Jun. 20—HIGH POINT — The Rockers snapped their four-game losing streak Saturday night, topping Southern Maryland 4-1 in an Atlantic League game in which the two squads cleared the benches and scuffled between the seventh and eighth innings at Truist Point stadium.
With the score tied 1-1, the Rockers regained the lead for good in the sixth against Blue Crabs reliever Greyfer Eregua.
Jared 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. Michael 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, allowed just four hits, struck out four and walked none in six innings.
Austin Glorious was almost as effective as the Blue Crabs starter, allowing five hits, striking out four and walking three.
The shoving altercations between the entire rosters of the two teams came as the result of an exchange of heated words over Blue Crabs shortstop Michael Baca repeatedly trying to distract Rockers hitters while pitches were delivered.
“It wasn’t just in the seventh, it was throughout the middle innings,” Mitchell said of Baca. “That was one of the most unprofessional things I’ve ever seen.”
Once order was somewhat restored and the Rockers tried to take the field, a confrontation broke out in the outfield and was followed by another in front of the Southern Maryland bench.
When it was over, four players were ejected — Mitchell and Michael Russell of the Rockers and Baca and Harris of the Blue Crabs.
“Shenanigans between teams happen all the time and guys start running their mouths and that is what happens,” Rockers manager Jamie Keefe said. “A lot of guys who are here have played the game a long, long time and know how to play it and some of the younger ones don’t, I’ll leave it at that.”
The Rockers added a run in eighth when James McOwen tripled and scored Logan Moore from first.
The victory follows two losses in a row after late bullpen collapses. This time, Rockers relievers Ryan Chaffee, Kyle Halbohn and Preston Gainey combined for three scoreless innings and allowed one hit. Gainey was credited with a save.
“We got through the seventh this time,” Keefe said. “Shenanigans happen on the field all the time, It’s what you do with it. Maybe they poked the bear. That’s what we’re hoping, that it will spark us.
“Casad was the unsung hero. He pitched great. Chaffee, Halbohn, Gainey, they pitched great. And we got an insurance run in the eighth. Who would think Logan Moore would score all the way from first but he was going to score from first on that play.”
The Rockers improved to 10-10 while Southern Maryland dropped to 8-12.
“This game will set fire in us,” Arroyo said. “They better watch out.”