LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. Chien-Ming Wang dazzled on the mound and Andy Wilkins made Knights history with his bat.
Wang (13-8, 4.12) pitched into the eighth inning Friday, and Wilkins hit his league-leading 30th home run of the season as the Knights picked up a 7-2 win against Gwinnett at Coolray Field.
The first baseman became just the eighth player in franchise history to hit 30 home runs in a season.The homer was also Charlotte’s 175th of the season, tops in all of Class AAA.
Wilkins finished 1-for-3 with the home run, two runs scored, an RBI, and two walks. He leads the IL in both home runs (30) and RBIs (85), and is among the league leaders in a number of other offensive categories. For the season, Wilkins is hitting .293 with 144 total hits.
The Knights got on top early taking a 5-0 after the second inning.
Gwinnett starter Aaron Northcraft (0-7, 6.54) got the big inning going with back-to-back walks to lead off the inning. Justin Jirschele had a two-run single, and Jared Mitchell singled in another run, before red-hot Marcus Semien launched a two-run home run.
Semien has now reached base for the 23rd straight game, and the homer was his 14th of the season.
Michael Taylor added a solo home run in the sixth inning.
Wang encountered his first bit of trouble in the eighth, and gave up two runs in the inning before being removed for reliever Taylor Thompson. Wang’s finished with five hits over 7 1/3 innings and struck out five.
The two teams conclude their two-game series on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. Lefty Carlos Rodon (0-0, 2.57), the number three overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, will start for the Knights against Gwinnett righthander Kanekoa Texeira (3-5, 5.32). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. and Saturday’s game is the final road game of the season for the Knights. The Knights return to BB&T BallPark Sunday at 7:05 p.m. Monday’s season finale is 2:05 p.m.
South Atlantic League
Crawdads 4, Shorebirds 1: Visiting Hickory broke a 1-1 tie with three runs in the top of the ninth inning. Ronald Guzman and Zach Cone each had two hits, and Cone drove in a run.
Reliever Patrick Kaminska got the win, and Jose Valdespina struck out two in the ninth for the save.
Grasshoppers 7, Intimidators 2: Domingo German pitched five innings of one-hit ball, striking out seven to silence host Kannapolis. Four players had multiple hits for Greensboro, which scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning.
Friday’s box score
Knights 7, Braves 2
E — Terdoslavich. DP–CHA: 2, GWI: 1. LOB–CHA: 8, GWI: 5. 2B–Mitchell, Lerud, Reyes, Martinez. 3B–Taylor. HR—Semien, Taylor, Wilkins. SB–Sierra. CS—Mitchell.
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