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.

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