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Knights Knotes — May 21, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) continue a seven-game road trip and open a four-game series with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies) from Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, PA at 7:05 p.m. tonight. Charlotte concluded their three-game series against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees) yesterday with a win to take the three-game road series (2-1) and seven-game season series (4-3). The Knights, who won five of seven games on their last homestand, enter today in first place in the IL South Division – 2.5 games ahead of Norfolk and 3.5 games ahead of the Durham Bulls. Charlotte has won seven of their last 10 games and six of 10 games against the North Division this season. knights knotes

THE LAST KNIGHTS GAME: The Knights scored five runs on 12 hits – including a two-run homer by OF Tyler Colvin – behind a dominant performance by RHP Erik Johnson (4-3, 3.96) to win the rubber match against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, 5-2 at PNC Field.

KNIGHTS STARTER: RHP Kyle Drabek (0-1, 1.80) will make his sixth Knights start of the season tonight and first career start at Coca-Cola Park. Drabek tied a season-high with six innings in his last start – back on May 16 at BB&T Ballpark and did not factor in the decision and was saddled with the loss (6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO). Drabek has had some tough-luck this season – especially over his last three starts. Over that three-game span, he has allowed just two runs over 17.0 IP while striking out 15 batters. He’s 0-1 with a 1.06 ERA over that span. The former Phillies farmhand was designated for assignment by the Chicago White Sox (April 20) and officially outrighted to Charlotte on April 22. He made his Knights debut on April 24 at Norfolk (4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 SO) and was sharp in his first start at the Triple-A level since August 31, 2014 when he made his final appearance of the season with Buffalo at Syracuse (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB). In three games with the White Sox this year, the 27-year-old Texas native posted a 5.06 ERA (5.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO). He was claimed by the White Sox on March 27, 2015 off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. Last season with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, Drabek appeared in 32 games and started 13 – posting a 7-7 mark with a 4.18 ERA (99.0 IP, 116 H, 57 R, 46 ER, 30 BB, 68 SO). With the Bisons, Drabek faced the IronPigs once last season in a relief role and allowed one run over two innings pitched. A season earlier, Drabek started for the Bisons against the ‘Pigs on August 25, 2013 and allowed three runs on seven hits over 3.1 IP and was charged with the loss. In two career games against the ‘Pigs (both in Buffalo) Drabek is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA (5.1 IP, 4 ER). In six Major League seasons, Drabek owns a career mark of 8-15 with a 5.27 ERA in 42 games (30 starts). He’s appeared in 177.2 IP during that span in the majors. In eight seasons at the Minor League level, Drabek has compiled a 46-35 mark with a 3.92 ERA (142 games, 117 starts). He won a career-best 14 games with Double-A New Hampshire in 2010. That season, he went 14-9 with an impressive 2.94 ERA in 27 games (all starts). He earned 2010 Eastern League Pitcher of the Year honors for his efforts. He was also a mid-season and postseason EL All-Star as well as an MiLB.com Organization All-Star. Kyle is the son of former Major League Doug, who won 155 games over his Major League career. Doug was the 1990 Cy Young Award winner while pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

DANKS FOR THE MEMORIES: IronPigs OF Jordan Danks spent parts of five seasons with the Knights (2010-14) and holds the Knights franchise record for hits with 449. He is also the all-time Knights franchise leader in games played (463), runs scored (250), triples (12), walks (215), and at-bats (1682). He is second in doubles (95) and RBIs (221) and fourth in home runs (52). Only Danks and Joe Borchard have compiled 1,600+ at bats, 400+ games played, 400+ hits, and 200+ runs in franchise history. He broke the Knights hit record on August 1, 2014 during the resumption of the July 31st suspended game at BB&T Ballpark.

ERIK WITH A “K”: With seven solid innings yesterday, RHP Erik Johnson (4-3, 3.96) notched his fourth win of the season (tying Jarrett Casey for the team-high). Johnson allowed just one run on six hits over seven innings while fanning a season-high nine batters. He last fanned nine batters on April 15, 2014 with Chicago vs. Boston. His career game-high is 10.

BASH BROTHERS: 1B/DH Dan Black and 3B Matt Davidson are tied for second in the IL this season in home runs – one behind Ian Stewart of SYR and Kyle Roller of SWB. Black is now hitting .318 (34-for-107) and is first in the IL in on-base percentage (.439) and tied for first in slugging percentage (.561). He is second in HR/AB with a home run every 17.83 at-bats, first in intentional walks with five and third in walks with 23. Black had a 25-game on-base streak snapped with a 0-for-4 game on May 8. During his 25-game on-base streak, which began on July 28, 2014 (five games from last year and 20 from this year), Black hit .342 with four homers and 16 RBIs. Davidson has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games.

THOMPSON’S SEAL: OF Trayce Thompson scored the go-ahead run in Tuesday’s game, which sealed the victory for the Knights. Yesterday, Thompson recorded two hits and is beginning to heat up. Over his last four games, the former White Sox second-rounder (June 2009 draft) has seven hits with one home run and five RBIs. He hit .325 (25-for-77) in 20 games during the month of April.

