Knights Knotes — April 25, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: knights knotesThe first place Charlotte Knights will look to win their second game in-a-row and third of the road trip as they face the Norfolk Tides tonight at Harbor Park in Norfolk, VA for game two of the three-game set. Three strong pitching performances (Drabek, Cleto, and Leon) and timely hitting led the Charlotte Knights to a 4-1 win over the Tides in game one last night. With Charlotte’s win last night, the Knights moved into first place in the IL South Division and are now 0.5 games ahead of the Tides. Norfolk began the day 0.5 games ahead of the Knights. Both Norfolk and Charlotte are 6-4 over their last 10 games. Charlotte is 3-2 against Norfolk this year.

KNIGHTS STARTER: Charlotte RHP Shawn Haviland (0-1, 2.79) will make his third start of the 2015 season today in game two of the three-game series from Norfolk. Haviland has faced Durham in both of his starts so far this season. His first start – back on April 13 – was his first start in the International League and it was his first at the Triple-A level since June 20, 2010 as a member of Triple-A Sacramento (Oakland). On April 13, Haviland allowed just two hits over five scoreless innings but did not factor in the decision. He walked one and fanned four. His last Triple-A start before that – back on June 20, 2010 — Haviland started against Salt Lake and allowed five runs (two earned) on six hits over 3.1 IP. (Also of note, Haviland’s teammates in that game were former Knights Dallas McPherson, Michael Taylor, and Steve Tolleson. Coco Crisp played CF). In seven professional seasons, Haviland owns a 37-50 mark with a 4.66 ERA in 797.0 innings pitched. His nine wins in 2010 with the Stockton Ports (9-6, 3.65) are a season best. Haviland, 29, is a native of Middletown, Connecticut and was signed by Chicago as a free agent on January 12, 2015.

WELCOME BACK TO CHARLOTTE: Charlotte 49ers standout Tyler Barnette, a native of Hickory, NC, has been promoted to the Charlotte Knights today from Single-A Winston-Salem. Barnette, 22, appeared in three games with the Dash this season and did not allow an earned run in four innings pitched. Drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 14th round of the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft, Barnette appeared in three games for the Knights last season and posted a 0-0 mark with a 9.53 ERA (5.2 IP, 10 H, 11 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO). In three seasons for the nearby Charlotte 49ers, Barnette compiled an 18-8 record with a 3.37 ERA (235.0 IP). In 2011, Barnette was named Atlantic-10 Freshman of the Year after tying for second in the Atlantic 10 with nine wins and finishing third with a 2.29 ERA after 90.1 innings pitched. In 2012, he was named to the Preseason All-Conference Second Team by College Madness.com.

THE HITS KEEP ON COMING: Carlos Sanchez, the reigning IL Player of the Week for the period of April 13-19, hit safely in his 12th game of the season and 13th-straight overall yesterday (dating back to August 20, 2014). His 13-game hit-streak is the longest current streak in the IL this season. Sanchez, who began the season in Chicago with the White Sox, hit an RBI single in his final at-bat of the game yesterday to extend his streak to another game. He is now hitting .382 in 12 games this season with the Knights and is currently second in the IL in hits (21). Last week, he appeared in six games for the Knights and hit a stunning .536 (15-for-28) with six runs scored, four doubles, six RBIs, and one stolen base on his way to claiming IL Player of the Week.

ON-BASE: 1B/DH Dan Black launched his third home run of the season last night in the seventh inning of the 4-1 victory. Black and Davidson are now tied for the team lead in home runs. Black’s homer had even more meaning as he has now reached base in all nine games he’s played in this season and has a hit in his last six. Dating back to last season (July 28, 2014), Black has reached base in 14-straight games. He is now hitting .323 (10-for-31) with three home runs and seven RBIs this year. During his 14-game on-base streak, Black is hitting .333 with three homers and 10 RBIs. Lehigh Valley’s Maikel Franco currently has a 17-gamer.

SCORELESS STREAK: RHP Maikel Cleto has started strong this season and he continued that on Friday and earned his first win of the season. Cleto, 25, tossed three shutout innings yesterday and has not allowed a run this season in five games (9.2 IP). Dating back to July 18, 2014 – Cleto has not allowed a run with the Knights over his last 10 games (17.1 IP). He has allowed just six hits and has fanned 23 batters over that span. He did not allow a run in his final three appearances with the Chicago last season either (9/20-26).

KNIGHTS DEBUT
: RHP Kyle Drabek made his Charlotte Knights debut last night and was sharp. Drabek, who began the season with the Chicago White Sox and appeared in three games, tossed four shutout inning for the Knights last night. He allowed just three hits and struck-out one. Drabek started 2015 on Toronto’s roster, but was put on waivers on March 27. The White Sox claimed him – thus adding him to their 25-man roster. On April 20, the White Sox designated him for assignment and two days later outrighted him to Charlotte.

TRAYCE AT THE PLATE: CF Trayce Thompson began the 2015 season red-hot. He hit safely in his first 10 games and had a .385 batting average over that span. His 10-game hit streak came to an end on Monday after he went 0-for-4 on the evening. Last night, Thompson had a solid game at the plate – ripping three hits in four at-bats. He scored two runs and also doubled. Through 15 games during his first full season at the Triple-A level, Thompson is hitting .333 (19-for-57). So far this year, both Thompson and Carlos Sanchez have started the season with hit streaks of 10 or more. Last season, the Knights saw five different players accumulate hit streaks of 10 games or more, including catcher Josh Phegley, who hit in a team-high 17-straight games from June 30-July 24.

KNIGHTS VS. TIDES 2015: CF Trayce Thompson is hitting .421 (8-for-19) in five games against the Tides this season. Slugger Dan Black is hitting .500 (5-for-10) with two of his three home runs. Catcher Kevan Smith is hitting .308 (4-for-13) in four games. Now on the DL, Tyler Saladino hit .462 (6-for-13) in three games against the Tides earlier this year. As a team, the Knights are hitting .278 against the Tides over five games with four home runs and 21 RBIs.

