Knights Knotes — June 18, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) will continue their six-game homestand tonight and play the finale of their three-game series against the Pawtucket Red Sox (Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox) at 7:05 p.m. from BB&T Ballpark. The two teams met last week in Pawtucket, RI with the Knights winning two of three games there. Charlotte won the first two games before dropping the finale last Wednesday. With a win last night, the Knights have now won four of five against the defending IL champs – the PawSox and go for the three-game sweep. The Knights enter today’s game with a three-game win-streak and in third place in the IL South – 2.0 games back of first place Durham.

knights knotesLAST KNIGHTS GAME: Outfielder Trayce Thompson launched two home runs – including what proved to be the game-winner in the eighth inning – and the Charlotte Knights beat the Pawtucket Red Sox 7-5 on Wednesday at BB&T Ballpark. Thompson’s three-run blast in the eighth led the Knights to their third-straight win.

KNIGHTS STARTING PITCHER: Charlotte RHP Shawn Haviland (2-4, 5.11) will make his eighth start of the 2015 season today and appear in his 14th overall game with the Knights in 2015. Tonight’s start will be his second against the PawSox – who he beat back on June 9 at Pawtucket (W, 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO). It was his finest start of the season. His 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 39-53 mark with a 4.71 ERA in 831.1 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.

CARROLL PROMOTED: RHP Scott Carroll (3-2, 2.37) was recalled to the Chicago White Sox today to replace White Sox hurler Hector Noesi (0-4, 6.89), who was designated for assignment this afternoon. This is Carroll’s second promotion to Chicago this year. He had his contract purchased on April 26. He is 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA in eight games for Chicago in 2015.

THOMPSON SEAL: Charlotte outfielder Trayce Thompson sealed the game with his three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning last night to lead the Knights to the 7-5 win. It was Thompson’s second home run of the game – fifth over his last nine games. The two-home run game was also his second of the month. After hitting .325 in April, and just .241 in May, Thompson is now hitting .288 in June with five of his nine home runs of the season. It was a great 24-hour stretch for the Thompson family as his brother Klay won an NBA Championship with the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night. Trayce is second in the IL in games (65), tied for second in the IL in home runs (9), first in IL in extra-base hits (27), and second in IL in total bases (116).

1 MILLION STRONG… AND GROWING: Before the official 7:05 p.m. first pitch of Wednesday’s game against the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Charlotte Knights welcomed their one millionth fan through the gates of BB&T Ballpark. Bill Lavell, 69, of Rock Hill, SC walked through the gates and was greeted by Charlotte Knights staff members and honored as the ballpark’s one millionth Knights fan. By welcoming their one millionth Knights fan through the gates on Wednesday – the team’s 105th regular season home game – the Knights became the fastest IL team to achieve the one million mark in their new ballpark. Both the Ottawa Lynx and Louisville Bats welcomed their one millionth fan in their 107th career home game.

APPROACHING 250: Charlotte Knights manager Joel Skinner (2012-present) has compiled a total of 247 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.

CAN’T SPELL KNIGHTS WITHOUT “K”: Charlotte pitchers have combined to strike out 536 batters this season – tops in Triple-A this year – 13 more than the top PCL team Sacramento (523) and 48 more than Pawtucket (IL). On Tuesday, three pitchers combined on 18 strikeouts (Erik Johnson had 11 in six innings).

TERANCE TERRIFIC: RHP Terance Marin (1-0, 0.00), who last pitched on June 8 as a starter against the PawSox, relieved RHP Chris Beck on Saturday and tossed two solid innings. Marin, who spun six shutout innings on June 8, did not allow a run in his two frames on Saturday – extending his scoreless innings streak to eight with Charlotte. He is expected to start tomorrow’s opener against the Indianapolis Indians.

IL STRIKEOUT LEADER: RHP Erik Johnson (5-5, 3.34) did not allow a run over six innings on Tuesday and fanned a career-game high 11. He increased his season strikeouts total to an International League best of 79. Johnson is also tops in the IL this season in strikeouts per nine innings with a 10.21 mark. He hasn’t allowed an earned run over his last 17.0 IP.

DR DRA: RHP Kyle Drabek has limited opposing batters to a .199 mark this season – second lowest in the IL among starters in 2015. He also has the lowest WHIP (1.05), has allowed the fewest baserunners per nine innings (9.60) and has the fifth lowest ERA (2.60).

ZACH ATTACK: LHP Zach Phillips (1-0, 1.95) had another scoreless appearance on Sunday tossing 1.0 scoreless frames to earn his third save of the season. Phillips has not allowed a run over his last nine games (10.0 IP). Overall in 2015, Phillips has not allowed a run in 16 of his 21 appearances and just two earned runs over his last 16 appearances. He has 32 strikeouts in 27.2 innings pitched this year.

HOME RUN MATT: 3B Matt Davidson is currently in a three-way tie for the IL home run lead with 10 (Durham’s J.P. Arencibia and Corey Brown also have 10). Davidson’s 36 RBIs are tied for fourth in the IL this season. He has 110 career Minor League homers.

ON THE BASES: Infielder Leury Garcia leads the Knights in steals (23) and is second in the IL in that category – four behind IL leader Eury Perez (28). Infielder Tyler Saladino swiped two bases last and now has 15. Saladino has stolen at least two bases in four games this season (stole three on April 10) and has six stolen bases over his last four games.

MILESTONE MATT: OF Matt Tuiasosopo now has 950 hits for his Minor League career (12 seasons) and is within one RBI of 500. He has 96 career Minor League homers.

FIRST TO 300,000: After welcoming 9,076 fans through the gates on June 7, 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 are first in MiLB in overall attendance (311,678) through 33 openings and first in average attendance (9,445).

ATTENDANCE LEADERS: In 34 openings, the Knights have welcomed 321,559 fans through the gates – tops in all of Minor League Baseball this season. BB&T Ballpark also leads in average per game with a mark of 9,458.

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