COATS OF ARMOR: OF Jason Coats extended his hit-streak to 11-straight games yesterday and finished the game with two hits (2-for-5) for the second-straight game. Coats, who is now hitting .309 (30-for-97) this season in 24 games with the Knights, has hit safely in 16 of his last 18 games. During the month of May, he is hitting .329 (23-for-70). Overall, Coats has hit safely in 20 of his 24 games with the Knights.

THRIVING IN MAY AND ON-THE-ROAD: In 14 games this month, infielder Leury Garcia is hitting .333 (19-for-57) with four doubles and four RBIs. He continued his hot-hitting on the road as well. Through 15 road games this season, Garcia owns a .344 batting average (21-for-61) with eight runs scored, four doubles, and four RBIs.

THE SKIPPER TOO: Joel Skinner has compiled a total 234 Knights wins — the most in franchise history in four seasons. Skinner and former Knights manager Nick Leyva (202) are the only two managers in franchise history to win 200 games. In 12 seasons as a Minor League manager (including this season), he owns a career 827-727 record. At the Triple-A level (five seasons including this year), he has a 320-294 record.

Knights Knotes — May 11, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) return home to the friendly confines of BB&T Ballpark tonight to open a seven-game homestand and a four-game series against the Louisville Bats (Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds) at 7:05 p.m. in Uptown Charlotte. After dropping the first four games of the road trip – and five-in-a-row overall – the Knights battled back to win the final two games on the trip against the Toledo Mud Hens (Triple-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers) to win the three-game series (2-1). The Knights find themselves in third place in the IL South Division (two games back of the first place Durham Bulls). knights knotes

THE LAST KNIGHTS GAME: Down 4-2 in the eighth inning, Carlos Sanchez and Neftali Soto started a rally with back-to-back singles to lead-off the frame. After fouling off his first sacrifice-bunt attempt, Matt Davidson watched four consecutive balls go by to draw a walk from RHP Jose Valdez to load the bases. Valdez – who would eventually be saddled with the loss – was then relieved by RHP Alberto Cabrera, and Cabrera’s first pitch to Dan Black was sent deep to right-center field and over the wall to give the Knights a 6-4 advantage and the game three win. LHP Jarrett Casey (3-0, 2.25) tossed two scoreless innings in relief of starter Erik Johnson to earn the win.

KNIGHTS STARTER: RHP Kyle Drabek (0-1, 2.57) will make his fourth Knights start of the season tonight. Drabek went a season-high six innings in his last start – back on May 6 in Columbus and was saddled with the loss (6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO). The former Phillies farmhand was designated for assignment by the Chicago White Sox (April 20) and officially outrighted to Charlotte on April 22. He made his Knights debut on April 24 at Norfolk (4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 SO) and was sharp in his first start at the Triple-A level since August 31, 2014 when he made his final appearance of the season with Buffalo at Syracuse (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB). In three games with the White Sox this year, the 27-year-old Texas native posted a 5.06 ERA (5.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO). He was claimed by the White Sox on March 27, 2015 off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. Last season with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, Drabek appeared in 32 games and started 13 – posting a 7-7 mark with a 4.18 ERA (99.0 IP, 116 H, 57 R, 46 ER, 30 BB, 68 SO). With the Bisons, Drabek faced the Bats on two occasions in his career (both last season) and owns a 2-0 record with a 1.38 ERA (13.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 7 BB, 11 SO). His last game against Louisville came on 5/22/14 in Louisville (8.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO). In six Major League seasons, Drabek owns a career mark of 8-15 with a 5.27 ERA in 42 games (30 starts). He’s appeared in 177.2 IP during that span in the majors. In eight seasons at the Minor League level, Drabek has compiled a 46-35 mark with a 3.95 ERA (141 games, 116 starts). He won a career-best 14 games with Double-A New Hampshire in 2010. That season, he went 14-9 with an impressive 2.94 ERA in 27 games (all starts). He earned 2010 Eastern League Pitcher of the Year honors for his efforts. He was also a mid-season and postseason EL All-Star as well as an MiLB.com Organization All-Star. Kyle is the son of former Major League Doug, who won 155 games over his Major League career. Doug was the 1990 Cy Young Award winner while pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

BLACK IS BACK: 1B/DH Dan Black launched a game-winning grand slam in yesterday’s game – his second grand slam of his Knights career and his fifth home run of the season. In 23 games this season, he is hitting .324 (24-for-74) and is second in the IL in on-base percentage (.452) and first in slugging percentage (.581). He is also first in HR/AB with a home run every 14.80 at-bats, first in intentional walks with three, and is tied for third in the IL in walks with 18. Black had a 25-game on-base streak snapped with an 0-for-4 game on May 8. During his 25-game on-base streak, which began on July 28, 2014 (five games from last year and 20 from this year), he hit .342 with four homers and 16 RBIs.

