Knights Knotes — May 10, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) conclude their three-game series with the Toledo Mud Hens (Triple-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers) today at 2:00 p.m. from Fifth Third Field in Toledo, OH. The Knights snapped their season-long five-game losing skid with a commanding 8-4 win last night. It was Charlotte’s first win on the current six-game road trip (1-4). The Knights, who were tied for first place in the IL South Division just five days ago (May 5), are now in third place, two games back of the first place Durham Bulls (Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays). With a win today, Charlotte, who is 6-7 on the road in 2015, can pull to .500 on the road. knights knotes

THE LAST KNIGHTS GAME: A strong night from the Charlotte Knights battery led to an 8-4 victory over the Toledo Mud Hens on Saturday night, as veteran RHP Brad Penny spun six solid innings and catcher Kevan Smith delivered a perfect three-for-three night at the plate. Smith led a Knights offensive attack that tallied 8 runs and 11 hits – both game-highs for this current road trip. The Knights catcher accounted for five of the team’s eight runs, tallying three RBI and scoring two runs of his own in the game.

KNIGHTS STARTER: RHP Erik Johnson (3-2, 3.74) will make his fifth start of the 2015 season today as he toes the rubber for Charlotte in the finale against Toledo. Johnson made his 2015 debut on April 13 in relief against the Durham Bulls and earned the win after three scoreless innings out of the bullpen. He gave up just two hits while fanning three batters. He then won his first start of the season (second appearance in 2015) on April 18 in five innings of one-run ball against the Gwinnett Braves. All three of Johnson’s wins this season have come at home. He beat Toledo back on April 29 at BB&T Ballpark (5.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO). 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).

*MiLB Career: 26-17, 3.61 ERA (68 G, 65 GS, 363.2 IP, 341 H, 163 R, 146 ER, 305 SO).
*IL Career: 12-10, 4.78 ERA (35 G, 34 GS, 184.2 IP, 198 H, 106 R, 98 ER, 142 SO

BECK PROMOTED SATURDAY: RHP Chris Beck (1-1, 4.78) had his contract purchased by Chicago on Saturday and served as the club’s 26th player for game two of their doubleheader. Beck, who did not pitch, was returned to the Knights after the game. It was his first promotion to the majors and he was added to the team’s 40-man roster.

IL LEADERBOARD: Carlos Sanchez – who has earned two IL Batter of the Week honors this season – is currently second in the IL in batting average with a .372 mark. He is also first in hits (42), second in total bases (58), second in doubles (10), fourth in extra-base hits (12), and fifth in at-bats (113).

MOVING UP ON THE ALL-TIME LIST: With three hits in Friday’s game, Carlos Sanchez moved into sole possession of fifth place on the Knights all-time franchise hits list. His 284 career hits passed slugger Josh Fields (282) and he is one away from tying Brian Daubach’s 285 – which are good for fourth. Jordan Danks, now with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, broke the all-time hits record last season on August 1. His 449 are the most in franchise history ahead of Joe Borchard (439), and Josh Phegley (312).

Mr. SMITH: Catcher Kevan Smith extended his hit-streak to seven-straight games on Saturday after a solid game at the plate. Smith went 3-for-3 and finished a home run short of the cycle yesterday. He singled, doubled, and tripled, as well as scoring two runs and driving in three. Smith is now batting .304 (21-for-69) in 24 games this season. In 12 road games this year, he is hitting .379 (11-for-29) with a home run and four RBIs.

BLACK IS BACK: 1B/DH Dan Black went 1-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI yesterday a day after his 25-straight on-base streak came to an end. In 22 games this season, he is hitting .314 (22-for-70) and is second in the IL in on-base percentage (.449) and fourth in slugging percentage (.543). Black’s 25-game streak dated back to July 28, 2014 (five games from last year and 20 from this year). During his 25-game on-base streak, he hit .342 with four homers and 16 RBIs.

HOME RUN LEADER: On Tuesday, 3B Matt Davidson launched his IL leading sixth homer of the season. Davidson, who passed Chris Colabello (Buffalo), has homered once every 17.50 at-bats – fifth best in the IL.

ATTENDANCE FEVER: The Charlotte Knights have welcomed 139,599 fans through 15 regular season home games this season. Last Sunday’s game was the team’s eighth sell-out crowd of the season. The defending attendance champions are now first overall in average attendance per game — averaging 9,307 fans per game. Charlotte is third behind Sacramento, who have welcomed 164,196 through 18 games (three more openings than Charlotte’s 15), and El Paso, who have welcomed 143,900 through 18 games as well. The Knights welcomed a Minor League best 687,715 fans through the gates during their regular season during their inaugural campaign at BB&T Ballpark.

COATS OF ARMOR: OF Jason Coats ripped three hits last night and bumped his average up to .302 on the season with the Knights in 14 games. It was his second three-hit game of the season with the Knights and he also added two RBIs. Through seven games in May, Coats is hitting .346 (9-for-26) with three doubles and six RBIs.

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