The Gastonia Honey Hunters slugged four homers and two doubles, walked only one batter and played flawless defense on Saturday evening to top the Lancaster Barnstormers, 8-1, at CaroMont Health Park.
The home runs produced four of the five insurance runs scored by Gastonia. Luis Roman connected for the second straight night. Johnny Davis greeted reliever Ben Wanger with a liner down the right side in the fifth. Jack Reinheimer and Joseph Rosa, the first two batters to face Donald Goodson, also homered in the seventh. Those all came after the Honey Hunters opened a 3-0 lead early.
Johnny Davis led off the game with a single to the hole at shortstop. Reinheimer followed with a walk, and Davis rode home on Rosa’s double to left center. Zach Jarrett produced the second run off Augie Sylk (0-1) with a sacrifice fly to center.
The third run scored when Alex Holderbach doubled into the right field corner with one out in the second and scored when Davis beat out a two-out scratch single.
Five Gastonia pitchers limited the Barnstormers to five singles on the night. Lancaster managed to close to within 3-1 in the top of the third. Melvin Mercedes walked, took third on a smash through the right side by Trace Loehr and scored when Anderson Feliz dropped a flare into right center. Starter Jerry Keel worked out of the inning with a strikeout and fly ball.
From there, the Barnstormers sent the minimum of 18 batters to the plate over the final six innings. Only a single to center by Mark Zagunis broke the spell, but he was quickly erased as Rosa smothered a hot ground ball toward the middle and turned it into a double play.
The series concludes on Sunday afternoon at 4:15. Brent Teller (5-2 in 2021) makes his season debut against right-hander Reilly Hovis. Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 4:10.
NOTES: Only Loehr and Feliz have batted safely in all three games…Gastonia pitchers have walked only three on the weekend, two in the ninth inning on Thursday…The Honey Hunters have played 26 error-free innings, including 24 straight since the third inning Thursday night…The first batter faced by all four Lancaster pitchers, including Hunter Speer in the eighth, scored.