JAVY IS BACK: RHP Javy Guerra was returned from his Major League Rehab assignment with the Knights on May 6, activated by the Chicago White Sox and designated for assignment. Guerra has now been outrighted to the Knights and is active for tonight’s game. This season, Guerra appeared in four rehab games for the Knights and posted a 0-0 mark with a 17.18 ERA (3.2 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO). Guerra was placed on Chicago’s 15-day disabled list on April 20 (retroactive to April 13) with right shoulder inflammation after appearing in three games with the White Sox earlier this year (1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO).

TOP 4: Carlos Sanchez moved into a tie with Brian Daubach for fourth place on the Knights all-time franchise hits list after going 1-for-5 yesterday – his 285th career Knights hit. Sanchez is now hitting .364 on the season in 26 games – good for third best in the IL. Sanchez – who has earned two IL Batter of the Week honors this season – is currently first in the IL in hits (43), second in total bases (59), tied for second in doubles (10), and fourth in at-bats (118). On the all-time hits list, Sanchez trails Jordan Danks, now with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, who broke the all-time hits record last season on August 1. Danks (449) leads the pack ahead of Joe Borchard (439) and Josh Phegley (312).

ON THE BASES: Leury Garcia extended his hit-streak to five games yesterday – going 2-for-5 with a run scored. It was his 10th multi-hit game of the season. Garcia also swiped his 12th base of the season and is tied for second in the IL in stolen bases with Gwinnett’s Jose Peraza. Garcia bumped up his road batting average to .313 (15-for-48) on the year.

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.

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).

Knights Knotes — May 6, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: After a loss in last night’s game to the Columbus Clippers (Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians) – and back-to-back losses, the Knights and Durham Bulls are now tied for first place in the IL South Division. Charlotte has won six of their last 10, while Durham has won seven of their last 10. Still, the Knights have some of the hottest hitters in the IL – including leading hitter Carlos Sanchez (.411) and home run leader Matt Davidson (6). knights knotes

LAST KNIGHTS GAME: Carlos Moncrief launched two home runs, Catawba College standout Jerry Sands added another, and the Columbus Clippers beat the Charlotte Knights by a score of 10-3 in the opening game of their three-game series from Huntington Park in Columbus, OH on Tuesday. The Clippers used three home runs and 13 hits en-route to winning the first matchup between the two teams this season.

KNIGHTS STARTER: RHP Kyle Drabek (0-0, 3.38) will make his third Knights start of the season tonight. Drabek has tossed four innings in each of his last two starts with the Knights. The former Phillies farmhand was designated for assignment by the Chicago White Sox (April 20) and officially outrighted to Charlotte on April 22. He made his Knights debut on April 24 at Norfolk (4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 SO) and was sharp in his first start at the Triple-A level since August 31, 2014 when he made his final appearance of the season with Buffalo at Syracuse (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB). In three games with the White Sox this year, the 27-year-old Texas native posted a 5.06 ERA (5.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO). He was claimed by the White Sox on March 27, 2015 off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. Last season with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, Drabek appeared in 32 games and started 13 – posting a 7-7 mark with a 4.18 ERA (99.0 IP, 116 H, 57 R, 46 ER, 30 BB, 68 SO). With the Bisons, Drabek faced the Clippers on two occasions last year and posted a 1-0 record with a 1.29 ERA (2 G, 7.0 IP, ER, 3 BB, 3 SO). His last game against Columbus came on 6/26 in Buffalo (2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO). In six Major League seasons, Drabek owns a career mark of 8-15 with a 5.27 ERA in 42 games (30 starts). He’s appeared in 177.2 IP during that span in the majors. In eight seasons at the Minor League level, Drabek has compiled a 46-34 mark with a 3.97 ERA (140 games, 115 starts). He won a career-best 14 games with Double-A New Hampshire in 2010. That season, he went 14-9 with an impressive 2.94 ERA in 27 games (all starts). He earned 2010 Eastern League Pitcher of the Year honors for his efforts. He was also a mid-season and postseason EL All-Star as well as an MiLB.com Organization All-Star. Kyle is the son of former Major League Doug, who won 155 games over his Major League career. Doug was the 1990 Cy Young Award winner while pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

HOME RUN MATT: Last night, 3B Matt Davidson launched his IL leading sixth homer of the season. Davidson, who passed Chris Colabello (Buffalo), has homered once every 15.00 at-bats. His 45 total bases are the sixth highest in the IL and his 16 RBIs are the third highest. 0340

BATTER OF THE WEEK: Infielder Carlos Sanchez – the International League leader with a .411 batting average through 21 games – remained red-hot on Tuesday. Sanchez, who was named as the IL Batter of the Week for the period of April 27-May3 — his second IL Batter of the Week award already this season — went 2-for-4 with two RBIs last night. The 22-year-old slick-fielding infielder, who reached base in 10-straight plate appearances last week — is currently first in batting average (.411), first in hits (39), first in total bases (55), tied for first in doubles (10), tied for second in extra-base hits (12), and second in slugging percentage (.579). He has hit safely in 19 of 21 games he’s played in this season with the Charlotte Knights. The Venezuelan native is also climbing the all-time Knights franchise mark in hits. His 281 career hits in a Knights uniform 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).

