Friday, June 20, 2014

Micah Johnson and Marcus Semien lead Knights to 3-2 win over Mud Hens

Charlotte fans got a glimpse into the potential future of the Chicago White Sox infield on Friday night when Marcus Semien knocked in Micah Johnson twice in a 3-2 Knights win over the Toledo Mud Hens.

Semien and Johnson finished the night a combined 2-for-7, but accounted for two thirds of the Knights runs, while the rest of the team combined to leave 10 runners on base in front of a sold out crowd of 10,410 at BB&T BallPark

Johnson -- who was Friday’s designated hitter, but normally plays second base -- led off the game with a single to center. He then stole second, took third on a sacrifice fly and came into score on a Semien fly to right.
In the third, the duo teamed up again to generate another run.

With Johnson on second base after reaching on a Mud Hens throwing error, Semien sent an RBI single up the middle to put the Knights up 2-0.
With Gordon Beckham’s contract up at the end of this season and White Sox starting shortstop Alexi Ramirez’s up at the end of the next (Chicago holds a team option for 2016), both Semien and Johnson look to be in line for permanent promotions.

Semien, 23, has already logged 17 games with Chicago this season and was sent back to Charlotte only when a roster crunch forced the team's hand. 

Johnson, 23, entered the season as the No. 5 prospect in the system and has hit .294 while splitting time between Class AA Birmingham and Class AAA Charlotte.

Matt Tuiasosopo added an RBI single in the sixth to give Charlotte starter Deunte Heath a bit of breathing room.

Heath, who got the nod after Tommy Hanson went down with a groin injury earlier in the week, allowed one run on five hits before being replaced by Matt Zaleski in the seventh.
A combination of Zaleski (two innings) and Taylor Thompson recorded the game’s final nine outs, while allowing one run. The save for Thompson was his third of the season.

The Knights will send left-hander Eric Surkamp to the mound for game two of their four-game series with the Mud Hens at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday. 

Notes: Asked if Taylor Thompson could be considered the Knights closer, Knights manager Joel Skinner said yes, but then backed off that stance a bit and said that while there is no "official closer," that the team likes to use Thompson in high pressure situations when it's his turn to pitch. "He's been throwing the ball well and deserves it," he said. ... Dan Black (rib strain) was able to swing a bat at 80 percent on Thursday and is "on course" according to Skinner. ... With Tommy Hanson (groin) and Charlie Leesman (left elbow inflammation) each on the disabled list, Skinner said that he expects to start Deunte Heath again in five days. He threw 79 pitches (51 strikes) tonight.