockers Top Gastonia, 8-6
Gastonia, N.C. - Stephen Cardullo had a historic day at the plate and the High Point Rockers bullpen kept a potent Gastonia offense at bay as High Point won 8-6.
Neither team was able to muster any offense through the first three innings, as Rockers starter Bryce Hensley and Gastonia starter Austin Glorius traded shutout innings. In the top of the fourth with a runner on base, Stephen Cardullo finally put High Point on the with a two-run home run.
Hensley had allowed just a single base runner through the first four innings and had retired the first two Gastonia batters in the fifth. But Jake Skole would launch a solo home run and the next four Honey Hunter batters would record hits, scoring three more runs and chasing Hensley from the game with Gastonia now ahead 4-2.
The Rockers would steal the momentum and the lead back in the sixth inning when Jay Gonzalez hit a soft line drive into shallow right field. Gastonia second baseman Alexi Amarista was able to cut the ball off but his throw to first was late, allowing James McOwen to score, pulling the Rockers to within one run at 4-3. The bases were loaded and Cardullo did what the Rockers had not been able to do in the first 101 games in 2021. Cardullo's grand slam gave High Point a 7-4 lead and tied him with Richie Shaffer with six RBIs in a game, the most in Rockers history.
But the Honey Hunters weren't done and the first two batters reached base in the sixth inning off High Point Reliever Jonathan Crawford. Catcher Ermindo Escobar would bring them both home on a two-out double and Gastonia would pull to within one at 7-6.
In the Top of the eighth inning, Cardullo strode to the plate with two outs and two men aboard. He connected on a soft line drive into left field that fell in front of left fielder Reece Hampton. Manager Jamie Keefe waved Johnny Field home, giving the Rockers an 8-6 lead and giving Cardullo the team record of 7 RBIs in a game.
The back end of the Rockers bullpen shut down Gastonia in the final three innings, as Huascar Brazoban, Ryan Dull, and Kyle Halbohn combined to retire all nine Honey Hunters they faced to lock down the win.
After an off-day Monday, the Rockers return home to begin their final homestand of 2021, a 12-game stretch that begins with a midweek series against the Lancaster Barnstormers of the North Division. The first pitch of Tuesday's game is scheduled for 7:05 and tickets can be purchased at highpointrockers.com.
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Atlantic League Stories from September 19, 2021
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