DESIGNATED FOR ASSIGNMENT: RHP Javy Guerra was returned from his MLB Rehab assignment today, reinstated off Chicago’s 15-day disabled list, and designated for assignment by the White Sox. Guerra made his fourth appearance with the Knights on Tuesday and allowed five earned runs over 0.2 innings pitched. Guerra was placed on Chicago’s 15-day disabled list on April 20 (retroactive to April 13) with right shoulder inflammation. Through four MLB Rehab games with the Knights this season, Guerra posted a 0-0 mark with a 17.18 ERA (3.2 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO).

DAN THE MAN: 1B/DH Dan Black walked twice on Tuesday and has now reached base in all 18 games he’s played in this season. Dating back to last season (July 28, 2014), he has reached base in 23-straight games. He is now hitting .339 (19-for-56) with four home runs and 13 RBIs this year. During his 23-game on-base streak, Black is hitting .342 with four homers and 16 RBIs. His 23-gamer is the current longest in the IL. He currently leads the IL in on-base percentage (.472) and slugging percentage (.625) and is eighth in the league in batting average. Black has the best HR/AB ration with a home run every 14.00 at-bats.

ATTENDANCE FEVER: The Charlotte Knights have welcomed 139,599 fans through 15 regular season home games this season. Sunday’s game was the team’s eighth sell-out crowd of the season. The defending attendance champions are now first overall in both overall attendance and average attendance per game. The Knights are averaging 9,307 fans per game. 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 was promoted to the Knights on April 23 from Double-A Birmingham and has hit well with the Knights. The Dallas, TX native, who is hitting .310 on the year with Charlotte, has hit safely in five–straight games after a single in last night’s game. Coats has hit safely in nine of his 11 games with Charlotte and has scored a run in three-straight games. In seven home games, Coats is hitting .345 (10-for-29) with two runs scored and 10 RBIs.

THE HEAT IS ON: RHP Maikel Cleto 25, struck-out two batters over a scoreless innings last night. Cleto, who did not allow a run this season in his first six games (12.0 IP), lowered his ERA to 0.64 on the season through eight games. Although it was snapped in his previous outing, Cleto did not allow a run in 11-straight games — dating back to July 18, 2014 (19.2 IP). Overall for the season, he owns a 1-0 record with a 0.64 ERA in eight games (14.0 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 15 SO).

CHARLOTTE’S WEB: RHP Daniel Webb allowed just one hit over 2.1 scoreless innings last night while fanning three batters. Webb has now not allowed a run over his last three games (6.1 IP). He has allowed just four hits while striking out eight batters over that span.

Knights Knotes — April 25, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: knights knotesThe first place Charlotte Knights will look to win their second game in-a-row and third of the road trip as they face the Norfolk Tides tonight at Harbor Park in Norfolk, VA for game two of the three-game set. Three strong pitching performances (Drabek, Cleto, and Leon) and timely hitting led the Charlotte Knights to a 4-1 win over the Tides in game one last night. With Charlotte’s win last night, the Knights moved into first place in the IL South Division and are now 0.5 games ahead of the Tides. Norfolk began the day 0.5 games ahead of the Knights. Both Norfolk and Charlotte are 6-4 over their last 10 games. Charlotte is 3-2 against Norfolk this year.

KNIGHTS STARTER: Charlotte RHP Shawn Haviland (0-1, 2.79) will make his third start of the 2015 season today in game two of the three-game series from Norfolk. Haviland has faced Durham in both of his starts so far this season. His first start – 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). On April 13, Haviland allowed just two hits over five scoreless innings but did not factor in the decision. He walked one and fanned four. 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. (Also of note, Haviland’s teammates in that game were former Knights Dallas McPherson, Michael Taylor, and Steve Tolleson. Coco Crisp played CF). In seven professional seasons, Haviland owns a 37-50 mark with a 4.66 ERA in 797.0 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.

WELCOME BACK TO CHARLOTTE: Charlotte 49ers standout Tyler Barnette, a native of Hickory, NC, has been promoted to the Charlotte Knights today from Single-A Winston-Salem. Barnette, 22, appeared in three games with the Dash this season and did not allow an earned run in four innings pitched. Drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 14th round of the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft, Barnette appeared in three games for the Knights last season and posted a 0-0 mark with a 9.53 ERA (5.2 IP, 10 H, 11 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO). In three seasons for the nearby Charlotte 49ers, Barnette compiled an 18-8 record with a 3.37 ERA (235.0 IP). In 2011, Barnette was named Atlantic-10 Freshman of the Year after tying for second in the Atlantic 10 with nine wins and finishing third with a 2.29 ERA after 90.1 innings pitched. In 2012, he was named to the Preseason All-Conference Second Team by College Madness.com.

THE HITS KEEP ON COMING: Carlos Sanchez, the reigning IL Player of the Week for the period of April 13-19, hit safely in his 12th game of the season and 13th-straight overall yesterday (dating back to August 20, 2014). His 13-game hit-streak is the longest current streak in the IL this season. Sanchez, who began the season in Chicago with the White Sox, hit an RBI single in his final at-bat of the game yesterday to extend his streak to another game. He is now hitting .382 in 12 games this season with the Knights and is currently second in the IL in hits (21). Last week, he appeared in six games for the Knights and hit a stunning .536 (15-for-28) with six runs scored, four doubles, six RBIs, and one stolen base on his way to claiming IL Player of the Week.

