Thursday, April 30, 2015

Back-to-back home runs by Soto and Davidson lead Knights to walk-off win

The Charlotte Knights used back-to-back home runs by Neftali Soto and Matt Davidson to begin the bottom of the ninth inning to earn a 8-7 walk-off win over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in the opening game of a four-game series in front of 9,089 at BB&T Ballpark on Thursday.

Soto stepped to the plate to lead off the ninth against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre left-hander Tyler Webb (0-2) and sent a 2-1 fastball rocketing into the left-field bleachers to tie the game at 7.

Two pitches later, Davidson stayed back on a curveball and launched his team-leading fifth home run of the season and was subsequently mobbed at the plate by his teammates. 

Davidson's long ball came to rest just a few rows back of Soto’s. 

After falling behind 6-0 in Kyle Drabek’s BB&T Ballpark debut, the Knights (13-7) rallied for three runs in the fourth inning, two more in the fifth, and then tied the game at 6-6 in the seventh on a double off the bat of Dan Black that brought home Trayce Thompson, who had tripled earlier in the frame.

The RailRiders (10-12) pushed home the go-ahead run on a single up the middle in the top of the ninth inning off Eric Surkamp (2-0). On the play, Cole Figueroa used a nice slide to avoid Kevan Smith's attempted tag at the plate. 

The walk-off win was the Knights’ second in four games. 

“We’re just pretty explosive. Everyone’s contributing. It’s not like it’s just one part of the lineup that’s getting all the runs. Everyone in this lineup has experience and is a good hitter, so we’re pretty lethal top to bottom.” – Knights’ third baseman Matt Davidson, when asked how the Knights have been able to stay in almost every game this season.

Worth mentioning
With two more hits on Thursday, Charlotte Knights’ designated hitter Dan Black has now reached base in 19-straight games (dating back to last season). Black has also hit in 11-straight contests. He entered Thursday leading the International League in on-base percentage (.471) and slugging percentage (.714). ... White Sox reliever Javy Guerra tossed a scoreless seventh inning with one walk and one strikeout in his second MLB rehab appearance with the Knights. … With his 2-for-4 performance on Thursday night, Charlotte second baseman Carlos Sanchez (268) is now just one hit shy of 10th place all-time on the Knights’ hits list (Lou Lucca has 269). Despite playing with the White Sox for the first week of the season, Sanchez’ 26 hits are tied for the third-most in the IL. ... The Knights improved to 4-4 this season when trailing after five innings. ... Friday’s game will be the first of the season where pitchers (with a called ball) and batters (with a called strike) will be penalized for pitch timer violations.

What's next?
The Knights will play the second game of their four-game series with the RailRiders at BB&T Ballpark on Friday at 7:05 p.m. RHP Shawn Haviland (0-1, 3.45) will take the mound for the Knights across from LHP Matt Tracy (0-0, 6.00).