Knights Knotes — June 9, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) will continue a seven-game road trip through Pawtucket, RI and Buffalo, NY tonight with game two of their three-game series against the Pawtucket Red Sox (Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox) at 7:05 p.m. from McCoy Stadium. The Knights enter today’s game back in a three-way tie for first place in the IL South with the Norfolk Tides (Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles) and the Durham Bulls (Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays). The Bulls have won seven of their last 10 games (Charlotte has won five of their last 10). knights knotes

LAST KNIGHTS GAME: The Knights used five home runs – two each from Jason Coats and Trayce Thompson – and beat the Pawtucket Red Sox by a score of 7-2 in game one of the three-game series last night. RHP Terance Marin (1-0, 0.00) did not allow a run over six innings for the win in his Triple-A debut. Catcher Kevan Smith also homered for Charlotte.

SOUTHERN COMFORT: With a three-way tie atop the IL South Division between Charlotte, Norfolk, and Durham – the division has been Minor League Baseball’s most competitive this season. Currently, the IL South owns a combined .546 (125-104) winning percentage – which is tops around all of MiLB. Last season, the IL South Division posted the lowest winning percentage by any division in Minor League Baseball — .467 (268-306).

KNIGHTS OFFENSE: The Knights lead the IL in runs scored as a team with 250 and RBIs with 236. The Knights are second behind Pawtucket in home runs with 43 and their 749 total bases are tops. Their .391 team slugging percentage is tops in the IL as well.

KNIGHTS STARTER: Charlotte RHP Shawn Haviland (1-4, 5.92) will make his seventh start of the 2015 season today and appear in his 13th overall game with the Knights in 2015 – first career game against Pawtucket. Tonight’s start will only be his third since May 1, when he faced the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at BB&T Ballpark (L, 6.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO). That first start of the year – 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). 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. In seven professional seasons, Haviland owns a 38-53 mark with a 4.74 ERA in 825.1 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. Haviland was originally drafted by the Oakland A’s in the 33rd round of the 2008 draft out of Harvard University.
Thompson_Home Run Knights

Photo credit: Laura Wolff

TERANCE TERRIFIC: Six days before last night’s start with Charlotte, RHP Terance Marin (1-0, 0.00) was coming out of the bullpen in Tijuana. The White Sox, who loaned him to the Mexican League’s Toros de Tijuana, reinstated him on Friday and added him to Charlotte’s roster. Marin, 25, made the most of his opportunity last night allowing just five hits over six shutout innings en-route to his first Triple-A victory. He tossed 101 pitches (60 strikes).

TWO-FOR-TWO: In last night’s game, two Knights homered – twice. Both Trayce Thompson and Jason Coats homered to become the first Knights teammates to hit two home runs each in the same game since May 2, 2011 when Eduardo Escobar and Gookie Dawkins achieved that feat at Knights Stadium against the Columbus Clippers.

IL HOME RUN LEADER: 3B Matt Davidson is currently tied for International League lead in home runs with nine and is tied for fourth in the league in RBIs with 33. He is currently fourth in the IL in HR/AB Ratio with one home run every 23.33 at-bats.

COATS OF ARMOR: OF Jason Coats went 2-for-4 with two home runs and three RBIs last night. It was his first two-home run game since June 20, 2014 as a member of the Winston-Salem Dash against Salem. Coats had two multi-home run games last year with the Dash and one with Kannapolis in 2013 (June 28, 2013). Coats, who has appeared in 42 games with the Knights this season after starting the year in Birmingham, leads the team in RBIs with 35 – which ranks second overall in the IL behind Buffalo’s Matt Hague (36).

WITHOUT A TRAYCE: Trayce Thompson’s two-homer game last night was his first since August 14, 2014 with Birmingham and the ninth of his MiLB career. On two occasions in 2013 with Birmingham, he homered twice in a game. He also achieved the feat once in 2012 (Winston-Salem), three times in 2011 (Kannapolis), and once in 2010 (Kannapolis). Thompson is tied for second in the IL in games (57), tied for third in at-bats (215), tied for third in extra-base hits (22), and third in total bases (96).

FIRST TO 300,000: After welcoming 9,076 fans through the gates on Sunday, BB&T Ballpark became the first Minor League Baseball venue to welcome 300,000 fans in 2015. Since 2010, the Knights have hit the 300,000 attendance mark three times (2010, 2014, and 2015). Currently, the Knights lead MiLB in overall attendance (302,560) through 32 openings, as well as average attendance (9,455).

SELL-OUT CROWDS: A year after welcoming 31 sell-out crowds through the gates in the first season in BB&T Ballpark history, the Knights welcomed their 15th sell-out crowd of the regular season on Saturday – and 16th overall (April 3rd against the White Sox exhibition).

NEARING 1 MILLION: After welcoming 687,715 Knights fans through 71 regular-season games last season, and 302,560 fans through 32 regular season games this season, the Knights are now just 9,725 fans away from 1 million at BB&T Ballpark for regular-season Knights games (the attendance number does not factor in exhibition games or the National Championship Game). The Knights return home Tuesday, June 16 for a six-game homestand.

ZACH ATTACK: LHP Zach Phillips (1-0, 2.16) tossed a scoreless inning Sunday and has not allowed a run over his last six games (6.1 IP). Overall this year, Phillips has not allowed a run in 14 of his 19 appearances and just two earned runs over his last 12 appearances. During the month of May, Phillips posted a 0-0 mark with one save and a 1.32 ERA in 10 games.

ROAD WARRIORS: Catcher Kevan Smith, who homered yesterday, is hitting .326 (14-for-43) in road games…LHP Jarrett Casey is 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA in seven road games… RHP Maikel Cleto, who notched his second save yesterday, is 1-0 with a 0.71 ERA (7 G).

Photo credit: Buren Foster

Photo credit: Buren Foster

THE SKIPPER TOO: Joel Skinner (2012-present) has compiled a total of 243 career Knights wins — the most in Charlotte Knights franchise history. Skinner and Nick Leyva (202) are the only two managers in franchise history to win 200 games.

DR. DRA: Opposing batters are hitting just .193 against RHP Kyle Drabek – the lowest in the IL among starters. He has the second lowest WHIP (1.03) and the eighth lowest ERA (2.79). He has also allowed the third fewest base runners (per 9 IP) with a 9.50 total.

NEARING 500: OF Matt Tuiasosopo homered and drove in two runs on Saturday – coming within one RBI of 500 for his Minor League career. The solo home run was his fourth of the season and the 96th of his MiLB career. He hit 11 home runs with Charlotte in 63 games last season – his first with the Knights.

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