ON-BASE: 1B/DH Dan Black launched his third home run of the season last night in the seventh inning of the 4-1 victory. Black and Davidson are now tied for the team lead in home runs. Black’s homer had even more meaning as he has now reached base in all nine games he’s played in this season and has a hit in his last six. Dating back to last season (July 28, 2014), Black has reached base in 14-straight games. He is now hitting .323 (10-for-31) with three home runs and seven RBIs this year. During his 14-game on-base streak, Black is hitting .333 with three homers and 10 RBIs. Lehigh Valley’s Maikel Franco currently has a 17-gamer.

SCORELESS STREAK: RHP Maikel Cleto has started strong this season and he continued that on Friday and earned his first win of the season. Cleto, 25, tossed three shutout innings yesterday and has not allowed a run this season in five games (9.2 IP). Dating back to July 18, 2014 – Cleto has not allowed a run with the Knights over his last 10 games (17.1 IP). He has allowed just six hits and has fanned 23 batters over that span. He did not allow a run in his final three appearances with the Chicago last season either (9/20-26).

KNIGHTS DEBUT
: RHP Kyle Drabek made his Charlotte Knights debut last night and was sharp. Drabek, who began the season with the Chicago White Sox and appeared in three games, tossed four shutout inning for the Knights last night. He allowed just three hits and struck-out one. Drabek started 2015 on Toronto’s roster, but was put on waivers on March 27. The White Sox claimed him – thus adding him to their 25-man roster. On April 20, the White Sox designated him for assignment and two days later outrighted him to Charlotte.

TRAYCE AT THE PLATE: CF Trayce Thompson began the 2015 season red-hot. He hit safely in his first 10 games and had a .385 batting average over that span. His 10-game hit streak came to an end on Monday after he went 0-for-4 on the evening. Last night, Thompson had a solid game at the plate – ripping three hits in four at-bats. He scored two runs and also doubled. Through 15 games during his first full season at the Triple-A level, Thompson is hitting .333 (19-for-57). So far this year, both Thompson and Carlos Sanchez have started the season with hit streaks of 10 or more. Last season, the Knights saw five different players accumulate hit streaks of 10 games or more, including catcher Josh Phegley, who hit in a team-high 17-straight games from June 30-July 24.

KNIGHTS VS. TIDES 2015: CF Trayce Thompson is hitting .421 (8-for-19) in five games against the Tides this season. Slugger Dan Black is hitting .500 (5-for-10) with two of his three home runs. Catcher Kevan Smith is hitting .308 (4-for-13) in four games. Now on the DL, Tyler Saladino hit .462 (6-for-13) in three games against the Tides earlier this year. As a team, the Knights are hitting .278 against the Tides over five games with four home runs and 21 RBIs.

Knights Knotes — April 23, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights and Durham Bulls will conclude their four-game series tonight from Durham Bulls Athletic Park at 7:05 p.m. The Knights will look for the series split tonight with a win. Charlotte has not lost a series yet this season. Tonight’s finale will conclude their fifth series of the young season. The Knights enter today’s game in first place, 0.5 games ahead of Norfolk, who lost last night 3-2. knights knotes

LAST KNIGHTS GAME: Charlotte third baseman Matt Davidson launched his team-high third home run of the season in the top of the ninth inning on Wednesday night to break a 2-2 tie in Durham and give the Knights a 3-2 win. Although he didn’t factor in the decision, Charlotte starter Scott Carroll was solid over 5.2 IP (4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO). RHP Jairo Asencio notched his league-high fifth save of the season.

KNIGHTS STARTER: RHP Erik Johnson (2-0, 1.13) will make his second start of the 2015 season tonight as he toes the rubber for Charlotte in the finale against Durham. Johnson made his 2015 debut on April 13 in relief against the Bulls and earned the win after three scoreless innings out of the bullpen. He gave up just two hits while fanning three batters. 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). Johnson vs. Durham (2014): He made one start and allowed two runs on four hits over four innings in a no-decision on August 1 at BB&T Ballpark. Johnson vs. Durham (2013): He went 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA in two starts vs. the Bulls (11.0 IP, 10 H, 1 R, SO).

EN FUEGO: Carlos Sanchez, the reigning IL Player of the Week for the period of April 13-19, hit safely in his 10th game of the season and 11th-straight overall yesterday (dating back to August 20, 2014). His streak is now the current longest in the IL. Sanchez, who began the season in Chicago with the White Sox, is now hitting an IL best .413 in 10 games this season. The 22-year-old infielder is currently tied for second in the IL in hits (19) and tied for second in doubles (5).