Knights Knotes — April 23, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights and Durham Bulls will conclude their four-game series tonight from Durham Bulls Athletic Park at 7:05 p.m. The Knights will look for the series split tonight with a win. Charlotte has not lost a series yet this season. Tonight’s finale will conclude their fifth series of the young season. The Knights enter today’s game in first place, 0.5 games ahead of Norfolk, who lost last night 3-2. knights knotes

LAST KNIGHTS GAME: Charlotte third baseman Matt Davidson launched his team-high third home run of the season in the top of the ninth inning on Wednesday night to break a 2-2 tie in Durham and give the Knights a 3-2 win. Although he didn’t factor in the decision, Charlotte starter Scott Carroll was solid over 5.2 IP (4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO). RHP Jairo Asencio notched his league-high fifth save of the season.

KNIGHTS STARTER: RHP Erik Johnson (2-0, 1.13) will make his second start of the 2015 season tonight as he toes the rubber for Charlotte in the finale against Durham. Johnson made his 2015 debut on April 13 in relief against the Bulls and earned the win after three scoreless innings out of the bullpen. He gave up just two hits while fanning three batters. The 25-year-old right-handed pitcher entered the 2014 season ranked by Baseball America as the 2nd best prospect in the White Sox system. He began last season with the White Sox and posted a 1-1 record with a 6.46 ERA in five starts. He was then optioned to Charlotte on April 26, 2014, where he 20 starts with the club and compiled a 5-7 record with a 6.73 ERA (105.2 IP). Johnson started 10 games for the Knights in 2013 and posted a 4-1 record with a 1.57 ERA over 57.1 IP. The Mountain View, California native averaged close to one strikeout per inning in 2013 totaling 57 Ks with the Knights. In 2013, pitching across two levels, Johnson ranked third among qualified minor league starters in WHIP (0.99), fifth in ERA (1.96), and sixth in opponents’ average (.197). Johnson vs. Durham (2014): He made one start and allowed two runs on four hits over four innings in a no-decision on August 1 at BB&T Ballpark. Johnson vs. Durham (2013): He went 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA in two starts vs. the Bulls (11.0 IP, 10 H, 1 R, SO).

EN FUEGO: Carlos Sanchez, the reigning IL Player of the Week for the period of April 13-19, hit safely in his 10th game of the season and 11th-straight overall yesterday (dating back to August 20, 2014). His streak is now the current longest in the IL. Sanchez, who began the season in Chicago with the White Sox, is now hitting an IL best .413 in 10 games this season. The 22-year-old infielder is currently tied for second in the IL in hits (19) and tied for second in doubles (5).

ROSTER MOVES: The Knights announced a number of roster moves – including RHP Kyle Drabek, who was outrighted by Chicago to the Knights yesterday. Drabek is not on Charlotte’s active roster at this time. Infielder Tyler Saladino was placed on the DL (retroactive to April 22). He was hitting .289 (13-for-45) with six runs scored, one double, one triple, seven RBIs and five stolen bases for the Knights in 11 games this season. Infielder Justin Jirschele was assigned to Double-A Birmingham today. He appeared in two games for the Knights this season and went 1-for-7 at the plate. The Knights received two players from Birmingham today, infielder Drew Garcia, who returns to the Knights after spending 2011-2013 with the team – and outfielder Jason Coats. Garcia was signed by the White Sox as a free agent on January 20, 2015 after spending the entire 2014 campaign with Triple-A Colorado Springs. He began the 2015 season with Double-A Birmingham and was hitting .500 (5-for-10) over five games. Garcia was originally selected by the White Sox in the 21st round of the 2008 draft. Coats was hitting .340 (16-for-47) with six runs scored, nine doubles and two RBIs for the Double-A Birmingham Barons at the time of today’s promotion to Charlotte. Coats, a Dallas, TX native, was originally drafted by the White Sox in the 29th round of the 2012 draft.BF3_0186

ON-BASE: With a hit in yesterday’s game, 1B/DH Dan Black has now reached base in all seven games he’s played in this season. Dating back to last season (July 28, 2014), Black has reached base in 12-straight games. He is now hitting .333 (8-for-24) with two home runs and six RBIs.

HR MATT: 3B Matt Davidson entered this season with 100 home runs under his belt at the Minor League level. He slugged 20 home runs last year in his first season in Chicago’s organization – all of them coming with the Knights as he spent the entire season with the team. Last night, Davidson’s solo ninth-inning home run proved to be the game-winner. It was his third overall of the season, which is the most on the team this season and tied for second overall in the IL behind SWB’s Ramon Flores (4).

SAVE THE LAST INNING FOR JAIRO: RHP Jairo Asencio notched his International League leading fifth save of the season on yesterday after a scoreless ninth inning for the Knights. In six games this season, Asencio is sporting a 2.57 ERA (7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 9 SO). Asencio led the IL in saves with 28 while he was a member of Norfolk in 2013. He also led the IL in saves during two stints with Gwinnett (27 in 2009 and 26 in 2011).

Knights Knotes — April 21, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: After coming off their shortest game of the season (2:14) in their previous outing (Saturday), and being rained out on Sunday, the Knights had their longest night of the season last night after a one-hour and 29-minute rain delay got things started. After the delay, the Knights and Bulls battled in a two-hour and 43-minute game. The two teams will have an early start today as the Knights and Bulls will play an 11:05 a.m. game. The Knights will host an 11:05 a.m. game at BB&T Ballpark on Wednesday, April 29 against Toledo. knights knotes

LAST KNIGHTS GAME: The Charlotte Knights (7-4) had their four-game winning streak snapped by their in-state rival Durham Bulls (5-7), falling 5-1 on Monday night. The Bulls pitching staff was able to keep the Knights offense – who had tallied at least five runs in seven of their first 10 games – to only one run on six hits; both season-lows. Durham starter Everett Teaford allowed one run on five hits over six innings for the win. With the loss, the Knights enter today’s game 0.5 games behind Norfolk for first place in the IL South.

