Thursday, May 8, 2014

Final: Lehigh Valley IronPigs 8, Charlotte Knights 6

Lehigh Valley did plenty to let Charlotte back into Thursday’s game at BB&T BallPark, walking seven Knights, committing three errors, and allowing two unearned runs.

But in the end, Thursday night’s 8-6 Knights loss in front of a sellout crowd of 10,285 became more about its missed opportunities than anything else.

The Knights left six men on base, finished 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position and hit into three double plays, all of which came off the bat of Dan Black.

Charlotte’s designated hitter ended the first, third and seventh innings with double plays, although the one in the seventh inning was more a result of poor base running by Josh Phegley than anything Black did.    

“You can always look back and say what if this, or what if that,” said Knights manager Joel Skinner, whose squad fell to 12-21 on the season after splitting the four-game series with the IronPigs (17-16). “There were some opportunities, but I think the important thing to look at is that we just need to keep on creating those opportunities.”

In his second rehab appearance with the Knights this season, Felipe Paulino was not sharp. The 30-year-old right-hander allowed seven runs on seven hits over three innings.

His fastball was consistently in the 93-94 mph range, but his control was clearly rusty – a fact IronPigs third baseman Reid Brignac took advantage of. Brignac went 2-for-2 off Paulino with two three-run home runs.

Following Paulino’s scheduled three innings of work, Eric Surkamp came on in relief. The left-hander did a nice job quieting Lehigh Valley, allowing just one run in the game’s final six innings, while striking out seven.

Andy Wilkins finished the night 3-for-5 with a three-run home run and four total runs batted in for the Knights, while Gorkys Hernandez went (2-for-5 2 2B) and Carlos Sanchez (1-for-3, 2 BB) each reached base three times.

“I feel good,” said Wilkins, whose home run made the score 8-6 in the fifth inning. “I’m just trying to stay with a consistent approach and help the team as much as I can. I haven’t been able to do that very much this season, so it felt nice to contribute tonight, just wish we could have gotten the win.”

Final: Knights 6, IronPigs 8 -- Surkamp tossed a scoreless ninth. He wound up going six innings and allowing one run on five hits. He struck out seven and threw 95 pitches. 

With two down, Carlos Sanchez worked a walk to bring Andy Wilkinson to the plate representing the tying run, but IronPigs LHP Cesar Jimenez struck out the big left-hander on a 3-2 pitch to end the game. 

End of 8th Knights 6, IronPigs 8 -- Tyson Gillie got hit to begin the inning and after two IronPigs bunts, was stranded on third when Surkamp got Tyler Hensont o ground out to third. 

Jeremy Horst, who entered the game in the seventh inning, got Denis Phipps to fly out and then two ground outs from Alex Liddi and Tyler Saladino. 

End of 7th: Knights 6, IronPigs 8 -- Surkamp continued to do his job, working around a leadoff single and a hit batter to post his third straight scoreless inning. 

The Knights ran themselves out of the seventh when, after walking with one down, Josh Phegely was doubled up off first on a fly out to right by Dan Black. Although not his fault, it was the third double play hit into by Black on the night. 

End of 6th: Knights 6, IronPigs 8 -- Surkamp sandwiched three K's around a one-out single. 

Charlotte continued to chip away thanks to some poor defense by the IronPigs. Alex Liddi walked to begin the inning, stole second, and then scored on a fielding error by Lehigh Valley 3B Reid Brignac. 

End of 5th: Knights 5, IronPigs 8 -- Surkamp struck out two in a scoreless inning of work.

Andy Wilkins' hot night continued with a three-run home run. Wilkins is now 3-for-3 with four RBIs. The Knights runs came off Phillippe Aumont, who came on in relief of Brad Lincoln. 

End of 4th: Knights 2, IronPigs 8 -- LHP Eric Surkamp came on for Paulino and allowed a run. Tyler Gillie led off the inning with a single, took second on a fielder's choice and then scored on a single by Tyler Henson. 

Phipps, Liddi and Saladino went down in order against Lincoln. 

End of 3rd: Knights 2, IronPigs 7 -- Brignac got to Paulino for his second three-run home run of the night. The IronPigs utility man has homered in his last three at bats. That's likely the night for Paulino.

Felipe Paulino's line: 3 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 3 BB, K, 2 HR (62 pitches / 33 strikes).

Gorkys Hernandez led off the inning with a double, stole third, and scored on Andy Wilkins' second single of the night. With one out and Knights base runners on first and second, Dan Black bounced into his second double play of the game. 

End of 2nd: Knights 1, IronPigs 4 -- Paulino allowed a one-out double to Tyson Gillies, who later came around to score on a single by Ronny Cedeno. Josh Phegley also threw out an attempted base-stealer in the inning. Phegley's arm has been impressive this season. He's thrown out 41 percent (11 of 27) of would-be base-stealers.  

Brad Lincoln K'd the side.

End of 1st: Knights 1, IronPigs 3 -- Felipe Paulino struggled with his fastball command and paid for it when Reid Brignac took him out of the yard for a three-run home run. His fastball was consistently between 93 and 94 mph. He threw 31 pitches in the inning. 

The Knights got a run back when Gorkys Hernandez scored on a throwing error by Ronny Cedeno. With one out and runners on the corners, Dan Black bounced into an inning-ending double play. 


Knights (12-20)
Gorkys Hernandez CF
Carlos Sanchez 2B
Andy Wilkins 1B
Josh Phegley C
Dan Black DH
Denis Phipps RF
Alex Liddi 3B
Tyler Saladino SS
Jared Mitchell LF
Pitching: RHP Felipe Paulino (0-0, 4.50 ERA)

IronPigs (16-16)
Clete Thomas LF
Tyler Henson RF
Maikel Franco 1B
Reid Brignac 3B
Koyie Hill C
Jim Murphy DH
Matt Tolbert 2B
Tyson Gillies CF
Ronny Cedeno SS
Pitching: RHP Brad Lincoln (1-1, 4.30 ERA)

Game time: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: CBS Sports Network / ESPN 730

Stat of the Day: The Knights are just 2-7 in the final game of a series this season.   

Notes: Today marks the second rehab start by Felipe Paulino. The 30-year-old pithed 2.0 innings on May 3. In that start he allowed five hits, two runs (one earned) and struck out one. It was his first appearance since landing on the White Sox disabled list with right rotator cuff inflammation on April 28. … LHP Eric Surkamp, who has started five games this season for the Knights, will be the first out of the bullpen with Paulino on a limited pitch count. In relief of Paulino on 5/3 Surkamp allowed two runs on five hits over six innings. Matt Davidson is out for the fifth consecutive game with a sore hand. … Jordan Danks, who was optioned to Charlotte by the White Sox on Wednesday is scheduled to report to the Knights on Friday. ... Knights 2B Carlos Sanchez has hit in 10 straight games and reached base safely in his last 23. 

Knights Walkup Song of the Day: Jordan Danks – God Bless Texas, by Little Texas