ROSTER MOVES: The Knights announced a number of roster moves – including RHP Kyle Drabek, who was outrighted by Chicago to the Knights yesterday. Drabek is not on Charlotte’s active roster at this time. Infielder Tyler Saladino was placed on the DL (retroactive to April 22). He was hitting .289 (13-for-45) with six runs scored, one double, one triple, seven RBIs and five stolen bases for the Knights in 11 games this season. Infielder Justin Jirschele was assigned to Double-A Birmingham today. He appeared in two games for the Knights this season and went 1-for-7 at the plate. The Knights received two players from Birmingham today, infielder Drew Garcia, who returns to the Knights after spending 2011-2013 with the team – and outfielder Jason Coats. Garcia was signed by the White Sox as a free agent on January 20, 2015 after spending the entire 2014 campaign with Triple-A Colorado Springs. He began the 2015 season with Double-A Birmingham and was hitting .500 (5-for-10) over five games. Garcia was originally selected by the White Sox in the 21st round of the 2008 draft. Coats was hitting .340 (16-for-47) with six runs scored, nine doubles and two RBIs for the Double-A Birmingham Barons at the time of today’s promotion to Charlotte. Coats, a Dallas, TX native, was originally drafted by the White Sox in the 29th round of the 2012 draft.BF3_0186

ON-BASE: With a hit in yesterday’s game, 1B/DH Dan Black has now reached base in all seven games he’s played in this season. Dating back to last season (July 28, 2014), Black has reached base in 12-straight games. He is now hitting .333 (8-for-24) with two home runs and six RBIs.

HR MATT: 3B Matt Davidson entered this season with 100 home runs under his belt at the Minor League level. He slugged 20 home runs last year in his first season in Chicago’s organization – all of them coming with the Knights as he spent the entire season with the team. Last night, Davidson’s solo ninth-inning home run proved to be the game-winner. It was his third overall of the season, which is the most on the team this season and tied for second overall in the IL behind SWB’s Ramon Flores (4).

SAVE THE LAST INNING FOR JAIRO: RHP Jairo Asencio notched his International League leading fifth save of the season on yesterday after a scoreless ninth inning for the Knights. In six games this season, Asencio is sporting a 2.57 ERA (7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 9 SO). Asencio led the IL in saves with 28 while he was a member of Norfolk in 2013. He also led the IL in saves during two stints with Gwinnett (27 in 2009 and 26 in 2011).

Knights Knotes — April 21, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: After coming off their shortest game of the season (2:14) in their previous outing (Saturday), and being rained out on Sunday, the Knights had their longest night of the season last night after a one-hour and 29-minute rain delay got things started. After the delay, the Knights and Bulls battled in a two-hour and 43-minute game. The two teams will have an early start today as the Knights and Bulls will play an 11:05 a.m. game. The Knights will host an 11:05 a.m. game at BB&T Ballpark on Wednesday, April 29 against Toledo. knights knotes

LAST KNIGHTS GAME: The Charlotte Knights (7-4) had their four-game winning streak snapped by their in-state rival Durham Bulls (5-7), falling 5-1 on Monday night. The Bulls pitching staff was able to keep the Knights offense – who had tallied at least five runs in seven of their first 10 games – to only one run on six hits; both season-lows. Durham starter Everett Teaford allowed one run on five hits over six innings for the win. With the loss, the Knights enter today’s game 0.5 games behind Norfolk for first place in the IL South.

KNIGHTS STARTER: RHP Chris Beck (0-0, 3.72), who is ranked as the number 11 prospect in the Chicago White Sox system by Baseball America, toes the rubber this morning for the Knights in his third start of the season. Beck, 24, last pitched for the Knights on April 15 in Gwinnett and was solid over five innings of one-run ball in a no-decision. 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.

BATTING AVERAGE LEADER: Speaking of hit-streaks, Carlos Sanchez continued his impressive 2015 season last night. Sanchez, who was named as the IL Player of the Week for the period of April 13-19, earlier in the day, hit safely in his eighth game of the season and ninth-straight overall dating back to August 20, 2014. Sanchez, who began the season in Chicago with the White Sox, went 1-for-4 with an RBI last night and is now hitting .439 over his nine-game hit-streak. He is hitting an IL best .459 in eight games this season. Last week, he appeared in six games for the Knights and hit a stunning .536 (15-for-28) with six runs scored, four doubles, six RBIs, and one stolen base. The 22-year-old infielder is currently tied for first overall in the IL in hits (17) and ranked third in on-base percentage (.474).

THRICE IS NICE: 3B Matt Davidson had three of Charlotte’s six hits last night, finishing 3-for-4 on the evening. It was his first three-hit game since August 11, 2014 at Syracuse. He had six three-hit games last season. Davidson has hit safely in seven of his 10 games this year and has an RBI in five of his 10 games.

10-GAMERS: CF Trayce Thompson’s 10-game hit streak came to an end last night after he went 0-for-4 on the evening. Thompson entered play last night as the only IL player this season to hit safely in all 10 games played in. Teammate Tyler Saladino had a 10-game hit streak that was snapped back on April 11, 2015. He started that streak back on July 4, 2014. Last season, the Knights saw five different players accumulate hit streaks of 10 games or more, including catcher Josh Phegley, who hit in a team-high 17-straight games from June 30-July 24.