KNIGHTS STARTER: RHP Chris Beck (0-0, 3.72), who is ranked as the number 11 prospect in the Chicago White Sox system by Baseball America, toes the rubber this morning for the Knights in his third start of the season. Beck, 24, last pitched for the Knights on April 15 in Gwinnett and was solid over five innings of one-run ball in a no-decision. In seven starts with the Knights last season, Beck posted a 1-3 record with a 4.05 ERA (33.1 IP, 36 H, 16 R, 15 ER, 13 BB, 28 SO). He began the 2014 campaign with the Double-A Birmingham Barons and posted a 5-8 mark with a 3.39 ERA in 20 starts before a promotion to Charlotte on June 26. He started his first career Triple-A game on June 26 against Louisville and was saddled with the loss after allowing five runs on five hits over 4.2 innings pitched. He was sent back to Birmingham the next day. He was promoted back to Charlotte on July 28. He went a combined 6-11 with a 3.54 ERA in 27 starts between both stops. He ranked among the White Sox minor leaguers in shutouts (T-1st), ERA (4th) and IP (4th). He entered the 2014 season ranked by Baseball America as the number nine prospect in Chicago’s system and as possessing the Best Changeup in the organization. Beck was selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2012 draft out of Georgia Southern University.

BATTING AVERAGE LEADER: Speaking of hit-streaks, Carlos Sanchez continued his impressive 2015 season last night. Sanchez, who was named as the IL Player of the Week for the period of April 13-19, earlier in the day, hit safely in his eighth game of the season and ninth-straight overall dating back to August 20, 2014. Sanchez, who began the season in Chicago with the White Sox, went 1-for-4 with an RBI last night and is now hitting .439 over his nine-game hit-streak. He is hitting an IL best .459 in eight games this season. Last week, he appeared in six games for the Knights and hit a stunning .536 (15-for-28) with six runs scored, four doubles, six RBIs, and one stolen base. The 22-year-old infielder is currently tied for first overall in the IL in hits (17) and ranked third in on-base percentage (.474).

THRICE IS NICE: 3B Matt Davidson had three of Charlotte’s six hits last night, finishing 3-for-4 on the evening. It was his first three-hit game since August 11, 2014 at Syracuse. He had six three-hit games last season. Davidson has hit safely in seven of his 10 games this year and has an RBI in five of his 10 games.

10-GAMERS: CF Trayce Thompson’s 10-game hit streak came to an end last night after he went 0-for-4 on the evening. Thompson entered play last night as the only IL player this season to hit safely in all 10 games played in. Teammate Tyler Saladino had a 10-game hit streak that was snapped back on April 11, 2015. He started that streak back on July 4, 2014. Last season, the Knights saw five different players accumulate hit streaks of 10 games or more, including catcher Josh Phegley, who hit in a team-high 17-straight games from June 30-July 24.

Knights Knotes — April 20, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights and Gwinnett Braves were postponed Sunday thus ending their series at just two games – which the Knights swept. The Knights enter tonight’s game with Durham having won their last four games – all against the G-Braves. It’s Charlotte’s longest win-streak since a four-game sweep of the Norfolk Tides last season from August 22 to August 25. Charlotte enters today’s game with a 1-1 mark against the Bulls so far this season.knights knotes

THE LAST KNIGHTS GAME: A sell-out crowd of 10,527 fans filled BB&T Ballpark to watch the Charlotte Knights (7-3) claim sole possession of first place in the International League South Division with a 6-2 victory – the team’s fourth consecutive win over the Gwinnett Braves (3-7) on Saturday. The crowd was the largest at BB&T Ballpark during the 2015 regular season and it was the club’s fourth sell-out of the year. Matt Davidson put the Knights on the scoreboard last night with a two-run home run in the first inning off former Knights teammate Chien-Ming Wang.

KNIGHTS STARTER: Charlotte RHP Shawn Haviland (0-0, 0.00) will make his second start of the 2015 season today in the opening game of a four-game series with the Durham Bulls from the DBAP tonight. His last start – back on April 13 – was his first start in the International League and it was his first at the Triple-A level since June 20, 2010 as a member of Triple-A Sacramento (Oakland). On April 13, Haviland allowed just two hits over five scoreless innings but did not factor in the decision. He walked one and fanned four. His last Triple-A start before that – back on June 20, 2010 — Haviland started against Salt Lake and allowed five runs (two earned) on six hits over 3.1 IP. (Also of note, Haviland’s teammates in that game were former Knights Dallas McPherson, Michael Taylor, and Steve Tolleson. Coco Crisp played CF). In six professional seasons, Haviland owns a 37-49 mark with a 4.69 ERA in 787.2 innings pitched. His nine wins in 2010 with the Stockton Ports (9-6, 3.65) are a season best. Haviland, 29, is a native of Middletown, Connecticut and was signed by Chicago as a free agent on January 12, 2015.

RODON PROMOTED, PETRICKA ACTIVATED BY SOX: Charlotte LHP Carlos Rodon, who entered the season ranked by Baseball America as the top prospect in Chicago’s system, had his contract purchased by the Chicago White Sox today. Rodon posted a 1-0 record with a 3.60 ERA in two starts for the Charlotte Knights this season. The 22-yeqar-old notched his first professional win earlier this year (April 11) in a solid outing for the Charlotte Knights at BB&T Ballpark against the Norfolk Tides. On that day, the hard-throwing left-hander allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits over five innings. He fanned a career-high nine batters and did so in front of a sold-out crowd of 10,480 fans at BB&T Ballpark. In his next outing of the season – which took place at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, GA – Rodon gave up three runs on six hits over five innings in a no-decision. In all, Rodon appeared in five games for the Knights over parts of two seasons and compiled a 1-0 record with a 3.27 ERA in 22 innings pitched. He allowed 17 hits and struck-out 31 batters over that span. RHP Jake Petricka was reinstated from the DL today after completing his Major League Rehab assignment, which started with the Knights on Thursday and continued on Saturday. In two games, he pitched two scoreless innings. He began the 2015season on Chicago’s DL with a right forearm strain.

