Coming off a four-game split against the Durham Bulls, the Charlotte Knights welcomed in the Norfolk Tides to BB&T Ballpark for the first game of a three-game series, as they were looking for their third win in a row, but it wasn’t the way it would go planned, as a late error in the top half of the eighth, and L.J. Hoes’ clutch 2-run home run in the top half of the inning would be the difference for Norfolk, as they came back to defeat the Knights 3-2.
There was indeed a bright spot for Charlotte in tonight’s loss, as Chris Volstad would toe the rubber for Charlotte, and he was lights out despite not getting the decision in the game, as he allowed just four hits in his seven innings of work, while striking out three batters in his start for the Knights.
In the bottom half of the second inning, the Knights would jump on the scoreboard first, as Travis Ishikawa would get on board with a double off of Tides starter Odrisamer Despaigne. Jason Coats would be the next man up for Charlotte, and he would drive in Ishikawa with a single to center field to give Charlotte an early 1-0 edge.
A few innings later, the Knights would manufacture their second run of the night the hard way. After Matt Davidson was struck out looking, Ishikawa would draw a walk to first base, then Coats would come up to the plate, and move him up to second base. One batter later, Knights catcher Hector Sanchez would draw a walk of his own to load up the bases, setting the table for Danny Hayes to come up to the plate, and he would walk in Ishikawa to give the Knights a 2-0 lead.
Things would get very interesting in the bottom half of the fifth inning for the Knights. Tim Anderson would get on with a single, then with Carlos Sanchez batting, Despaigne was called for a balk, allowing Anderson to move up to second, and a few moments later, he was caught stealing, as Tides catcher Francisco Pena would fire a laser beam to third baseman Michael Almanzar, and many of the 6,791 thought he was safe, but third base umpire Jonathan Bailey ruled him out, and that would make Knights manager Julio Vinas very mad, and he would be ejected by Bailey, as the Tides somewhat caught a break, but Charlotte still led the game 2-0.
It would stay that way until the top half of the 8th, as the Knights would call upon Michael Ynoa to protect the lead, and after Pena popped out to Tim Anderson, Paul Janish was the next man up for the Tides, and he would manage to get a base hit to center field. Following a pop out to Carlos Sanchez from Almanzar, Xavier Henry came on as a pinch-hitter for Ozzie Martinez, and he would tie up the game on a infield hit to Ynoa, and on the play, Ynoa was charged with a throwing error to allow Janish to come in and score all the way from first base. Hoes was the next batter up for Norfolk, and with a 2-2 count with two out in the top of the 8th, Hoes would take Ynoa deep for a go-ahead 2-run home run to left center field to give the Tides a 3-2 lead, as the Tides bullpen would shut down the Knights in the final few innings of the game to take game 1 of the three-game series by the final score of 3-2.
Game two of the series between Norfolk and Charlotte will be tomorrow night at BB&T Ballpark with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch. The Knights have yet to announce a starter for tomorrow night’s game, while Norfolk will have Nick Additon(0-1; 2.70) on the hill to get the start for the Tides.