HIGH POINT — Rockers manager Jamie Keefe hoped that snapping a losing four-game streak in a game that included bench-clearing confrontations Saturday would provide his club a much needed jolt.
“Shenanigans happen on the field all the time. It’s what you do with it,” Keefe said following the 10-5 victory over Southern Maryland. “Maybe they poked the bear. That’s what we’re hoping, that it will spark us.
Instead on Sunday, they returned to their form for most of the week as they gave up nine runs in the seventh, helping the Blue Crabs rally for a 15-12 victory
It was the fifth loss in a six-game homestand and dropped the Rockers to 10-11. In four of those games, High Point’s bullpen gave up a big inning in each for a total of 28 runs as the opposition either broke a tie or came from behind.
In the finale against Southern Maryland, the Rockers led 10-5 behind an offense led by Jared Mitchell, Stephen Cardullo and Cesar Trejo after six innings.
Mitchell hit a two-run homer, singled, walked twice and scored four runs in his first four of six trips to the plate. Mitchell’s homer was his sixth in eight days.
Trejo hit a two-run homer with Mitchell aboard in the sixth, hit an RBI double and later scored on a wild pitch in the fifth and scratched out an infield hit in the second.
Cardullo went 4 for 5, raising his batting average to .486. He doubled and later scored on a double by Jerry Downs in the fifth, hit a solo homer in the sixth and singled in the seventh and first.
Joe Johnson, Brian Clark and Max Povse were each charged with giving up three runs in the seventh as the Blue Crabs went up 12-10.
High Point had an opportunity to get out of the inning leading 10-8 when Clark fielded a slow-rolling grounder by the pitcher’s mound. But, his attempted throw to first sailed into right field, allowing two runs to score.
Povse replaced Clark, walked two to load the bases, and served up a pitch that Kent Blackstone sent over the right-field wall for a grand slam home run.
The Blue Crabs scored one in the eighth. The Rockers pushed across two in the ninth on James McOwen’s RBI double and Jerry Downs’ RBI groundout.
Rockers manager Jamie Keefe was ejected in the eighth for arguing a strikeout call involving Mitchell.
On Saturday, the Rockers held on to win, 4-1. They were up 3-1 when the benches emptied and players scuffled after words were exchanged over Southern Maryland shortstop Michael Baca trying to distract the Rockers batters during the delivery of pitches.
Four players were ejected — Mitchell and Michael Russell of the Rockers, and David Harris and Baca of the Blue Crabs.
The Rockers took the lead for good in the sixth against Blue Crabs reliever Greyfer Eregua.
Mitchell walked, stole second and scored on Edwin Arroyo’s single to make it 2-1.
“I was looking for a pitch to hit to the right side of the field, so I could move the runner,” Arroyo said. “I got a pitch to do it and I did.”
Logan Moore followed with a single and the runners advanced to second and third on Giovanny Alfonzo’s sacrifice. Russell then hit a bouncer to short and Arroyo, running on the play, scored easily, upping the margin to 3-1.
It was the second RBI of the game for Russell, who led off the game with a homer to right. David Harris of the Blue Crabs, who hit a three-run homer on Friday night, cracked a solo homer in the second to tie the score.
That was the only run given by winning pitcher Cooper Casad, who allowed just four hits, struck out four and walked none in six innings.
The Rockers bullpen was solid the rest of the way, in a switch, as Ryan Chaffee, Kyle Halbohn and Preston Gainey combined for three scoreless innings. Gainey was credited with a save.
The Rockers added a run in eighth when James McOwen tripled and scored Logan Moore from first.
It was Moore’s final game in High Point. His contract was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies organization on Sunday.
The Rockers go on the road all this week, starting a stretch in which 16 of 19 games are on the road. They play a single game today and a double header Wednesday at West Virginia, enjoy a day off Thursday, then go to Lexington, Kentucky, for three games Friday through Sunday.
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