Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Final: Durham Bulls 9, Charlotte Knights 2

By Seth Lakso, Charlotte Observer Correspondent 

Final: Knights 2, Bulls 9 -- LHP Jeff Beliveau fanned Black and Mitchell before getting Saladino to ground out to short.

Top 9th: Knights 2, Bulls 9 -- Zach Putnam came on in relief of Thompson and held the Bulls scoreless.

Bottom 8th: Knights 2, Bulls 9 -- Davidson (0-for-3 .224) walked. Phipps filed out and then Wilkins and Liddi K'd.

Top 8th: Knights 2, Bulls 9: -- Thompson's bid to retire the Bulls in order for the first time since the first inning was foiled by a two-out single to left by Figueroa. A single and an error by Liddi later and the Bulls had a seven run lead.

Bottom 7th: Knights 2, Bulls 8 -- Mitchell walked and was erased on a fielder's choice by Saladino. Tekotte (0-for-4) then flied to left and Phegley (1-for-4) lined to first.

Top 7th: Knights 2, Bulls 8 -- Jerry Sands greeted Charlotte righthander Taylor Thompson with a home run to right field to begin the inning. The ball barely traveled 320 feet, but made its way over the short right field fence. Thompson then struck out Belnome, before allowing a Mahtook single up the middle.

Mahtook is now 11-for-his-last-11 and 9-for-9 in the series against the Knights. His average now stands at .408.

Thompson stranded the Bulls right fielder at first by striking out Kiermaier and then getting Rodriguez to bounce to first.  

Bottom 6th: Knights 2, Bulls 7 -- After Phipps and Wilkins each grounded out to begin the inning against Matt Andriese, the Knights got one back on Alex Liddi's first home run of the season. Black then grounded out to second to end the inning.

Top 6th: Knights 1, Bulls 7 -- After beginning the inning by striking out Price and Olmedo, Heath allowed a double to Figueroa, before recovering to get Christian to ground to third.

Bottom 5th: Knights 1, Bulls 7 -- The Knights looked to have something started when Mitchell and Saladino each walked to begin the inning, but Romero recovered to retire Tekotte (pop out), Phegley (fly to left) and Davidson (K). The Bulls have action in their bullpen so that will likely be the night for the Bull's southpaw.

Romero's final line: 5IP, 4H, 1R (earned), 3BB, 5K, 92 pitches.

Bottom 6th: Knights 2, Bulls 7 -- The Knights got one back on

Top 5th: Knights 1, Bulls 7 -- Mahtook is quickly becoming the story of this series. He led off the inning with a triple off Duente Heath, who came on in relief of Surkamp. Heath then rallied to strike out Kiermaier and get Rodriguez to bounce into a 5-3 double play, where Davidson was able to tag Mahtook and throw to first.

The base running blunder was the first poor play we've seen from Mahtook in this series. He's a home run shy of the cycle.

Bottom 4th: Knights 1, Bulls 7 -- All of a sudden Romero has retired seven Knights in a row. Wilkins bounced to second, Liddi punched out, and Black flied to center.

Top 4th: Knights 1, Bulls 7 -- The Bulls sent nine batters to the plate and pushed across three more runs against Surkamp. Mahtook led off the inning with his seventh consecutive hit and then came in to score on a triple by Kiermaier. Following a fielder's choice, Kiermaier scored on a Price single.

Knights' pitching coach Richard Dotson then made a trip to the mound, but it didn't help Surkamp much. Following a pop out, he allowed three straight Bulls to reach base, with Price eventually scoring on a Christian double. Belnome K'd to end the inning and Surkamp's night.

Surkamp's final line: 4IP, 9H, 7R (all earned), 2BB, 5K, 82 pitches.

Bottom 3rd: Knights 1, Bulls 4 -- Phegley flied to right, Davidson struck out, and Phipps popped out to short to give Romero his first one-two-three inning of the night.

Top 3rd: Knights 1, Bulls 4 -- The Bulls touched up Surkamp, who had been cruising, for four runs in the inning thanks to home runs by Eddy Rodriguez and Jerry Sands.

