Shields’ 6 strikeouts not enough for Knights in loss to Louisville

After a rain delay of 1:37 minutes at the start of tonight’s home game at BB&T Ballpark, the Charlotte Knights were hoping to get a strong outing from right-handed pitcher James Shields in the first of their three-game set against the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, the Louisville Bats, and despite being on the short end of the scoreboard, losing the opener by the final score of 5-2, Shields did had a strong performance in his third rehab stint with Charlotte, as he would take the loss, going to 0-3 on his rehab assignment after being sent down from their parent club, the Chicago White Sox, but he did manage to keep his team in the game going 5 innings, while allowing just 2 runs on 6 hits, while striking out 6 and walking just three batters.

Louisville would score the game’s first run back in the opening inning, as Darnell Sweeney would get on with a triple down the right field line off Shields, then two batters later, Bats right fielder Sebastian Elizade would hit a bloop single to right to bring home Sweeney to give Louisville an early 1-0 advantage.  In the second inning of action, the Bats would get its second run of the night, as Phillip Ervin would reach first via a base on balls, then he would steal second base during Zach Vincej’s at bat.  After Vincej struck out, Louisville’s lead-off hitter Hernan Iribarren would notch a base hit to center field to allow Ervin to score from second to give the Bats a 2-0 edge.

Charlotte would finally get on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the inning, as Cody Asche led off the inning with a double, then after Ronald Bueno was struck out by Louisville starter Jackson Stephens(W, 4-4) and Jason Bourgeois popped out to Vincej, Knights catcher Roberto Pena would hit a line drive double to the gap in right-center field to bring home Asche to cut the Bats lead to a 2-1 game.

In the eighth inning, Louisville would get two runs on a RBI single by Vincej to allow Ervin and Beau Amaral to score respectively to get the lead back up to a 3-run lead at 4-1, before adding on an insurance run in the 9th inning on Brandon Dixon’s RBI double, as Elizade would reach home to make it a 5-1 ballgame, before the Knights would get a late home run by shortstop Everth Cabrera, which was his first home run of the season to make it 5-2, as Kevin Shackelford, who was on in an non-save situation, would get the final three outs after giving up the home run by Cabrera, to preserve the win for the Bats, who improved their record on the year to 26-37, while the Knights fall to 27-36 on the year.

Charlotte and Louisville will continue their 3-game series tomorrow night at BB&T Ballpark at 7:05 p.m., as Reynaldo López(5-3, 3.82 ERA) will be on the hill for the Charlotte Knights, while the Bats will send out left-handed pitcher Cody Reed(2-4, 2.56 ERA) to start for Louisville.

NOTES: The Knights held its “Women in Baseball Night” during tonight’s game, as they paid tribute to three women that had a significant impact on baseball in the Charlotte region, as Jean Faut, who was a starting pitcher in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League from 1946-1953; Fort Mill, South Carolina native Anna Kimbrell, who made history as the first female to play high school and American Legion baseball in the State of South Carolina, and a former Knights grounds crew member for nine seasons, and Frances Crockett, the former General Manager of the Charlotte O’s from 1976-1987, were all honored in a pregame ceremony prior to the game… Carlos Rodon, a former star pitcher at N.C. State University, is currently rehabbing with the Knights and is scheduled to get the start on Friday, when the Knights take on the Indianapolis Indians(Pittsburgh Pirates).