Sanchez_CarlosIL PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Carlos Sanchez — the International League’s leader in batting average with an impressive .485 mark –was named as the IL Player of the Week for the period of April 13-19. Sanchez, who began the season in Chicago with the White Sox, has hit safely in all seven games he’s played in this season with the Knights. He appeared in six games for the Knights last week and hit a stunning .536 (15-for-28) with six runs scored, four doubles, six RBIs, and one stolen base. The 22-year-old infielder is currently tied for second overall in the IL in hits (16), ranked third in on-base percentage (.500), and fourth in slugging (.606).

SOLID START: RHP Erik Johnson (2-0, 1.13) impressed in his first start (second appearance) of 2015, spinning five strong innings of one-run baseball. The second round pick by Chicago in 2011 also struck out four in his first start as a Knight since August 12 of last season. Johnson first appeared for the Knights this season in relief of Shawn Haviland (today’s starter) back on April 13. That day, Johnson threw three scoreless innings out of the bullpen for the Knights and earned his first win of the season.

10 FOR TRAYCE: CF Trayce Thompson extended his hit-streak to 10-straight games on Saturday and is now hitting .385 (15-for-39) this season which is the eighth highest mark in the IL so far this year. Thompson is the only player this season in the IL to safely hit in 10 consecutive games, although his 10-game hit-streak is tied with Steve Lombardozzi (Indianapolis) for second place currently. Lombardozzi’s streak started on August 31, 2014. Pawtucket’s Blake Swihart has a 12-game hit streak – which also started last year. His streak began on August 27, 2014. Thompson’s 15 hits are tied for third in the league with three others.

SAVE THE LAST INNING FOR JAIRO: RHP Jairo Asencio notched his International League leading fourth save of the season on Friday night after a scoreless ninth inning for the Knights. He is tied for the league lead after Shawn Armstrong recorded his fourth on Saturday. Asencio fanned two batters and now has fanned seven batters in five innings pitched this season. He has a 1.80 ERA (5.0 IP, 2 R, 1 ER) so far this season. Asencio led the IL in saves with 28 while he was a member of Norfolk in 2013. He also led the IL in saves during two stints with Gwinnett (27 in 2009 and 26 in 2011).

ATTENDANCE FEVER: Through eight regular season home games, the defending attendance champions – the Charlotte Knights — have welcomed a league-high 74,118 fans through the gates. The team is also averaging 9,265 fans per game. The Knights welcomed a Minor League best 687,715 fans through the gates during their regular season during their inaugural campaign at BB&T Ballpark

Knights Knotes — April 18, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: Fresh off their third-straight win against the Gwinnett Braves, the Charlotte Knights host game two of their three-game set tonight with a 7:05 p.m. game at BB&T Ballpark. The Knights won both games in Gwinnett (Wednesday and Thursday) and went on to win last night’s opener, 7-5. Charlotte’s last three-game win-streak came last year from August 22 to August 25 in a four-game sweep of the Norfolk Tides from at BB&T Ballpark. The Knights entered this season with a three-game losing streak against the G-Braves and now have a three-game win-streak against their IL South Division foe.knights knotes

ABOUT LAST KNIGHT: The Charlotte Knights (6-3) used a pair of three-run innings on their way to a 7-5 victory over the Gwinnett Braves (3-6) for their third consecutive win. The first three-run frame for the Knights started with Trayce Thompson’s bat staying hot as he connected on a RHP Matt Wisler offering for his first home run of 2015 – extending his hitting streak to nine games – to put the Knights on the ‘board in the bottom of the second inning. RHP Scott Carroll (1-1, 3.00) was impressive on the mound for the Knights, spinning five innings of two-hit baseball to earn his first win of the season. The G-Braves were able to tally a pair of runs in the top of the second inning off of Carroll (one earned run) despite only one hit – a Pedro Ciriaco lead-off single – in the frame.

KNIGHTS STARTER: RHP Erik Johnson (1-0, 0.00) will make his first start of the 2015 season tonight as he toes the rubber for Charlotte in game two of their three-game series. Johnson made his 2015 debut on April 13 in relief of RHP Shawn Haviland and earned the win after three scoreless innings out of the bullpen. He gave up just two hits while fanning three batters. The 25-year-old right-handed pitcher entered the 2014 season ranked by Baseball America as the 2nd best prospect in the White Sox system. He began last season with the White Sox and posted a 1-1 record with a 6.46 ERA in five starts. He was then optioned to Charlotte on April 26, 2014, where he 20 starts with the club and compiled a 5-7 record with a 6.73 ERA (105.2 IP). Johnson started 10 games for the Knights in 2013 and posted a 4-1 record with a 1.57 ERA over 57.1 IP. The Mountain View, California native averaged close to one strikeout per inning in 2013 totaling 57 Ks with the Knights. In 2013, pitching across two levels, Johnson ranked third among qualified minor league starters in WHIP (0.99), fifth in ERA (1.96), and sixth in opponents’ average (.197). In June of 2011, the White Sox made Johnson their second round pick in the draft, the 80th player chosen overall. He signed for a bonus of $450,000. Adam Virchis is the scout who signed him.

REHABBING: Chicago White Sox RHP Jake Petricka began a Major League Rehab assignment with the Charlotte Knights on Thursday and entered the game in the sixth inning in relief of Carlos Rodon. Petricka, 26, began the 2015 season on Chicago’s disabled list with a right forearm strain. On Thursday for Charlotte, he tossed a scoreless, hitless inning – striking out one batter while tossing 16 pitches (11 for strikes). He’s expected to pitch again tonight.

