HIGH POINT — Lexington rallied late to end the Rockers winning streak Sunday at Truist Point.
Using primarily extra-base hits, the Legends scored seven runs in the last three innings to prevail 8-5 and keep High Point from winning for a sixth straight time as they closed a seven-game homestand.
Down 5-1, Brandon Phillips smashed a three-run homer in the seventh that chased reliever Brain Clark, who put two on with a hit batter and a walk and retired just one batter.
Lexington scored four runs in the ninth to take the lead. All were against reliever Daniel James, who had allowed just one run in his nine previous appearances, all an inning each.
Pinch-hitter Chris Fornaci led off with a double to deep center and Tillman Pugh followed with a two-run homer that gave the Legends the lead. Chris Sturgeon tripled and then scored on Brandon Phillips’ single. After a walk and a wild pitch, Jordan Pacheco lifted a sacrifice fly that scored Phillips and was the only batter James retired.
Nefi Ogando registered two strikeouts to end the inning and prevent further damage.
Joe Johnson singled to right with one out and Michael Russel reached on an infield hit with two out in the ninth. With rain falling, Stephen Cardullo was retired on a groundout to end the game.
James, who allowed four runs on four hits, was the loser in his first decision of the season as the Rockers dropped to 23-24. Lexington improves to 29-15 and leads the Rockers by 7.5 games in the Atlantic League’s South Division.
High Point did all of its scoring and pounded eight hits in the first three innings against Legends starter Shawn Blackwell. The Rockers managed just four baserunners, all on singles, the rest of the way.
In the first, four singles produced two runs. Johnny Field and Michael Russell started the game with back-to-back safeties. Jerry Downs drove in Field and Stuart Levy brought Russell home.
In the third, Levy registered his second RBI with a sacrifice fly that scored Russell as Downs went to third on a two-base throwing error to first. James McOwen laced a double that scored Downs, and Giovanny Alfonzo punched a single that plated Jared Mitchell. McOwen also tried to score but was thrown out at the plate.
Ben Aklinski launched a homer in the fourth for the only run against Rockers starter Craig Stem, who didn’t return after a 39-minute lightning delay in the bottom of the fifth. It is the first time Stem has allowed less than two runs this season.
The Rockers now go on a nine-game road trip — three games at Lancaster beginning Tuesday, three games at Southern Maryland beginning and three games at Gastonia beginning July 27.
The Rockers next play at home July 30-Aug.1 against West Virginia.