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.

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