NINE KNOCKS: CF Trayce Thompson extended his hit-streak to an International League high nine-straight games last night after smashing his first career Triple-A home run in the 2nd inning of last night’s game. The 24-year-old is now hitting .400 (14-for-35) through nine games on the season – which is the sixth highest mark in the IL so far this year. His 14 hits are tied for second in the league with Toledo’s Dixon Machado. He also has the fourth-highest slugging percentage in the IL with a .629 mark.

CHARLOTTE LEADERBOARD: The Knights enter play tonight with the top batting average in the IL after nine games. Charlotte’s team mark of .294 is 27 points higher than second place Pawtucket (.267). The Knights are also tied with Pawtucket for the lead in slugging percentage (.408), first in triples (5) and are in second place in total bases (129) – nine behind the PawSox. Charlotte’s 15 team stolen bases are also first in the league.

DR. K: RHP Maikel Cleto continued his solid stretch of pitching with the Charlotte Knights. Cleto has started strong this season and last night he struck-out two batters over two scoreless innings. So far this season (three appearances). Cleto, 25, has fanned nine batters in just 5.2 scoreless innings. Dating back to July 18, 2014 – Cleto has not allowed a run with the Knights over his last eight games (13.1 IP). He has allowed just four hits and has fanned 21 batters over that span. He did not allow a run in his final three appearances with the Chicago last season either (9/20-26).

‘LOS IS MORE: Infielder Carlos Sanchez has hit safely in all six games he’s played in this season since being optioned to Charlotte after beginning the season in Chicago with the White Sox. Sanchez is batting .448 (13-for-29) over six games with two doubles and five RBIs. He’s second in the IL in batting average and he’s put together three multi-hit games already this year – with three hits in all three of those games. He has scored a run in four of his six games and his 13 hits are tied for third in the IL.

SAVE THE LAST INNING FOR JAIRO: RHP Jairo Asencio notched his International League leading fourth save of the season last night after a scoreless ninth inning for the Knights. Asencio fanned two batters and now has fanned seven batters in five innings pitched this season. He has a 1.80 ERA (5.0 IP, 2 R, 1 ER) so far this season. Asencio led the IL in saves with 28 while he was a member of Norfolk in 2013. He also led the IL in saves during two stints with Gwinnett (27 in 2009 and 26 in 2011).

THE SKIPPER TOO: In his fourth season as manager of the Knights, Joel Skinner has compiled 217 wins — the most in franchise history. Skinner and Nick Leyva (202) are the only two managers in Knights history to win 200 games. In 11 seasons overall as a Minor League manager, Skinner owns a career record of 810-715. At the Triple-A level (five seasons including this year), he has a 303-282 record. In 2012, Skinner’s Charlotte Knights posted an 83-61 mark — the club’s second highest single season win total in franchise history (three behind their high mark of 86 set in 1993).

Knights Knotes — April 17, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights return home tonight to open a three-game series with the Gwinnett Braves from BB&T Ballpark at 7:05 p.m. The Knights are coming off a two-game sweep of the G-Braves from Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, GA from last night. The team’s last two-game sweep came against the G-Braves from August 5-6, 2014 at BB&T Ballpark. knights knotes

ABOUT LAST KNIGHT: Trayce Thompson went 3-for-6 with two doubles and three RBIs last night as the Knights beat the Gwinnett Braves 7-6 in 10 innings last night. LHP Carlos Rodon started for the Knights and allowed three runs on six hits over five innings and did not factor in the decision. Rodon, the top ranked prospect in Chicago’s system by Baseball America, walked two batters and struck-out four. The North Carolina State University product tossed 87 pitches, 56 for strikes. It was just his fifth career start at the Triple-A level. Left-handed reliever Eric Surkamp (1-0, 0.00) tossed two scoreless innings (8th and 9th) for the Knights and went on to earn the win. He walked one and struck-out two.

KNIGHTS STARTER: Charlotte RHP Scott Carroll (0-1, 4.50) will make his second start of the 2015 regular season tonight against the Gwinnett Braves at 7:05 p.m. in the opening game of a three-game series. Carroll made his 2015 season debut on Sunday and allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits over four innings in a loss against Norfolk. Carroll last faced the G-Braves on April 19, 2014 in a road loss (4.0 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 4 SO). He made that start as the reigning IL Pitcher of the Week – entering that game with an impressive 3-0 mark and a 0.00 ERA. He started his award-winning week with a solid performance at Durham on Tuesday, April 8, 2014. The Kansas City, MO native pitched six innings and allowed two unearned runs over four hits en-route to his second win of the year. The Knights beat the Bulls 8-2 that day and Carroll improved to 2-0 on the season at that time. Five days later, Carroll started for the Knights in front of 10,200 fans at BB&T Ballpark in the team’s three-game series finale with the Norfolk Tides. The 29-year-old was sharp again and tossed a season-high seven shutout innings. He needed just 76 pitches to get through seven innings and allowed just three hits and one walk over that span. He entered his final 2014 start with the Knights without having allowed an earned run in 19.0 innings pitched. Carroll had his contract purchased by the White Sox on April 27 and made his Major League debut that day in a start against Tampa Bay (W, 7.1 IP, 2 R, 1 ER). It was the longest outing by a White Sox pitcher making his Major League debut since Gerry Janeski on April 10, 1970 (also 7.1 IP). Carroll spent part of the 2013 season recovering from Tommy John surgery and appeared in just 11 starts between Advanced Rookie Bristol and Double-A Birmingham.

