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Semien, Johnson team up to help Charlotte Knights past Toledo Mud Hens 3-2

By Seth Lakso
Correspondent
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/06/20/21/30/apKT6.Em.138.jpeg|177
    David T. Foster, III - dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte Knights's Marcus Semien (6) hauls in the ball against the Toledo Mud Hens in the 3rd inning of their International League baseball game at BB&T Ballpark on Friday.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/06/20/21/31/pWzeO.Em.138.jpeg|183
    David T. Foster, III - dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte Knights's Micah Johnson (3) slides safely into second as Toledo Mud Hens' Brandon Douglas (11) waits for the ball in the 1st inning of their International League baseball game at BB&T Ballpark on Friday, June 20, 2014.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/06/20/21/30/1gwjHk.Em.138.jpeg|373
    David T. Foster, III - dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte Knights's Marcus Semien (6) connects for an RBI/single against the Toledo Mud Hens in the 3rd inning of their International League baseball game at BB&T Ballpark on Friday, June 20, 2014.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/06/20/21/31/SFGFD.Em.138.jpeg|191
    David T. Foster, III - dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte Knights's Micah Johnson (3) scores against the Toledo Mud Hens in the 1st inning of their International League baseball game at BB&T Ballpark on Friday, June 20, 2014.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/06/20/21/30/8SwMT.Em.138.jpeg|223
    David T. Foster, III - dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte Knights's Carlos Sanchez (13) turns a double play as Toledo Mud Hens' Wade Gaynor (16) slides into second in the 3rd inning of their International League baseball game at BB&T Ballpark on Friday, June 20, 2014.

Charlotte fans possibly got a glimpse into the Chicago White Sox’s future infield Friday night when Marcus Semien knocked in Micah Johnson twice in a 3-2 Knights win against the Toledo Mud Hens.

Semien and Johnson finished a combined 2-for-7, but accounted for two thirds of the Knights’ runs, while the rest of the team combined to leave 10 runners on base in front of a sold out crowd of 10,410 at BB&T BallPark

Johnson – who was designated hitter, but normally plays second base – led off the game with a single to center. He then stole second, took third on a sacrifice fly and came into score on a Semien fly to right.

“Their pitcher was trying to work inside and get me to roll over to the third baseman, so I just tried to get my hands inside the ball and I was able to fly out to right,” said Semien, who started at shortstop. “I got ahead in the count and got something I could get the runner in with.”

In the third, the duo teamed up again to generate another run. Johnson reached second base on a Mud Hens (36-39) throwing error, and Semien sent an RBI single up the middle to put the Knights up 2-0.

“Micah brings a lot of speed and energy to the lineup and really to the whole building,” Knights manager Joel Skinner said. “He was able to steal a bag the first time he got on, and the second at-bat he busted it to first and put pressure on the defense. Both times (Semien) was able to come through with the situational hitting.”

With Gordon Beckham’s contract up at the end of this season and White Sox starting shortstop Alexi Ramirez’s up at the end of the next (Chicago holds a team option for 2016), both Semien and Johnson look to be in line for permanent promotions.

Semien, 23, has already logged 17 games with Chicago this season and was sent back to Charlotte (26-49) only when a roster crunch forced the team’s hand.

Johnson entered the season as the No. 5 prospect in the system and has hit .294 splitting time between Charlotte and Class AA Birmingham.

Matt Tuiasosopo added an RBI single in the sixth to give Charlotte starter Deunte Heath a bit of breathing room.

Heath, who got the nod after Tommy Hanson went down with a groin injury earlier in the week, allowed one run on five hits before being replaced by Matt Zaleski in the seventh.

“Before the game we were trying to figure out how we were going to get to Zaleski,” Skinner said. “Tonight was a situation where (Heath) was able to go through a starter’s routine. He threw the ball well and got out of there in less than 80 pitches.”

A combination of Zaleski (two innings) and Taylor Thompson recorded the game’s final nine outs, while allowing one run. Thompson earned the save, his third of the season.

South Atlantic League

Kannapolis 6, Charleston 1: James Dykstra shut down the RiverDogs with seven innings of five-hit ball as Kannapolis (30-39) picked up the road win. Carl Thomore was 2-for-4 with two RBIs to lead the Intimidators’ offense.

Friday’s box score

Toledoabrhbi
Carrera cf3000
Douglas 2b3001
Collins rf4120
Perez ss4010
McCann c4011
Crowe dh4010
Gaynor lf2000
Lennerton 1b2110
Worth 3b3000
Totals29262

Charlotteabrhbi
Johnson dh4210
Sanchez 2b4010
Semien ss3012
Danks cf3000
Phegley c4110
Davidson 3b3010
Tuiasosopo lf3011
Taylor rf3010
Saladino 1b3000
Totals30373

Toledo000100010261
Charlotte10100100x371

E — Perez, Semien. DP–CHA: 2. LOB–TOL: 4, CHA: 7. 2B–Lennerton, Davidson, Phegley, Tuiasosopo. SF–Douglas, Semien. SB–Johnson. CS—Crowe.

ToledoIPHRERBBSO
Lobstein5 2/363225
Mercedes1 1/31000 0
Augentstein100011

CharlotteIPHRERBBSO
Heath651113
Zaleski211012
Thompson100001

WP-Heath.

T-2:35. A-10,410.

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