Knights Knotes — May 8, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) head to Toledo, OH to open a three-game series with the Toledo Mud Hens (Triple-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers) tonight at 7:00 p.m. from Fifth Third Field. The Knights hit the road after a solid seven-game homestand (4-3) and began a six-game road trip on Tuesday. Charlotte dropped all three games to the Clippers in their series and enter today’s game with a four-game losing skid. The Knights find themselves in second place in the IL South Division – two games back of first place Durham. Charlotte won two of three from Toledo from April 27-29. knights knotes

THE LAST KNIGHTS GAME: Tyler Holt recorded three hits, Jordan Cooper tossed six shutout innings, and the Columbus Clippers beat the Charlotte Knights by a score of 5-2 on Thursday in the finale of their three-game series from Huntington Park in Columbus, OH. Cooper (1-1, 1.98) allowed just three hits and three walks on the day en-route to his first win of the season. The Topeka, KS native struck-out a season-high eight batters.

KNIGHTS STARTER: RHP Chris Beck (1-1, 4.78), who is ranked as the number 11 prospect in the Chicago White Sox system by Baseball America, toes the rubber today for the Knights in the opening game of a three-game series from Toledo, OH. Beck, 24, last pitched for the Charlotte on May 2 at BB&T Ballpark against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Making his first career start against SWB, Beck allowed just two runs on eight hits over six innings en-route to his first win of the season. Tonight’s game will be his third road start of the season (0-1, 3.27 ERA in two road starts) and first career start against Toledo. In seven starts with the Knights last season, Beck posted a 1-3 record with a 4.05 ERA (33.1 IP, 36 H, 16 R, 15 ER, 13 BB, 28 SO). He began the 2014 campaign with the Double-A Birmingham Barons and posted a 5-8 mark with a 3.39 ERA in 20 starts before a promotion to Charlotte on June 26. He started his first career Triple-A game on June 26 against Louisville and was saddled with the loss after allowing five runs on five hits over 4.2 innings pitched. He was sent back to Birmingham the next day. He was promoted back to Charlotte on July 28. He went a combined 6-11 with a 3.54 ERA in 27 starts between both stops. He ranked among the White Sox minor leaguers in shutouts (T-1st), ERA (4th) and IP (4th). He entered the 2014 season ranked by Baseball America as the number nine prospect in Chicago’s system and as possessing the Best Changeup in the organization. Beck was selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2012 draft out of Georgia Southern University. MiLB: 24-25, 3.57 ERA, 73 G, 64 GS, 363.1 IP, 377 H, 168 R, 144 ER, 218 SO.
IL
: 2-4, 4.37 ERA, 12 G, 12 GS, 59.2 IP, 67 H, 30 R, 29 ER, 17 BB, 46 SO.

DAN THE MAN: 1B/DH Dan Black went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored on Thursday and has now reached base in all 20 games he’s played in this season. Dating back to last season (July 28, 2014), he has reached base in a remarkable 25-straight games. He is now hitting .339 (21-for-62) with four home runs, 17 walks, and 13 RBIs this year. During his 25-game on-base streak, Black is hitting .342 with four homers and 16 RBIs. His 25-gamer is the current longest in the IL. He currently leads the IL in on-base percentage (.475) and slugging percentage (.597) and is tied for second in walks (17). Black has the best HR/AB ration with a home run every 15.50 at-bats. BF3_0186

‘LOS IS MORE:
Despite going 0-for-8 over his last two games, Carlos Sanchez is still atop the International League in batting average with a .379 mark – which is tied with Steve Lombardozzi (Indianapolis). Sanchez, who was named as the IL Batter of the Week for the period of April 27-May 3 — his second IL Batter of the Week award already this season — is also first in hits (39), secon in total bases (55), second in doubles (10), third in extra-base hits (12). His 281 career hits are sixth all-time in Knights franchise history and he is now just one hit away from moving into a tie for fifth with Josh Fields (282).

TRIPLE-A DEBUT: RHP Junior Guerra made his Triple-A debut yesterday for the Charlotte Knights and was sharp despite being saddled with the loss. Guerra allowed just one run on one hit over five innings in the 5-2 loss to the Clippers. The Venezuelan native struck-out eight batters while walking two. The 30-year-old began the season with Double-A Birmingham and went 2-3 with a 2.29 ERA in five games (three starts). He was promoted to the Knights on May 5.

WELCOME BACK, GEORGE: Catcher George Kottaras was activated off the disabled list just before yesterday’s 10:35 a.m. game and got the start behind the plate for the first time since April 16 in Gwinnett. Kottaras, who was placed on the DL the next day (April 17), returned and went 1-for-1 at the plate with three walks – reaching base in all four plate appearances yesterday. The veteran backstop has a hit in all three games he’s played in this season. Kottaras took the roster spot of catcher Jeremy Dowdy, who was assigned back to Winston-Salem (A+) yesterday.

WITH TRAYCE
: OF Trayce Thompson has hit safely in 19 of his 26 games this season and is among the team leaders in a number of categories. Thompson is second on the team in hits (31), total bases (49), tied for second on the team in runs scored (14) and doubles (6), and third in batting average (.307) and stolen bases (3).

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