ROSTER MOVES: The Charlotte Knights placed catcher George Kottaras on the disabled list before today’s game and received catcher Jeremy Dowdy from Winston-Salem (A+). Kottaras appeared in two games with the Knights this year and was hitting .286 (2-for-7) with a double and an RBI. Dowdy has appeared in two games for the Winston-Salem Dash this season (0-for-6). A native of Raleigh, NC, Dowdy, 24, hit .302 (60-for-199) for Kannapolis last season in 53 games. He appeared in one game for the Charlotte Knights in 2013 (0-for-3). He was originally signed by the Chicago White Sox as a free agent on June 9, 2012. He is a 2009 graduate of Wakefield High School in Raleigh, NC.

REHABBING: Chicago White Sox RHP Jake Petricka began a Major League Rehab assignment with the Charlotte Knights last night and entered the game in the sixth inning in relief of Carlos Rodon. Petricka, 26, began the 2015 season on Chicago’s disabled list with a right forearm strain. Last night he tossed a scoreless, hitless inning – striking out one batter while tossing 16 pitches (11 for strikes). He’s expected to pitch again on Saturday.

MAGIC EIGHT BALL: CF Trayce Thompson extended his hit-streak to an International League high eight-straight games last night after recording three hits on the evening. The 24-year-old is now hitting .419 (13-for-31) through eight games on the season – which is tied for third-best in the IL so far this year. His 13 hits are tied for first in the league – with Pawtucket’s Jackie Bradley Jr. His eight-game streak is the longest current streak in the International League.

STRIKE CITY: RHP Maikel Cleto has started strong this season. He continued his solid stretch on Tuesday by striking out three batters over 1.2 scoreless innings. So far this season (two appearances). Cleto, 25, has fanned seven batters in just 3.2 scoreless innings. Dating back to July 18, 2014 – Cleto has not allowed a run with the Knights over his last seven games (11.1 IP). He has allowed just four hits and has fanned 19 batters over that span. He did not allow a run in his final three appearances with the Chicago last season either (9/20-26).

CHARLOTTE LEADERBOARD: The Knights enter play tonight with the top batting average in the IL after eight games this season. Charlotte’s team mark of .294 is now 30 points higher than second place Pawtucket (.264). The Knights also lead in slugging percentage (.409), triples (5) and are in second place in total bases (114) – eight behind the PawSox. Charlotte’s 14 team stolen bases are also first in the league – while Tyler Saladino’s five rank tied for second.

Knights Knotes — April 16, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights and Gwinnett Braves will conclude their two-game series from Coolray Field at 6:35 p.m. tonight. The Knights will go for their first sweep of the season and first series sweep since a four-game sweep of the Norfolk Tides from August 22-25, 2014. The team’s last two-game sweep came against the G-Braves from August 5-6, 2014 at BB&T Ballpark.knights knotes

ABOUT LAST KNIGHT: LHP Jarrett Casey (1-0, 0.00) was promoted to Charlotte just before game time last night and came on to pitch in the sixth inning after starter Chris Beck allowed one run in five frames. Casey, tossed two scoreless innings (6th and 7th) to earn his first win of the year. The Knights scored four runs over the final three innings. Infielders Tyler Saladino and Carlos Sanchez chipped in with two RBIs each.

KNIGHTS STARTER: North Carolina State University product Carlos Rodon (1-0, 1.80), the number-three overall pick by the Chicago White Sox in last year’s Major League Baseball Draft, will make his second start of the 2015 season tonight and fifth Triple-A start of his career. In his 2015 season debut, Rodon fanned nine batters over five solid innings en-route to his first career Triple-A win. In all, Rodon allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits over five innings of work. He threw 87 pitches and walked two batters on the evening. Ranked as the number one prospect in Chicago’s organization heading into this season by Baseball America, Rodon went 0-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 12 innings pitched last year with Charlotte (fanned 18 batters). Last year, Rodon was promoted to the Charlotte Knights on Saturday, August 16, 2014 and ended up making three Charlotte starts last season after his Triple-A debut on Tuesday, August 19. The 22-year-old left-hander made his professional debut on July 22, 2014 for the Arizona League White Sox. He appeared in two games for the team and allowed two runs on four hits over three innings. Rodon had a successful and distinguished career at NC State. He broke the University’s all-time strikeout mark on April 11, 2014. He finished with 436 punch-outs.

ROSTER MOVES: Just before game time yesterday, the Charlotte Knights announced four roster moves – with three players heading to the disabled list. RHPs Brad Penny and Matt Lindstrom were both placed on the DL, while outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo was also placed on the DL (retroactive to April 14). Last night’s winning pitcher, Jarrett Casey, was promoted from Double-A Birmingham and arrived in time for the game. Infielder Justin Jirschele was promoted from Winston-Salem (A+) before today’s game. Jirschele appeared in two games for the Dash this season and was 0-for-5. He hit .315 (39-for-124) with the Dash in 40 games last year and .250 (11-for-44) with the Knights in 14 games.

REHABBING: Chicago White Sox RHP Jake Petricka, who began the 2015 season on Chicago’s disabled list with a right forearm strain, will begin a Major League Rehab assignment with the Charlotte Knights tonight. Petricka, 26, spent the majority of the 2014 season with the White Sox after beginning the campaign with the Knights. The Minnesota native was recalled to Chicago from Charlotte on April 4, 2014 and never returned to the Queen City. He went on to post a 1-6 record with a 2.96 ERA and 14 saves in 67 games with the White Sox. Petricka, a second round pick of the White Sox in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, led all Major League rookies in saves and ranked third in appearances last season.

7-UP
: CF Trayce Thompson has been on-fire to start the 2015 season and it continued last night as he extended his hit-streak to seven-straight games. The 24-year-old is now hitting .400 (10-for-25) through seven games on the season – which is tied for third-best in the IL so far this year. His 10 hits are tied for second in the league – just three behind IL leader Jackie Bradley Jr. (Pawtucket). His current seven-game streak is the longest current streak in the IL.