Rodriguez sent his first pitch of the inning 340 feet into the picnic tables in left field to tie the game at one. Surkamp then came unraveled a bit and was unable to handle a ball back to the mound off the bat of Robby Price. following a walk to Olmedo, Figueroa sacrificed the runners to second and third with one out.

Surkamp recovered to strikeout Christian for the second out of the inning, but then allowed Sands' third home run of the season. Belnome ended the inning by popping out to Davidson.

Bottom 2nd: Knights 1, Bulls 0 -- The Knights put runners on the corners with two outs thanks to hits by Alex Liddi and Saladino, but failed to score.

Following a leadoff single by Liddi, Romero retired Dan Black on a fly to right and Jared Mitchell via strikeout. Saladino followed with a single to right, but a Tekotte groundout to second ended the threat. Tekotte dropped to just 2 for 11 against southpaws this season.

Top 2nd: Knights 1, Bulls 0 -- Surkamp began the inning by getting Jerry Sands to ground out to Matt Davidson at third. Vince Belnome then became the lefty's third strikeout victim of the night. However, Mikie Mahtook (who went 5-for-5 in last night's 6-0 Bulls' win) continued to be a thorn in the side of the Knights by doubling down the line. The Bulls stranded him at second when Kevin Kiermaier bounced back to Surkamp.

Bottom 1st: Knights 1, Bulls 0 -- The Knights made Bulls' starter Enny Romero pay for a leadoff walk to Tyler Saladino, whom Charlotte manager Joel Skinner likes to have leadoff against lefthanders, thanks to a two-out RBI single to left by Dennis Phipps.

Following Saladino's walk, Romero caught Blake Tekotte looking at strike three. A single to left by Josh Phegley put runners on first and second with out out for Matt Davidson, but the White Sox No. 4 prospect, according to Baseball America, flied to right. Dennis Phipps followed with a sharply hit single to left the bring in the run. Andy Wilkins then bounced out to first to end the inning, stranding two Knights base runners.

Top 1st: Knights 0, Bulls 0 -- It took Knights starter Eric Surkamp just 13 pitches to retire the Bulls in order. After Ray Olmedo bounced back to the mound, Charlotte's southpaw struck out both Cole Figueroa and Justin Christian.  


Knights (6-6)

Tyler Saladino 2B
Blake Tekotte CF
Josh Phegley C
Matt Davidson 3B
Denis Phipps RF
Andy Wilkins 1B
Alex Liddi SS
Dan Black DH
Jared Mitchell LF
Pitching: LHP Eric Surkamp (0-1 3.60)

Bulls (9-3)

Ray Olmedo 3B
Cole Figueroa SS
Justin Christian LF
Jerry Sands DH
Vince Belnome 1B
Mikie Mahtook RF
Kevin Kiermaier CF
Eddy Rodriguez C
Robby Price 2B
Pitching: LHP Enny Romero (1-1, 3.72)

Game time: 7:05 p.m. (For the hourly weather report, click here)

TV/Radio: MiLB.TV / ESPN 730 

Stat of the Day: Knights No. 3 batters have just two RBIs through 12 games this season.

Notes: Knights' second baseman Carlos Sanchez isn't in the lineup to begin today's game. It's just a day off for Sanchez, who has played in all 12 games this season and is hitting .208. ... Bulls starter Enny Romero was scheduled to pitch yesterday's game, but was scratched late when word reached Durham that he might be needed in Tampa Bay. His last start was a six inning, one run, eight strikeout performance against Charlotte on April 9.  ... Knights LHP David Purcey tossed three scoreless innings in relief on Monday. He now has a 0.90 ERA in 10.0 IP this season. ... Tonight's Knights starter, Eric Surkamp, allowed five runs over four innings of work in a 5-4 loss to the Bulls in Durham on April 10. ... The Bulls have won six games in a row and four of five against the Knights this season. ... All Knights players are wearing No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson.

Knights Walkup Song of the Day: Josh Phegley -- Electric Feel, by MGMT.