Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Final: Charlotte Knights 4, Durham Bulls 8

By Seth Lakso, Charlotte Observer Correspondent

Final: Knights 4, Bulls 8 --
 Tyler Saladino capped off an impressive night at the plate with his second home run. He finished the game 3 for 4 with all four Knights' RBIs. Charlotte has now dropped eight in a row.

See you guys tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Top 9th: Knights 3, Bulls 8 -- Mitchell Boggs, whose ERA now sits at 12.10, was touched up for two more runs.

Bottom 8th: Knights 3, Bulls 6 -- Brad Boxberger sent the Knights down one-two-three.

Top 8th: Knights 3, Bulls 6 -- As quick as Tyler Saladino's two-run shot gave got the Knights to within a run, Mitchell Boggs managed to give the runs back. He began the inning by hitting Vince Belnome and then allowed back-to-back RBI doubles, the first of which threw up chalk when it landed just fair down the right field line.

Bottom 7th: Knights 3, Bulls 4 -- The Knights were happy to see Merrill Kelly go. They greeted Geitz with back-to-back hits, the second of which was a two-run shot to left by Tyler Saladino, who now has all three of Charlotte's RBIs tonight. Geitz then recovered to strikeout the side.

After two hitless innings of work, LHP David Purcey (three Ks, one BB) looks to be done for the night.

Top 7th: Knights 1, Bulls 4 -- Another strong inning for David Purcey, who sent the Bulls down one-two-three.

That's the nights for Merrill Kelly: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K (91 pitches). RHP Steve Geitz on to pitch for Durham.

Bottom 6th: Knights 1, Bulls 4 -- Nothing doing for Charlotte. Matt Davidson (0 for 3), Andy Wilkins  (0 for 3) and Dan Black (2 for 3) went down in order.

Top 6th: Knights 1, Bulls 4 -- A nice inning for David Purcey, who struck out two.

Bottom 5th: Knights 1, Bulls 4 -- Carlos Sanchez (1 for 2) singled with two outs, but was stranded at first. Jared Mitchell began the inning with a strikeout. He has now fanned 23 times in 41at bats this season (56 percent of the time). He works counts well, but seems to lack any kind of plan with two-strikes.

That's also the night for Axelrod: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP (98 pitches). LHP David Purcey is now on the mound.

Top 5th: Knights 1, Bulls 4 -- Axelrod worked around another miscue behind him when Blake Tekotte played a Wilson Betemit single into a leadoff double.

Bottom 4th: Knights 1, Bulls 4 -- The Knights had some fun with two outs. Dan Black (2 for 2) hit a line drive off Merrill Kelly for a single and advanced to second on a single by Blake Tekotte. Tyler Saladino then knocked in Black with a single down the right field line, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double to end the inning.

Top 4th: Knights 0, Bulls 4 -- Knights defense didn't do Axelrod any favors. With one out, Matt Davidson couldn't handle a ball off the bat of Mikie Mahtook cleanly. Following a single and a pop out, Dan Black misplayed a goundball to first and allowed Mahtook to put the Bulls up four.

Bottom 3rd: Knights 0, Bulls 3 -- Following a one-out double to left by Gorkys Hernanded (2 for 2), the Knights fell to 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position when Carlos Sanchez lined out to right and Hector Gimenez Kd for the second time in two ABs.

Fun note: The Bulls are 12-0 this season when scoring first.

Top 3rd: Knights 0, Bulls 3 -- Axelrod got Mike Fontenot to pop to second and then came apart. The trouble began when he plunked the light-hitting Eddy Rodriguez (.115). Kevin Kiermaier then laced a double to right and Justin Christian followed with a three-run shot off the Piedmont Natural Gas awning in left.

Axe then walked Cole Figueroa, prompting a trip to the mound by Knights pitching coach Richard Dotson. Two pitches later, Hector Gimenez helped out his battery mate by picking off Figueroa. Following a walk to Wilson Betemit, Jerry Sands grounded out to second to end the inning.

Axelrod has now thrown 58 pitches (31 strikes).

Bottom 2nd: Knights 0, Bulls 0 -- Merrill Kelly worked around a one-out single by Dan Black to keep the Knights off the scoreboard. Kelly now has four K's through two innings. He's thrown 34 pitches.

Top 2nd: Knights 0, Bulls 0 --  Three up and three down for Axelrod, who struck out Mikie Mahtook to end the inning.

Bottom 1st: Knights 0, Bulls 0 -- Gorkys Hernandez led off the inning with a single. Carlos Sanchez sacrificed him to second. Hector Gimenez (swinging) and Matt Davidson (looking) then both K'd.

Top 1st: Knights 0, Bulls 0 -- Dylan Axelrod worked around two hits in the inning thanks to a fine throw from right fielder Blake Takotte that cut down Justin Christian as he tried to go first-to-third on a single by Cole Figueroa.


Knights (6-12)
Gorkys Hernandez CF
Carlos Sanchez 2B
Hector Gimenez C
Matt Davidson 3B
Andy Wilkins 1B
Dan Black DH
Blake Tekotte RF
Tyler Saladino SS
Jared Mitchell LF
Pitching: RHP Dylan Axelrod (1-1, 4.50)

Bulls (14-5)
Kevin Kiermaier CF
Justin Christian LF
Cole Figueroa SS
Wilson Betemit 1B
Jerry Sands DH
Vince Belnome 3B
Mikie Mahtook RF
Mike Fontenot 2B
Eddy Rodriguez C
Pitching: RHP Merrill Kelly (3-0, 1.50)

Game time: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: MiLB.TV / ESPN 730

Stat of the Day: Through seven games, the Knights are averaging 9,568 fans (66,977 total). It took 20 games last season to get to 69,464.

Notes: This will be RHP Dylan Axelrod's fourth start of the season. He entered 2014 with the lowest ERA in Knights franchise history (2.58). After 16.0 IP this season, he now owns a 2.73 ERA. ... LHP Charlie Leesman, who was scheduled to start for the Knights on Wednesday, has been recalled to the Chicago White Sox. His roster spot has been filled by former Mets closer Frank Francisco, who will likely make his Knights debut on Wednesday. ... Charlotte is yet to announce a starter for Wednesday's game. As of right now, it appears that it will be a patchwork game by the bullpen, with several guys being counted on to throw multiple innings. ... With a win tonight the Knights would snap a season-high seven-game losing streak. They have not won a game since April 13. ... After hitting two doubles in Monday's loss to Gwinnett, Knights catcher Josh Phegley has been given the day off by Charlotte manager Joel Skinner. ... Bulls starter, Merrill Kelly (3-0) began the season in the bullpen, but transitioned into a starter when the need arose. This will be his third start of the season. The right-hander's first win of the season came against the Knights on April 7. ... The Knights have lost four straight games to the Bulls this season and five of six overall.    

Knights Walkup Song of the Day: Tyler Saladino Double Bubble Trouble, M.I.A.