Knights Knotes — April 15, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights open up a quick two-game series with the Gwinnett Braves starting tonight at 6:35 p.m. from Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, GA. Tonight’s game is the first for the Knights on the road this season and it kicks-off a five-game stretch against the G-Braves (the two teams will play a three-game series at BB&T Ballpark starting on Friday). The Knights went 28-44 on the road last season. Charlotte’s last win at Coolray Field came back on August 29, 2014 in a 7-2 win over the G-Braves. Charlotte starter Chien-Ming Wang – who is now a member of Gwinnett – earned the win. The Knights will face Wang on Saturday night at BB&T Ballpark.knights knotes

ABOUT LAST KNIGHT: The Knights wrapped up their first homestand of the 2015 season last night in a 12-8 loss to the Durham Bulls. Charlotte and Durham split the two-game series – after the Knights and Tides split their four-game series. Through six games, the Knights are 3-3 on the season – which puts them in a four-way tie in the IL South Division (all four teams are currently 3-3). Last night, RHP Brad Penny (1-1, 8.68) was saddled with the loss after allowing six runs on 11 hits over 3.2 innings pitched.

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Chris Beck started game two of the 2015 season for Charlotte. Photo credit: Laura Wolff

KNIGHTS STARTER: RHP Chris Beck (0-0, 5.79), who is ranked as the number 11 best prospect in the Chicago White Sox system by Baseball America, toes the rubber tonight for the Knights in their first road game of the season. Beck, 24, started game two of the season back on April 10 at BB&T Ballpark and allowed three runs on four hits over 4.2 innings pitched in a no-decision. Before that, Beck last pitched for the Knights on August 31, 2014 – tossing five shutout innings against the Gwinnett Braves at BB&T Ballpark. In seven starts with the Knights last season, Beck posted a 1-3 record with a 4.05 ERA (33.1 IP, 36 H, 16 R, 15 ER, 13 BB, 28 SO). He began the 2014 campaign with the Double-A Birmingham Barons and posted a 5-8 mark with a 3.39 ERA in 20 starts before a promotion to Charlotte on June 26. He started his first career Triple-A game on June 26 against Louisville and was saddled with the loss after allowing five runs on five hits over 4.2 innings pitched. He was sent back to Birmingham the next day. He was promoted back to Charlotte on July 28. He went a combined 6-11 with a 3.54 ERA in 27 starts between both stops. He ranked among the White minor leaguers in shutouts (T-1st), ERA (4th) and IP (4th). He entered the 2014 season ranked by Baseball America as the number nine prospect in Chicago’s system and as possessing the Best Changeup in the organization. Beck was selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2012 draft out of Georgia Southern University.

TRAYCE-ABILITY: CF Trayce Thompson has been on-fire to start the 2015 season. The 24-year-old is hitting .429 (9-for-21) on the season – which is good for second-best in the IL so far this year. His nine hits are third highest in the league – just two behind IL leader Jackie Bradley Jr. (Pawtucket) and he has a six-game hit-streak heading into tonight’s game. His current six-game streak is tied for the longest current streak in the IL with Dixon Machado (Toledo).

STRIKE CITY: RHP Maikel Cleto has started strong this season. He continued his solid stretch last night by striking out three batters over 1.2 scoreless innings. So far this season (two appearances), Cleto, 25, has fanned seven batters in just 3.2 scoreless innings. Dating back to July 18, 2014 – Cleto has not allowed a run with the Knights over his last seven games (11.1 IP). He has allowed just four hits and has fanned 19 batters over that span. He did not allow a run in his final three appearances with the Chicago White Sox last season either (9/20-26).

CHARLOTTE LEADERBOARD: The Knights enter play tonight with the top batting average in the IL after six games this season. Charlotte’s team mark of .296 is now 25 points higher than second place Pawtucket (.271). The Knights also lead in slugging percentage (.427), triples (5) and are in second place in total bases (88) – just one behind the PawSox.

UPDATE: ROSTER MOVES: Outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo, along with right-handed pitchers Brad Penny and Matt Lindstrom, have been placed on the disabled list. Tuiasosopo was placed on the DL retroactive to April 14. LHP Jarrett Casey, who appeared in one game with the Knights back on April 10 — was promoted back to Charlotte from Double-A Birmingham,. Casey was assigned to Birmingham on April 13. He struck-out three batters over 1.2 scoreless innings for the Knights on April 10 at BB&T Ballpark against the Norfolk Tides. Penny (1-1, 8.68) won the 2015 home opener on April 9, but was saddled with the loss in last night’s game. Tuiasosopo was hitting .357 (5-for-14) in five games.

Knights Knotes — April 13, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights open a two-game series against in-state rival – the Durham Bulls – tonight with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. from BB&T Ballpark. Both teams enter play with identical 2-2 records – in fact every team in the IL South Division opens play today with a 2-2 mark. Charlotte enters play with the highest batting average for an IL team — .282 – while Durham’s .212 is the fourth-lowest in the IL. Charlotte has scored 18 runs, while Durham has scored 12. Charlotte is tied for the league lead in home runs (3) and leads the league in triples with four. knights knotes

ABOUT LAST KNIGHT: The Charlotte Knights dropped their finale against the Tides by a score of 9-2 – settling for a four-game series split with Norfolk on Sunday. RHP Scott Carroll was saddled with the loss after allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits over four innings. Norfolk RHP Zach Davies struck-out eight batters over five shutout innings en-route to the win in his Triple-A debut.

KNIGHTS STARTER: Charlotte RHP Shawn Haviland (NR) will make his 2015 season debut tonight in the opening game of the two-game set with Durham. Tonight’s start will be his first in the International League and first at the Triple-A level since June 20, 2010 as a member of Triple-A Sacramento (Oakland). That day, Haviland started against Salt Lake and allowed five runs (two earned) on six hits over 3.1 IP. (Also of note, Haviland’s teammates in that game were former Knights Dallas McPherson, Michael Taylor, and Steve Tolleson. Coco Crisp played CF). In six professional seasons, Haviland owns a 37-49 mark with a 4.69 ERA in 787.2 innings pitched. His nine wins in 2010 with the Stockton Ports (9-6, 3.65) are a season best. Haviland, 29, is a native of Middletown, Connecticut and was signed by Chicago as a free agent on January 12, 2015. He is a graduate of Harvard University.

