Jason Rogers, Zac Jarrett and Scott Manea crushed consecutive home runs in the bottom of the third on Friday evening to lead the Gastonia Honey Hunters to a 7-3 victory over the Lancaster Barnstormers in Game Three of the Atlantic League Championship Series.
With the win, the Honey Hunters take a two games to one lead in the series.
Brady Tedesco (1-1) faced the minimum of six batters over the first two innings before yielding a leadoff single to David Washington in the third. Kevin Santa beat out a bunt single, and Jake Hoover walked on four pitches to load the bases. Tedesco fought back to strike out Jack Reinheimer on three pitches, but Rogers lofted a pitch out to the opposite field for the grand slam and a 4-2 lead. Jarrett followed with a towering homer to left and Manea drove a ball out of the yard to left center for a 6-2 lead. The final out of the inning came when Braxton Davidson was cut down at the plate on a long double by Washington.
Lancaster bolted out to a 2-0 lead over the first two innings on RBI singles by Wilson Garcia and Anthony Peroni. Lefty Grant Larson (1-0) took over for Sal Romano in the third and allowed one-out singles by Andretty Cordero and Garcia. Ariel Sandoval lined into a 9-3 double play to end the inning, and the Barnstormers did not have another baserunner off Larson in his remaining four innings. In the eighth Yeison Coca and Cordero stroked consecutive two-out singles off lefty Nick Wells, the first hits since the third. Peroni doubled home Chris Proctor with two outs in the ninth for Lancaster’s final run.
Jared Lakind (9-4, regular season) will see his first playoff action, pitching Game Four for the Barnstormers on Saturday at 6:35. Gastonia will send lefty Gunnar Kines (12-4, 1-0). Fans may tune in on Flo Baseball, beginning at 6:30.
NOTES: Lancaster has won two of three previous series when trailing, 2-1, after dropping Game Three…Garcia has 10 hits in Lancaster’s six playoff games…The Barnstormers finished the night with 11 hits, the highest output of the post-season…Lancaster has allowed three consecutive home runs on two previous occasions, once against Newark and once against Gastonia in 2021…Both were in the regular season…Ariel Sandoval singled to start the ninth for his first hit since Game One of the Division Series…He was thrown out at second…Nile Ball, currently on the injured list, was ejected from the dugout arguing about a check swing call with Chris Proctor at the plate in the seventh.
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