Knights Knotes — May 31, 2014
CHARLOTTE KNIGHTS (18-36, 4th, 2014) (65-78, 3rd South – 2013)
@ TOLEDO MUD HENS (26-29, 3rd, 2014) (61-83, 4th West – 2013)
CHA LHP Charlie Leesman (1-4, 3.42)
TOL RHP Drew VerHagen (2-5, 4.02)
Saturday, May 31, 2014
~ Game 55 of 144 ~ Fifth Third Field ~ 7:00 PM
TODAY’S GAME: The Charlotte Knights will play game two of their four-game series against the Toledo Mud Hens tonight at 7:00 p.m. after opening the series yesterday with a tough 3-2 loss. Charlotte entered the game with a two-game win-streak but fell to 7-12 in one-run games last night. Despite scoring a run in the top of the ninth inning to pull to within one run, they dropped the opener and lost for the third time on the road trip (2-3). Charlotte is now 0-29 when trailing after eight innings and 14-16 when scoring first.
LAST KNIGHTS GAME: A sixth-inning throwing error by Charlotte starter LHP Eric Surkamp proved costly as the Toledo Mud Hens beat Surkamp and the Knights by a score of 3-2 on Friday in game one of the four-game series from Fifth Third Field in Toledo, OH. Surkamp (2-4, 5.20) was the losing pitcher despite allowing just three hits over six innings and striking out a career-high 12 batters. The NC State University product gave up three runs (two earned) and walked only one batter. He allowed a fourth inning home run to Mike Hessman – his IL leading 14th of the season. Charlotte came within a run in the ninth, but fell just short.
KNIGHTS STARTER: LHP Charlie Leesman (1-4, 3.42) will make his 10th start of the season for the Knights tonight and will make his fourth attempt at his second win of the year and 18th of his Knights career. He is coming off one of his better outings of the season, although he came away with a no-decision. On May 26 in Columbus, Leesman allowed two runs (one earned) on just one hit over six innings. He fanned seven batters and walked three. Leesman, 27, was originally selected by the White Sox in the 11th round of the 2008 draft. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, this is Leesman’s third year with Charlotte.
MITCHING IN: Jared Mitchell extended his hit streak to six-straight games last night with a single. Mitchell went 1-for-4 yesterday. More importantly, Mitchell reached base in his 18th– straight road game (started on April 8) and 14th straight overall game this season (started on May 12). During the road stretch, Mitchell has walked 14 times and has 10 hits with a .380 on-base percentage. Currently, his streak is tied for the longest active road streak in the IL this year with Matt Hague (IND), who also has an 18-gamer. Former Knights slugger Dan Johnson currently has a 17-straight game road on-base streak. For the season, Mitchell leads the Knights in both walks (30) and on-base percentage (.379). He’s fifth in the IL in walks as well.
SANCHEZ ES EN FUEGO: At just 21 years old, Carlos Sanchez continues to impress. Sanchez entered last night’s game batting .301 and coming off of a three-hit performance with a three-run triple – his fourth of the season – which is tied for second in the IL. He entered the ninth inning of last night’s game with the Knights down 3-2 and he came through with an RBI single to keep the game going. He now has 59 hits which are good for fourth in the IL this year. He has 18 hits over his last 10 games with a .400 batting average, two home runs and 13 RBIs.
DANKS RANKS: Jordan Danks passed sluggers Sam Horn, Jeff Inglin, and Mario Valenzuela for sole possession of eighth place on the all-time Knights franchise home run list on May 17 after ripping the 39th home run of his Charlotte Knights career. Danks is now just one away from tying current White Sox slugger and former Knights teammate Dayan Viciedo for seventh all-time. Viciedo hit 40 home runs. Danks is the all-time Knights franchise leader in triples (12), walks (180), and strikeouts (465). He ranks second all-time in the following categories: games played (395), at-bats (1,425), hits (370), and runs scored (207). Danks is third in doubles (80) and fourth on the Knights all-time RBI list with 179. The 2014 season is the fifth for Danks in a Knights uniform.
POWER HITTING KNIGHTS: Despite not hitting any home runs in last night’s 3-2 loss, the Knights are still in first place in the IL in home runs with 51 — four more than their current opponent — the Toledo Mud Hens — who are in second place. The Knights hit a season-high five home runs on Thursday as Dan Black hit three, and Jared Mitchell and Josh Phegley hit one each. The Knights have doubled their home run output in May from their output in April. They have hit 34 long balls as a team in May, after hitting 17 in the month of April. Their 34 home runs are six more than Norfolk’s 28. The Knights hit 10 home runs in the four-game series against the Clippers and scored 32 runs. Charlotte has enjoyed hitting in the friendly confines of BB&T Ballpark — compiling 26 of their 51 home runs at there this season.
MAY DAY: Josh Phegley had four hits in Thursday’s game becoming just the third player this season to do that (Dan Black and Carlos Sanchez are the others). Phegley went 4-for-6 with three runs scored, a double, a home run, and three RBIs. He had a hit in last night’s game and is now batting .276 on the season with six home runs and 19 RBIs. All six of his home runs have come during the month of May and 14 of his 19 RBIs have come in May.
TAYLOR MADE: Reliever Taylor Thompson earned his first win of the season on Thursday and continued his solid pitching in May. Thompson threw 2.1 scoreless innings out of the bullpen to extend his scoreless innings streak to 11.0 innings. Thompson has also not allowed a hit over his last 10.0 innings pitched. He last allowed a run on May 6 to Lehigh Valley at BB&T Ballpark. His last hit came on May 10 vs. Buffalo. During the month of May, Thompson is 1-0 with a 0.61 ERA in nine games (14.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 16 SO).