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Charlotte Knights enter All-Star break with emphatic win against Syracuse

By Seth Lakso
Correspondent

Matt Tuiasosopo and Michael Taylor found themselves together on the Charlotte Knights roster for the first time June 16.

The Knights entered that day 22 games below .500 and with a clubhouse atmosphere that would have made Charlie Brown seem upbeat on his lowest of days.

On Sunday, a team barely recognizable to the one that struggled through the first half of the season entered the All-Star break fresh off a 13-8 win against the International League-leading Syracuse Chiefs in front of 8,565 at BB&T BallPark.

The win improved the Knights to 17-12 since the acquisitions of Tuiasosopo and Taylor , and it salvaged a series split.

“Before I got here, there had been some struggles and we’ve talked about it,” said Taylor, who went 2-for-4 with a grand slam. “But it seems maybe within the first week I was here, the mood changed.

“It changed from ‘Oh no, here we go again, or how are we going to score enough runs?’ to one where it feels like if (the other team) scores three runs, that we feel like we’ll come back and score five.”

The Chiefs (57-39) scored three runs in the first off Bobby Doran (1-0) in his Charlotte debut, but the Knights (40-58) responded with eight of their own in the bottom half.

Marcus Semien (3-for-4) and Matt Davidson (2-for-4) hit home runs during Charlotte’s first inning, with Semien adding a double to jumpstart a 13-hit day for an offense that has hit .334 over its past 11 games.

Taylor Hill (9-4), who started the game for the Chiefs, entered with the IL’s lowest ERA (2.04), but he lasted just one-third of an inning and allowed six hits, a walk and seven earned runs. The outing was the shortest of Hill’s season by 3 2/3 innings and boosted his ERA to 2.63.

The eight runs were a season-high in an inning for Charlotte.

Asked about what the presence of Tuiasosopo – who reached base three times Sunday – and Taylor has meant to the team, manger Joel Skinner didn’t mince words.

“The way they go about their business” stands out, he said. “Those guys have been at this level and they’ve brought a mature atmosphere to our clubhouse. They’re just good people and it’s rubbed off on everyone.”

Note: Carlos Sanchez was called up to the Chicago White Sox. He started at shortstop and went 0-for-5.

South Atlantic

Rome 9, Hickory 4: The Crawdads hit 13 singles in the loss at Rome. Brandon Barker earned the win. Akeem Bostick took the loss, giving up seven runs on eight hits with one walk and three strikeouts during his 4 1/3 innings.

Asheville 8, Kannapolis 2: Jose Briceno hit two home runs, including a three-run blast in the first inning, to lead visiting Asheville (60-34). Kannapolis (43-49) has lost five straight.

KNIGHTS 13, CHIEFS 8

Syracuseabrhbi
Kobernus cf5010
Rhymes 2b4220
Souza Jr. rf4222
Moore 1b4100
Walters 3b4234
Hood lf5021
Dobbs dh4000
Leon c4100
Johnson ss4010
Totals388118

Charlotteabrhbi
Semien ss4333
Saladino dh5111
Danks cf5221
Davidson 3b4223
Wilkins 1b5020
Tuiasosopo lf3210
Taylor rf4224
Gonzalez c3100
Jirschele 2b3001
Totals36131313

Syracuse3000103108111
Charlotte80040001x13130

E — Johnson (5). DP–Syracuse 1. LOB–Syracuse 9, Charlotte 6. 2B–Hood 2 (16), Rhymes (15), Souza (21), Semien 2 (10), Wilkins (22). 3B–Kobernus (1). HR—Souza (14), Walters (13), Davidson (17), Semien (6), Taylor (3). SF–Jirschele.

SyracuseIPHRERBBSO
Hill L,9-41/367710
Stange22/321111
Holland124010
Grace200022
Cedeno100000
Madrigal131112
Totals 8 13 13 9 6 5

CharlotteIPHRERBBSO
Doran W,1-0564436
Fuentes233311
Rienzo221122
Totals9118869

T-3:00. A-8,565.

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