The Lancaster Barnstormers continued to hit and score on Monday evening, but they could not hold on to the lead they constructed.
High Point struck for seven unanswered runs over the final three innings to race past the ‘Stormers for an 8-6 victory in the opener of a four-game series at Clipper Magazine Stadium.
The loss ended a two-game winning streak for the Barnstormers and knocked them to 6 ½ games behind York in the Freedom Division.
With the Barnstormers leading, 6-1, heading into the seventh, starter Jonathan Albaladejo, working on a one-hitter, yielded a leadoff walk to Michael Russell. Myles Schroder added a single to right, and Giovanni Alfonzo grounded to short to advance the runners. Matt Jones then unloaded his first home run in the Atlantic League, a three-run blast to left, slicing the lead to 6-4.
Bryan Harper and Scott Shuman combined to retire five in a row to get Lancaster through the eighth, but Cody Epplay (1-6) could not finish off the night. Michael Russell rapped a 1-2 pitch down the left field line for a leadoff double. One out later, Alfonzo found the gap in right center to put the tying run in scoring position and quickly took third on a wild pitch. Jones walked, and Stephen Cardullo tied the game with a shallow fly ball to left center that barely eluded Devon Torrence’s sliding grab. Jared Mitchell drove a two-run double into the left field corner to decide the game.
Caleb Gindl tried to ignite a rally in the bottom of the ninth with a leadoff single, but Ryan Kelly quickly snuffed it out for his eighth save.
Michael Martinez gave the Barnstormers a 1-0 lead with a two-out homer in the second. Jones tied the game with a sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth. Andrew Aplin responded with a three-run homer off Edwin Carl in the bottom of the fifth inning, and Torrence greeted reliever Chase Huchingson with a two-run triple in the sixth.
Paul Clemens (2-2) threw a perfect eighth, striking out two, to earn the win.
Lancaster hosts High Point again on Tuesday with right-hander Connor Overton (1-0) on the hill. The Rockers will counter with right-hander Matt Sergey (1-1). Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 6:45.
NOTES: Aplin extended his current streak to eight and has hit safely in 27 of 28 overall…Torrence is 11-for-23 (.478) against High Point…Gindl reached base for the 16th straight game…Joe Terdoslavich lost a nine-game hit streak…Destin Hood had his 15th extra base hit in his last 22 starts, a double off the wall in left center in the seventh inning.