Knights Knotes — April 20, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights and Gwinnett Braves were postponed Sunday thus ending their series at just two games – which the Knights swept. The Knights enter tonight’s game with Durham having won their last four games – all against the G-Braves. It’s Charlotte’s longest win-streak since a four-game sweep of the Norfolk Tides last season from August 22 to August 25. Charlotte enters today’s game with a 1-1 mark against the Bulls so far this season.knights knotes

THE LAST KNIGHTS GAME: A sell-out crowd of 10,527 fans filled BB&T Ballpark to watch the Charlotte Knights (7-3) claim sole possession of first place in the International League South Division with a 6-2 victory – the team’s fourth consecutive win over the Gwinnett Braves (3-7) on Saturday. The crowd was the largest at BB&T Ballpark during the 2015 regular season and it was the club’s fourth sell-out of the year. Matt Davidson put the Knights on the scoreboard last night with a two-run home run in the first inning off former Knights teammate Chien-Ming Wang.

KNIGHTS STARTER: Charlotte RHP Shawn Haviland (0-0, 0.00) will make his second start of the 2015 season today in the opening game of a four-game series with the Durham Bulls from the DBAP tonight. His last start – 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). On April 13, Haviland allowed just two hits over five scoreless innings but did not factor in the decision. He walked one and fanned four. 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. (Also of note, Haviland’s teammates in that game were former Knights Dallas McPherson, Michael Taylor, and Steve Tolleson. Coco Crisp played CF). In six professional seasons, Haviland owns a 37-49 mark with a 4.69 ERA in 787.2 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.

RODON PROMOTED, PETRICKA ACTIVATED BY SOX: Charlotte LHP Carlos Rodon, who entered the season ranked by Baseball America as the top prospect in Chicago’s system, had his contract purchased by the Chicago White Sox today. Rodon posted a 1-0 record with a 3.60 ERA in two starts for the Charlotte Knights this season. The 22-yeqar-old notched his first professional win earlier this year (April 11) in a solid outing for the Charlotte Knights at BB&T Ballpark against the Norfolk Tides. On that day, the hard-throwing left-hander allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits over five innings. He fanned a career-high nine batters and did so in front of a sold-out crowd of 10,480 fans at BB&T Ballpark. In his next outing of the season – which took place at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, GA – Rodon gave up three runs on six hits over five innings in a no-decision. In all, Rodon appeared in five games for the Knights over parts of two seasons and compiled a 1-0 record with a 3.27 ERA in 22 innings pitched. He allowed 17 hits and struck-out 31 batters over that span. RHP Jake Petricka was reinstated from the DL today after completing his Major League Rehab assignment, which started with the Knights on Thursday and continued on Saturday. In two games, he pitched two scoreless innings. He began the 2015season on Chicago’s DL with a right forearm strain.

Sanchez_CarlosIL PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Carlos Sanchez — the International League’s leader in batting average with an impressive .485 mark –was named as the IL Player of the Week for the period of April 13-19. Sanchez, who began the season in Chicago with the White Sox, has hit safely in all seven games he’s played in this season with the Knights. He appeared in six games for the Knights last week and hit a stunning .536 (15-for-28) with six runs scored, four doubles, six RBIs, and one stolen base. The 22-year-old infielder is currently tied for second overall in the IL in hits (16), ranked third in on-base percentage (.500), and fourth in slugging (.606).

SOLID START: RHP Erik Johnson (2-0, 1.13) impressed in his first start (second appearance) of 2015, spinning five strong innings of one-run baseball. The second round pick by Chicago in 2011 also struck out four in his first start as a Knight since August 12 of last season. Johnson first appeared for the Knights this season in relief of Shawn Haviland (today’s starter) back on April 13. That day, Johnson threw three scoreless innings out of the bullpen for the Knights and earned his first win of the season.

10 FOR TRAYCE: CF Trayce Thompson extended his hit-streak to 10-straight games on Saturday and is now hitting .385 (15-for-39) this season which is the eighth highest mark in the IL so far this year. Thompson is the only player this season in the IL to safely hit in 10 consecutive games, although his 10-game hit-streak is tied with Steve Lombardozzi (Indianapolis) for second place currently. Lombardozzi’s streak started on August 31, 2014. Pawtucket’s Blake Swihart has a 12-game hit streak – which also started last year. His streak began on August 27, 2014. Thompson’s 15 hits are tied for third in the league with three others.

SAVE THE LAST INNING FOR JAIRO: RHP Jairo Asencio notched his International League leading fourth save of the season on Friday night after a scoreless ninth inning for the Knights. He is tied for the league lead after Shawn Armstrong recorded his fourth on Saturday. Asencio fanned two batters and now has fanned seven batters in five innings pitched this season. He has a 1.80 ERA (5.0 IP, 2 R, 1 ER) so far this season. Asencio led the IL in saves with 28 while he was a member of Norfolk in 2013. He also led the IL in saves during two stints with Gwinnett (27 in 2009 and 26 in 2011).

