Asche’s walk-off in bottom of ninth caps off Knights rally

Last night at BB&T Ballpark, the Charlotte Knights and Columbus Clippers would battle back and fourth in the latter stages of their game, but it would all come down to the final inning of action, as the Knights were trailing by just one run, and Cody Asche would be the hero for Charlotte, as his game-winning RBI single would give the Knights a 7-6 win over the Clippers in game 3 of their four game series, as the Knights would snap their losing skid and improve to 32-44, while Columbus fell to 41-35.

The first two innings were scoreless for the Knights and Clippers, until the top half of the Clippers third inning, when Michael Martinez got it going with a single off Knights starter Chris Volstad, and second baseman Josh Wilson would move Martinez up to third with a double, and Abraham Almonte would draw a walk to load up the bases.  Then one batter later, Tyler Naquin would bring in Martinez to put Columbus up 1-0, and Yandy Diaz got in on the act with a RBI ground out to bring in Wilson to make it a 2-0 game, and while Giovanny Urshela was at the plate, Almonte would score on a wild pitch to give the Clippers a 3-0 lead.

In the bottom half of the Knights fourth inning, Grant Green would lead off the inning with a double, and after a ground out by Asche, Jason Bourgeois would lace an RBI single, allowing Green to put the Knights on the board to make it a 3-1 game, and one inning later, Yoan Moncada, who was named to the International League’s All-Star team today, would launch his 10th home run of the season off Clippers starter Chris Narveson to cut the lead to 3-2, and that would set the stage for a three-run sixth inning for Charlotte in their bottom half.

The three-run sixth started with Grant Green’s first home run in a Knights uniform off Columbus relief pitcher Carlos Frias to tie it at 3-3, then Asche would draw a walk, then Jason Bourgeois would reach first on an fielders choice out.  Two batter later, Ronald Bueno would deliver an RBI double to center field, and the Clippers outfield didn’t know where the ball was, but it dropped behind Naquin, allowing Bourgeois to score to give the Knights a 4-3 edge, and Moncada came up again with an RBI double to right for his second RBI of the night, giving him 29 on the season, to increase the Knights lead to 5-3, capping off a three-run rally.

It would remain 5-3 until the top half of the ninth, as Salisbury native Bobby Parnell, who was on to get the save after coming in the top of the eighth, while Columbus was out for a comeback.  It began with a double by Ronny Rodriguez, who came in as a defensive sub in the 8th, and that would be followed up one batter later with a RBI single by Naquin to make it a 5-4 game. Diaz was next up and he moved Naquin over to third with a base hit to right, and Urshela would load up the bases on an infield hit back to Parnell. With the bases being loaded, Erik Kratz stepped into the batters box and he would deliver a game-tying sacrifice fly to bring Naquin home, making it 5-5, and Chris Colabello would be the next batter, and his RBI single gave the Clippers the lead right back, as it was now 6-5 heading into the bottom of the ninth.

Kyle Crockett was coming in to close it out for the Clippers in the bottom of the ninth, and he got the first two batters out, before the Knights would put together yet another rally.  Danny Hayes would start it with a base hit to right, and he was lifted for Everth Cabrera, who came on to pinch-run for Hayes.  Then Grant Green would continue his solid night with a game-tying RBI double to right, giving Cabrera plenty of time to score all the way from first to tie it up at 6-6, setting the stage for a dramatic finish with Asche at the plate, and he would be the guy to end it, with a line drive RBI single over the head of Rodriguez, as Green would score the winning run for Charlotte to cap off another come-from-behind victory for the Knights, as they would defeat the Clippers 7-6 before 8,040 at BB&T Ballpark.

The two teams will wrap up the four-game series tonight at 7:05 p.m. inside BB&T Ballpark, as the Knights will send Reynaldo López(5-4, 4.48 ERA) to the hill for his 15th start of the season, while left-hander Ryan Merritt(6-5, 3.68 ERA), will get the nod for the Clippers.