Knights Knotes — July 18, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) will continue their four-game series tonight — and eight-game homestand — as they host the Norfolk Tides (Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles) in game three of the four-game set from BB&T Ballpark in Uptown Charlotte at 7:05 p.m. The Knights entered the second half of the season on Thursday on a three-game win-streak and in first place in the IL South Division – however a loss to the Tides ended in each team switching places in the division. Last night, the Knights regained the top spot in the IL with an exciting 5-4 walk-off win over the Tides. The Knights are now a half-game ahead of the Tides and are 10-8 this season against Norfolk with four games left to play against each other.  knights knotes

LAST KNIGHTS GAME: Infielder Leury Garcia ripped a single up the middle in the bottom of the ninth inning and catcher Kevan Smith scored the game-winning run as the Knights walked-off with a thrilling 5-4 win over the Tides on Friday from BB&T Ballpark in front of 10,295 fans. Charlotte RHP Scott Carroll allowed one run over five innings in a no-decision.

KNIGHTS STARTING PITCHER: RHP Hector Noesi (0-0, 0.00) will make his first start of the season with the Knights and appear in his second game with the team tonight. Noesi began the season with the White Sox and posted a 0-4 record with a 6.89 ERA for Chicago in 10 games. He was outrighted off Chicago’s roster on June 26 and assigned to Charlotte on June 28. Just a few days later (July 2), Noesi was placed on Charlotte’s Temporary Inactive List. He made his Charlotte debut on July 11 in Norfolk out of Charlotte’s bullpen. He allowed two hits over two shutout innings, while striking out three batters. Originally signed by the New York Yankees as a free agent on December 3, 2004, Noesi owns a career major league record of 12-31 with a 5.30 ERA in 107 games (53 starts) over parts of five big league seasons. The White Sox claimed Noesi off waivers from the Texas Rangers on April 25, 2014. He went 8-11 with a 4.39 ERA in 28 games (27 starts) for Chicago last year.

ROSTER MOVES: RHP Kyle Drabek (5-5, 2.56), who is the reigning IL Pitcher of the Week, has been placed on the DL (retroactive to 7/15). Taking his roster spot will be RHP Shawn Haviland (4-5, 4.09), who was activated off the DL today. Drabek went 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA in two starts last week (12.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 SO). Drabek has the third lowest ERA in the IL this season and has limited opposing batters to a .211 batting average this season – the second lowest mark in the IL among starters. He also has the second lowest WHIP (1.09), has allowed the fewest baserunners per nine innings (10.14) in the IL this season. Haviland has won three of his last six starts and is 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA in July (two starts).

THIS MAGIC MOMENT: Leury Garcia played the hero last night with his walk-off single in the ninth. Garcia had three hits in the game and is now batting .350 this month (14-for-40) in 10 games. Overall, he is now hitting .296 (77-for-260) in 2015.

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Photo credit: Buren Foster

100 HOME RUN CLUB: 1B/OF Matt Tuiasospo launched a solo home run in the second inning last night — the 100th of his minor league career, which has spanned 12 years. Tuiasosopo’s eight home run of the year gave the Knights an early 1-0 lead. The home run was his fourth in the month of July (15 games). Outfielder Trayce Thompson, who was also on number 99 for his home run career, followed Tuiasosopo’s homer with a long drive to center field, which ended up as a double – just missing his 100th homer in back-t0-back fashion.

MIC’S ON: Last night, 2B Micah Johnson recorded two more hits last night and is now hitting .320 in 54 games this year. His .320 mark would be third in the IL if he had enough at-bats to qualify. Since July 2 (14 games), Johnson has the fifth highest batting average in the IL with a .410 mark. He currently has seven hits over his last three games.

JULY GUY: Outfielder Jason Coats launched a solo home run in the fourth inning of last night’s game – his 10th of the season. The former TCU standout is tied for fourth in the IL in RBIs with 53. For the month of July, Coats is hitting .347 (17-for-49) with three home runs and 10 RBIs (13 games).

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Photo credit: Buren Foster

ON THE BASE PATHS: The Knights added another stolen base to their season total last night when infielder Leury Garcia stole third – his team-high 27th of the season. Garcia is second in the IL in steals, one behind leaders Quintin Berry and Eury Perez (28). The Knights as a team are tied for second in the IL with 103. Charlotte has three players with 20 or more stolen bases, including Micah Johnson (22), Tyler Saladino (25), and Leury Garcia (27).

SELL-OUT CROWDS: BB&T Ballpark, which was named the Best Ballpark in Minor League Baseball by Baseball America, welcomed its 23rd sell-out crowd of the regular season last night and 25th overall in 2015 (the White Sox Exhibition Game on April 3rd and the Team USA Game on July 4th were also sell outs). Overall during the 2015 regular season, BB&T Ballpark has welcomed 437,648 fans – second in all of Minor League Baseball behind the PCL’s Sacramento River Cats (447,974). The River Cats have accumulated that mark in 48 openings, while Charlotte has done so in 46. The Knights lead all of Minor League Baseball in per game average with a 9,514 average. The Knights led the minors in attendance last season – their first at BB&T Ballpark – with a mark of 687,715 fans (71 openings).

2015 IL LEADERBOARD: 3B Matt Davidson is tied for third in home runs (14), tied for second in games played (91), and is third in walks (47). Defensively, Davidson leads IL third baseman in fielding percentage with a .973 mark … OF Trayce Thompson is first in games played (94), second in runs scored (51), second in at-bats (351), and third in extra-base hits (37)… Infielder Leury Garcia is currently second in the IL in steals (27). LHP Jarrett Casey (8-1, 4.78) is tied for second in the IL this season in wins (8)… Opposing batters are hitting .172 against RHP Maikel Cleto – the second lowest batting average in the IL among relievers.

ALIVE AT FIVE: Three Knights players are hitting over .400 over their last five games. 2B Micah Johnson is hitting .435 (10-for-23), infielder Leury Garcia is hitting .409 (9-for-22), and outfielder Jason Coats is hitting .412 (7-for-17). Another is close, as outfielder Trayce Thompson is hitting .389 (7-for-18) over his last five games.

ACE IN THE HOLE: RHP Erik Johnson (7-5, 2.73) has allowed just one earned run over his last 36.0 IP. On Wednesday, July 15, Johnson started the 2015 Triple-A All-Star Game and tossed two shutout innings – fanning two batters. He leads the IL this season in strikeouts (99), strikeouts per nine innings (10.05), while his 2.73 ERA is sixth lowest, and his 1.12 ERA is fourth lowest in the IL this year. Since June 1, Johnson is 3-1 with a 0.92 ERA in six games started – the lowest ERA in the IL over that span.

NEARING MiLB MILESTONES: OF Trayce Thompson is one home run away from 100 for his career (seven minor league seasons)… 2B Micah Johnson is three stolen bases away from 150 in his career (four minor league seasons)… OF Chris Marrero is one double away from 200 (10 minor league seasons)… Catcher George Kottaras is four hits away for 600 for his career (10 minor league seasons).

KNIGHTS ALL-TIME LIST: Infielder Drew Garcia has played in 262 games in his Knights career, two away from moving into a tie for 10th place on the franchise list (tying Casey Rogowski). He is in a tie with Carlos Sanchez for 11th all-time. He is three hits away from 200 for his Knights career… 2B Micah Johnson is tied for eighth all-time in triples with seven.

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