HIGH POINT — Refreshed by two unexpected days off, the Rockers completed a sweep of a doubleheader Thursday night, hammering Lancaster 11-5 at Truist Point.
High Point smacked 10 hits and drew seven walks as eight players scored in the second of the two seven-inning games.
Stephen Cardullo and Jared Mitchell each homered as the Rockers built an early 8-0 lead. Cardullo hit his 17th homer of the year, a two-run shot in the first, went 1 for 3, drove in four runs and scored twice. Mitchell, who tagged a solo homer in the second that was 14th of the season, went 3 for 4 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Michael Russell was 1 for 3 with a RBI and run scored. Quincy Latimore went 2 for 2, drove in a run and scored two. Michael Martinez laced a two-run single.
The Rockers scored two in the first, six in the second, one in the third and two in the fourth.
“It was good for us to sweep the day and get something going again heading into the last stretch of the season,” Mitchell said.
A total of six High Point pitchers combined for a season-high 14 strikeouts. Tyler Garkow, making his second start, fanned seven, including all six outs in the first and second.
After sitting about 40 minutes while the Rockers sent 12 to the plate in the bottom of the second, he didn’t have the same stuff in the third and allowed a walk, a two-run homer and two more walks that eventually became runs as Lancaster scored all five of its runs and sent 10 to the plate.
Jonathan Crawford fanned five in two innings and got the win, and Ryan Chaffee struck out two in an inning of work.
The Rockers got additional rest this week thanks to rainouts Tuesday and Wednesday, even though Wednesday’s game wasn’t called until nearly 10 p.m.
“It gave you a little bit of a mental break, got you away from the game a little bit, even though we were here and ready to go,” Mitchell said. “You just didn’t have the mental toll of the everyday grind. It allowed us to come out recharged and refreshed and reenergized.”
The Tuesday contest was rescheduled for Thursday, creating the first game of the doubleheader that the Rockers won 6-3.
“Wednesday was a tough day, here 10 hours trying to get the game in,” Rockers manager Jamie Keefe said. “We put the bat on the ball today and we hit it really, really hard., We needed that. When you don’t play for three days, talking to Jared, it seemed like an All-Star break. We needed it and today guys showed up and we needed that.”
Cardullo homered after Latimore walked in the first. In the second, Mitchell led off with a homer, After a single and two walks loaded the bases, Michael Russell drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Another run scored on a walk, Martinez delivered his two-run single and Mitchell followed with a RBI single.
The Rockers countered Lancaster’s five-run inning with Cardullo’s run-scoring sacrifice fly in the third. In the fourth, Mitchell laced a single that was his third straight RBI hit and Field belted a run-scoring sacrifice fly.
“Dulo’s been on fire and continues to do his thing,” Keefe said. “Guys out of the bullpen threw well. Garkow is throwing on Tuesday and has to put this behind him. He sat on the bench for 46 minutes and that’s a long time. We didn’t get out of it unscathed but guys came right back and put one on the board and that was huge.
With the sweep, the Rockers kept pace with West Virginia, remaining a half-game behind in the race for first in the South Division second half. The two teams open a three-game series at Truist Point on Friday.
The second-half winner qualifies for the Atlantic League playoffs. If the Rockers don’t overtake the Power, they could qualify as a wild-card on overall season record if Long Island completes a sweep in the North Division.
High Point ended Thursday’s play with a five-game lead over Southern Maryland in the wild-card race. They face each other six times in seven days beginning Oct. 1, with each team having three home games.