Final Four Begins Tonight…

CHARLOTTE KNIGHTS (80-60, 1st, South) @ DURHAM BULLS (65-75, 3rd, South)
Durham, NC ~ Durham Bulls Athletic Park, 7:05 PM ~
(Game 1 of 2-game series) Game #141 ~ Road Game #71

FRI: CHA RHP Scott Carroll (1-3, 4.43 w/CHA) @ DUR RHP Jim Paduch (6-9, 5.52)

SERIES INFO: The Charlotte Knights and Durham Bulls will open the final two-game series from Durham, NC tonight. The Knights are 12-5 against the Bulls this season and will play the final four games of the 2012 season against the Bulls. Charlotte has won six of the last seven games against the Bulls. Last season, Charlotte went just 9-12 against the Bulls.

Knight Moves: Conor Jackson was placed on the DL today (retroactive to 8/30).

Rehabbing: Both Orlando Hudson and Alejandro De Aza continued their rehab assignments on Thursday night for Charlotte. De Aza was Charlotte’s leadoff hitter on Thursday and went 0-4 at the plate. In three games for the Knights, the Dominican native hit .273 (3-11) with one run, one double, one RBI, and a walk. As for the O-Dog, Hudson went 1-3 last night as the team’s second baseman. In four games with Charlotte, Hudson hit .250 (3-12) with a walk and a stolen base.

Anything You Can Do… Thursday night’s game was a classic pitcher’s duel. Syracuse starter John Lannan pitched a complete-game shutout while striking out 10 and walking  none. Not to be outdone, Charlotte starter and 2012 International League All-Star Charlie Leesman struck out a career-high and Knights’ season-high 11 in seven innings of work. He only allowed two runs on just four hits. The 10 strikeouts by Lannan is also the most by an opposing pitcher against Charlotte this season.

Too Many Chiefs: Thursday night was Charlotte’s third straight loss against Syracuse and gave the Chiefs the 3-1 series win. It also allowed Syracuse to take the season series 5-3.

Thirty-One: Greg Golson was 2-for-4 Thursday night to give him 31 multi-hit games in 2012. That is his second straight game with multiple hits and he leads active Knights this season in the category. Golson now has a personal four-game hitting streak.

His Time of the Year: Dan Johnson was 3-for-4 for the second straight game to record his 29th multi-hit game this year. The 2012 IL All-Star was named to the 2012 IL Postseason All-Star Team earlier this week. He was named as the utility player on the squad.

A Knight’s Home is His Castle: Despite the 3-5 homestand, Charlotte has a record of 42-28 (.600) at Knights Stadium this season with two home games left. The Knights are 38-32 as visitors in 2012, but they will have homefield advantage in the first round of the IL playoffs.

Second For Skins: Knights manager Joel Skinner led the Knights to an IL Division crown with the 2-1 win last Friday. It was his second IL Division crown as a manager. Skinner led the Buffalo Bisons to an IL North Division crown in 2000 – 12 years ago.

Happy 80th!: The Charlotte Knights earned win #80 on Monday. It’s their most wins since 1999. The most wins in franchise history came in 1993, when led by manager Charlie Manuel, the Knights went 86-55. While they won’t be able to tie that club’s number of wins — with four games left in the regular season and a 12-5 mark against the Durham Bulls, the Knights have a chance to surpass the 1999 team. In 1999, they won 82 games (82-62). Both of the 80-win teams went on to win IL Championships and are the only two 80-win teams and championships in Knights history.

Whatta Week!: It seems like yesterday, but one week ago today, the Knights entered last Friday’s game with a magic number of one to clinch the International League South Division title. After a 2-1 win, the Charlotte Knights earned their first trip to the postseason since 2006. They begin the playoffs on Wednesday, September 5 in Indianapolis. Games one and two will be played at Victory Field and Charlotte will return home for games 3-5 from September 7-9.

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