Monday, April 27, 2015

Jason Coats helps Knights walk off in his BB&T Ballpark debut

Jason Coats made his BB&T Ballpark debut a memorable one for the Charlotte Knights, cracking a two-out walk-off run-scoring single down the left-field line to secure his team a 7-6 10th-inning win over the Toledo Mud Hens on Monday in front of 7,089.

The run was the second of the inning for Charlotte, which had tied the game two batters earlier when Trayce Thompson tripled home Jared Mitchell off Toledo right-hander Melvin Mercedes (0-1).

The Knights (11-6) entered the ninth inning trailing by a run before Dan Black tied the game with a towering leadoff home run to force the extra frame.

Toledo (8-9) rallied to score a run on a two-out Daniel Fields’ RBI-single off Jarrett Casey (2-0) in the following inning to set the stage for Coats (3 for 5, 3 RBI), who joined the Knights on April 23 from the Birmingham Barons, where he was hitting .340 over 12 games.

The Mud Hens touched up Knights’ starter and White Sox No. 11 overall prospect Chris Beck for the game’s first five runs over the first four innings.

Coats got the Charlotte comeback started when he knocked in two runs with a bases-loaded single in the fourth inning.

Leury Garcia made it a 5-4 game in the seventh inning with a two-run single of his own that marked the end of the night for Mud Hens’ starter Kyle Ryan.

Monday marked the second time in as many games that the Knights rallied back to steal a game late. On Sunday, a Kevan Smith home run in the ninth inning was the difference in the team's 4-3 win at Norfolk. 

The Knights are now hitting an International-League best .276 as a team. 

"I was trying to look for something up in the zone and (Mercedes) got me off balance a bit with the slider, but I was able to get enough (of the) barrel on it to sneak it by their third baseman.” - Knights LF Jason Coats on his game-winning hit.

Worth mentioning
Eric Surkamp made his first appearance with the Knights since clearing waivers and pitched like a man with something to prove, striking out four over 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief.  ... With his 1-for-2, 3BB performance on Monday night, Charlotte first baseman Dan Black has now reached base in 16-straight games (dating back to last season). ... Carlos Sanchez (0 for 5) struck out to lead off the 10th inning to put an end to his league-best 14-game hitting streak. ... Beck turned in a strange final line. The right-hander allowed a season-worst nine hits, but also struck out a season-high seven over 4 2/3 innings of work. … The win was the Knights’ third in a row. Their 11-6 start to the season is their best through 17 games since they came out of the shoot 12-5 in 2006. … Violent protests over the death of Freddie Gray caused the postponement of the White Sox (the parent club of the Knights) – Orioles game in Baltimore on Monday.

What's next?
The Knights and Mud Hens will play Game 2 of their three-game series at BB&T Ballpark on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. Veteran righthander Brad Penny (1-1, 8.68) will make his return from the disabled list and take the ball for the Knights across from Tim Melville (0-2, 5.28).