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).

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