As the season comes down the stretch, the Charlotte Knights know that every one of their remaining games is important if they want to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot, and tonight in Norfolk, the Knights would strike with a 3-run 4th inning, which would turn out to be the difference maker as the Knights would hold off a late Norfolk Tides rally to come away with a 3-1 win over the Tides, improving to 72-65 on the year and finding themselves only 3.5 back of Norfolk for the top spot in the International League’s South Division, while remaining 6 back of Columbus for the league’s Wild Card spot.
Both teams would not score a run through the first three innings of action, as the starters for both teams, Hector Noesi for Charlotte and Chris Jones for Norfolk would lock up in a pitcher’s duel through the first three innings. Then in the 4th inning of action, the Knights would jump on the board first as Dayan Viciedo would send the first pitch of the top half of the 4th inning over the left-field fence to put the Knights on top with an early 1-0 lead, but Charlotte was looking for some more runs in the 4th, and they would do just that, as Matt Davidson would reach 2nd with a double, and after Matt Tuiasosopo would line out, Charlotte catcher Kevan Smith was next to follow, and on an 1-1 count, Smith would launch his 6th homer of the year, a 2-run shot off of Jones(L, 8-7), which would turn out to be the eventual game-winner for Charlotte, giving the Knights a 3-0 lead.
Noesi had a good outing for the Knights, which was good enough for him to get his 3rd win of the season, as he pitched 7 solid innings, while allowing just one run on 2 hits, with that lone run coming on a home run by Tides catcher Audry Perez in the bottom half of the inning to cut the deficit to 3-1 and striking out 7 Norfolk batters.
Charlotte’s bullpen would pick up where Noesi left off, as Junior Guerra would pitch a scoreless 8th, and Zach Phillips would close the door for his 12th save of the season, as the Knights defeated Norfolk by a 3-2 margin. The Knights will wrap up the 5-game road trip tomorrow night, as they send Kyle Drabek(7-9, 3.55 ERA) to the hill for Charlotte against Norfolk’s Mike Wright(8-1, 2.40 ERA). The Knights will return home to BB&T Ballpark to play their final 3 games of the season starting on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. as they welcome in the Durham Bulls for the first of 3 games to wrap up the home portion of the schedule.