IL LEADERBOARD: Infielder Tyler Saladino is hitting .462 (6-for-13) through three games so far this season – tied for the second highest in the IL. Saladino, who had Sunday’s game off, is back in the lineup today. His .462 average is tied with Norfolk’s Henry Urrutia. Saldino is also the league leader in steals with four.

ROSTER MOVES: LHP Eric Surkamp, who was optioned to the Charlotte Knights on April 11 from Chicago, is active today for the Knights. Surkamp takes the roster spot of LHP Jarrett Casey, who was assigned to Double-A Birmingham. Casey appeared in one game and allowed just one hit, while striking out three batters over 1.2 IP. Surkamp has yet to pitch this season as he began the year on Chicago’s disabled list. He was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list and optioned to Charlotte on the 11th. The 27-year-old was placed on the disabled list on April 5 (retroactive to March 27) with an upper back strain. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Surkamp went 2-0 with a 4.81 ERA (13 ER/24.1 IP) and 20 strikeouts in 35 relief appearances with the White Sox in 2014. He was 4-5 with a 4.69 ERA in 18 games (11 starts). He was the International League’s Pitcher of the Week for June 16-22 after going 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA in two starts. He struck-out a season-high 12 batters on May 30 at Toledo over just six innings of work. Surkamp, like Carlos Rodon, is a product of North Carolina State University. He was teammates with Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson while playing for the Wolfpack.

BACK IN BLACK: Slugger Dan Black returned to the Knights on Saturday in his season debut and went 2-for-3 and drove in three of Charlotte’s four runs. On Sunday, Black launched his first home run of the season – a solo shot in the seventh inning of Norfolk reliever Pat McCoy. Black was 2-for-4 on the afternoon and also added a triple. It was his first triple since June 17, 2013 as a member of the Double-A Birmingham Barons. He appeared in 48 games for the Knights last season (44 for Double-A Birmingham) and hit .267 with six home runs and 21 RBIs for the Knights.

Knights Knotes — April 11, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights continue their sophomore season at BB&T Ballpark and play game three of the season tonight at 7:05 p.m. as they host the Norfolk Tides. The Knights, who took the opening game by a score of 6-3, lost last night’s game by a score of 7-6. The Tides scored four runs over the final two innings for the come-from-behind win.

KNIGHTS STARTER: North Carolina State University product Carlos Rodon (NR), the number-three overall pick by the rodon_carlos_mediaChicago White Sox in last year’s Major League Baseball Draft, will make his first start of the season today and fourth

career Triple-A start today. Ranked as the number one prospect in Chicago’s organization heading into this season by Baseball America, Rodon went 0-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 12 innings pitched last year with Charlotte (fanned 18 batters). Last year, Rodon was promoted to the Charlotte Knights on Saturday, August 16, 2014 and ended up making three Charlotte starts last season after his Triple-A debut on Tuesday, August 19. The 22-year-old left-hander made his professional debut on July 22, 2014 for the Arizona League White Sox. He appeared in two games for the team and allowed two runs on four hits over three innings. Rodon had a successful and distinguished career at NC State. He broke the University’s all-time strikeout mark on April 11, 2014. He finished with 436 punch-outs.

ROSTER MOVE: LHP Eric Surkamp was optioned to Charlotte today (report time to be determined), so he has not yet been officially added to Charlotte’s active roster, which already sits at 25. He was activated off Chicago’s 15-day disabled list earlier today before being optioned to Charlotte. He was placed on the White Sox disabled list on April 5 (retroactive to March 27) with an upper back strain. In 18 games (11 starts) with the Charlotte Knights last season, Surkamp, 27, posted a 4-5 record with a 4.69 ERA. He was named the International League Pitcher of the Week for June 16-22 after going 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA in two starts.

MULTI-HIT PARADE: Four Charlotte Knights batters had at least two hits apiece last night. Matt Tuiasosopo, Engel Beltre, Tyler Saladino, and Leury Garcia each had two hits last night as the Knights finished with 11 hits in the 7-6 loss. It was the team’s second double-digit hit total of the season (they had 12 hits on Opening Knight).

ON THE BASE PATHS
: Charlotte infielder Tyler Saladino returned to the Charlotte Knights lineup on Opening Knight and went 3-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs. Last night, Saladino added two more hits and three stolen bases to up his two-game season batting average .556. He has an IL-best four stolen bases over two games and tied for second in the league in hits with five. Saladino, 25, hit .310 last season with nine home runs and 43 RBIs in 82 games before suffering a torn UCL in his right elbow and undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery.

THREE BAGGERS: Charlotte center fielder Trayce Thompson legged out his first triple of the season last night – the third by a Knights player already this year. In Thursday’s opener, Matt Tuiasosopo and Tyler Saladino each tripled. Thompson, 24, legged out 11 triples over his last two seasons with Double-A Birmingham. Last season, he tripled six times, which was ranked tied for seventh in the Southern League. He had five triples in 2013 with the Barons.

ATTENDANCE FEVER: After welcoming 10,514 fans through the gates of BB&T Ballpark on Opening Knight, the club welcomed 9,385 fans last night. Through two regular season games, the defending attendance champions have welcomed 19,899 fans total. So far in 2015, the Knights have already welcomed 40,794 fans through the gates. The Queen City’s new kingdom played host to its first-ever college game on Tuesday, March 31 (8,147), an exhibition game between the Chicago White Sox and Charlotte Knights on Friday, April 3 (10,556), and a free scrimmage game between the Charlotte Knights and Davidson College on Monday, April 6 (2,192).

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