The Charlotte Knights slugged their way to an Opening Day 6-3 win over the Norfolk Tides in front of a sold-out crowd of 10,514 at BB&T Ballpark on Thursday.
Veteran righthander Brad Penny (1-0) got the start for the Knights and did a nice job of keeping the ball down. Penny allowed three runs on seven hits over 52/3 innings, striking out two and inducing 12 groundball outs.
Tyler Saladino returned to action for the first time since suffering a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm just prior to the 2014 Triple-A All-Star break. He finished the game 3-for-4 with a triple, a sacrifice fly, two runs knocked in and a stolen base.
After the Tides took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, the Knights responded with a three-run second, which featured a home run by Engel Beltre (1-for-4) in his first at-bat as a member of the Knights.
Matt Davidson (1-for-3, BB) added to the Knights’ lead in the third inning when he sent a 0-1 Tyler Wilson (0-1) fastball deep into the left center-field bleachers.
Kevan Smith, in his first game with the Knights after being promoted from Class AA Birmingham, finished the night 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
“This was the first time in probably my whole career where I went out and threw almost all sinkers. I probably threw three four-seam (fastballs) today. It felt pretty good and it was getting groundballs; that’s what I want. I just don’t throw as hard as I used to, so now I’ve got to get some groundballs.” – Knights’ starter Brad Penny
The game was only four-pitches old when Tides’ DH Chris Parmelee hit the first home run at BB&T Ballpark of 2015. Excluding stadiums situated roughly 3,000 feet above sea level; no Minor League ballpark saw more home runs per game (2.65) than BB&T in 2014. … Arcenio Leon, Zach Phillips and Jairo Asencio (S, 1) combined to toss three-and-1/3 scoreless innings of relief. … Jeff Shaefer, who is the only player to have won championships with both the Charlotte O’s and Knights, threw out the first pitch.
Knights and Tides will play Game 2 of their four-game series at 7:05 p.m. on Friday. RHP Chris Beck (0-0) will take the mound for Charlotte across from RHP Mike Wright (0-0).