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HIGH POINT — High Point’s new Boys of Summer sent their fans home pleased Thursday night.
Dante Bichette Jr. gave them the most enjoyment. Bichette clouted a home run for the first score in BB&T Point history and hit a two-run single, providing all the offense needed as three pitchers combined on a shutout as the Rockers stopped the Sugar Land Skeeters 3-0 in Atlantic League action.
The Rockers (4-3) prevailed after arriving home at 8 a.m. at the end of a lengthy bus ride from Wednesday night’s game against the Somerset Patriots in New Jersey.
“To get the home opener, that’s huge,” Rockers manager Jamie Keefe said. “Obviously, it’s huge to get the W. But to get through today with the hard work everyone had put in to get this off the ground was great. It ended up being a beautiful night, and to get that 3-0 win put us on the top of the mountain.
"Bichette put the crowd on the top of the mountain when he sent a shot over the leftfield wall in the fourth."
The lefty (Skeeters’ pitcher) was keeping us off balance and mixing it up,” Bichette said. “I was looking for something soft and he gave it to me and the ball took off.”
Bichette said he was confident the ball was going out.
“We’ve had batting practice here and the ball’s carried well to left,” Bichette said. “I hit it pretty good.”
He was happy to come through.
“It was cool to play in front of people seeing a team for the first time,” Bichette said. “It’s a good group of guys, good coaching staff and we’re excited to be with those guys.
“We talked about who was going to hit it. (Tyler) Ladendorf hit one on the road but it was nice to get one here.””
Bichette gave the Rockers more of a cushion in the eighth, lacing a bases-loaded singled that scored Myles Schroder and Hector Gomez.
"I knew he had to throw me a strike because he didn’t want to walk in a run with the bases loaded and I hit it up the middle,” Bichette said. “He gave me a good pitch to hit.”
Matt Sergey was sterling as the starting pitcher in the wake of scheduled starter Seth Maness getting his contract purchased by the Texas Rangers.
Sergey kept the Skeeters hitless and allowed two baserunners, both on errors, before suffering a cramp and was forced to go the showers, slamming the ball into the turf in his hamstring in a show of frustration.
“I was tr ying to throw quality pitches,” Sergey said. “I was on a pitch count and trying to get outs as quickly as I could so I could stay in longer and get that no-hitter. But unfor tunately I didn’t hydrate well enough and started cramping. So it cost me.”
Chase Huchingson replaced Sergey and lost the no hitter, then walked one before coaxing a fly to right to end the inning. Huchingson, Akeel Morris and Trevor Frank kept the shutout in tact over the last two innings.
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