ATTENDANCE FEVER: Through eight regular season home games, the defending attendance champions – the Charlotte Knights — have welcomed a league-high 74,118 fans through the gates. The team is also averaging 9,265 fans per game. 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

Knights Knotes — April 18, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: Fresh off their third-straight win against the Gwinnett Braves, the Charlotte Knights host game two of their three-game set tonight with a 7:05 p.m. game at BB&T Ballpark. The Knights won both games in Gwinnett (Wednesday and Thursday) and went on to win last night’s opener, 7-5. Charlotte’s last three-game win-streak came last year from August 22 to August 25 in a four-game sweep of the Norfolk Tides from at BB&T Ballpark. The Knights entered this season with a three-game losing streak against the G-Braves and now have a three-game win-streak against their IL South Division foe.knights knotes

ABOUT LAST KNIGHT: The Charlotte Knights (6-3) used a pair of three-run innings on their way to a 7-5 victory over the Gwinnett Braves (3-6) for their third consecutive win. The first three-run frame for the Knights started with Trayce Thompson’s bat staying hot as he connected on a RHP Matt Wisler offering for his first home run of 2015 – extending his hitting streak to nine games – to put the Knights on the ‘board in the bottom of the second inning. RHP Scott Carroll (1-1, 3.00) was impressive on the mound for the Knights, spinning five innings of two-hit baseball to earn his first win of the season. The G-Braves were able to tally a pair of runs in the top of the second inning off of Carroll (one earned run) despite only one hit – a Pedro Ciriaco lead-off single – in the frame.

KNIGHTS STARTER: RHP Erik Johnson (1-0, 0.00) will make his first start of the 2015 season tonight as he toes the rubber for Charlotte in game two of their three-game series. Johnson made his 2015 debut on April 13 in relief of RHP Shawn Haviland and earned the win after three scoreless innings out of the bullpen. He gave up just two hits while fanning three batters. 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). In June of 2011, the White Sox made Johnson their second round pick in the draft, the 80th player chosen overall. He signed for a bonus of $450,000. Adam Virchis is the scout who signed him.

REHABBING: Chicago White Sox RHP Jake Petricka began a Major League Rehab assignment with the Charlotte Knights on Thursday and entered the game in the sixth inning in relief of Carlos Rodon. Petricka, 26, began the 2015 season on Chicago’s disabled list with a right forearm strain. On Thursday for Charlotte, he tossed a scoreless, hitless inning – striking out one batter while tossing 16 pitches (11 for strikes). He’s expected to pitch again tonight.

NINE KNOCKS: CF Trayce Thompson extended his hit-streak to an International League high nine-straight games last night after smashing his first career Triple-A home run in the 2nd inning of last night’s game. The 24-year-old is now hitting .400 (14-for-35) through nine games on the season – which is the sixth highest mark in the IL so far this year. His 14 hits are tied for second in the league with Toledo’s Dixon Machado. He also has the fourth-highest slugging percentage in the IL with a .629 mark.

CHARLOTTE LEADERBOARD: The Knights enter play tonight with the top batting average in the IL after nine games. Charlotte’s team mark of .294 is 27 points higher than second place Pawtucket (.267). The Knights are also tied with Pawtucket for the lead in slugging percentage (.408), first in triples (5) and are in second place in total bases (129) – nine behind the PawSox. Charlotte’s 15 team stolen bases are also first in the league.

DR. K: RHP Maikel Cleto continued his solid stretch of pitching with the Charlotte Knights. Cleto has started strong this season and last night he struck-out two batters over two scoreless innings. So far this season (three appearances). Cleto, 25, has fanned nine batters in just 5.2 scoreless innings. Dating back to July 18, 2014 – Cleto has not allowed a run with the Knights over his last eight games (13.1 IP). He has allowed just four hits and has fanned 21 batters over that span. He did not allow a run in his final three appearances with the Chicago last season either (9/20-26).

‘LOS IS MORE: Infielder Carlos Sanchez has hit safely in all six games he’s played in this season since being optioned to Charlotte after beginning the season in Chicago with the White Sox. Sanchez is batting .448 (13-for-29) over six games with two doubles and five RBIs. He’s second in the IL in batting average and he’s put together three multi-hit games already this year – with three hits in all three of those games. He has scored a run in four of his six games and his 13 hits are tied for third in the IL.

SAVE THE LAST INNING FOR JAIRO: RHP Jairo Asencio notched his International League leading fourth save of the season last night after a scoreless ninth inning for the Knights. Asencio fanned two batters and now has fanned seven batters in five innings pitched this season. He has a 1.80 ERA (5.0 IP, 2 R, 1 ER) so far this season. Asencio led the IL in saves with 28 while he was a member of Norfolk in 2013. He also led the IL in saves during two stints with Gwinnett (27 in 2009 and 26 in 2011).

THE SKIPPER TOO: In his fourth season as manager of the Knights, Joel Skinner has compiled 217 wins — the most in franchise history. Skinner and Nick Leyva (202) are the only two managers in Knights history to win 200 games. In 11 seasons overall as a Minor League manager, Skinner owns a career record of 810-715. At the Triple-A level (five seasons including this year), he has a 303-282 record. In 2012, Skinner’s Charlotte Knights posted an 83-61 mark — the club’s second highest single season win total in franchise history (three behind their high mark of 86 set in 1993).

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