One of the biggest question marks entering the 2015 Charlotte Knights season revolved around who would slot in as the team’s No. 5 starter.
On Monday, Shawn Haviland took the ball and provided an answer. The 29-year-old struck out four over five scoreless innings of work in a 3-0 Knights win over the Durham Bulls in front of 7,461 at BB&T BallPark.
Haviland, who threw 57 pitches (36 for strikes), surrendered just two hits and didn’t allow a Durham base runner to advance past first base.
After entering the season, through no fault of his own, as the easiest to forget of the Knights’ five starters, Haviland’s performance on Monday should go a long way toward remedying that.
As it stands, the Knights rotation consists of Brad Penny, who is the resident veteran trying to reinvent himself; Carlos Rodon, who is the super prospect; Chris Beck, who sits a tier below Rodon; and Scott Carroll, who should be familiar to Charlotte fans by now.
Haviland – a former Harvard standout, who still resides in Boston in the offseason – signed with the White Sox organization as a free agent in January after spending last year in the Oakland Athletics organization.
Other than that he went 8-9 with a 3.82 ERA in 28 starts between Class A Stockton and Class AA Midland in 2014, not a whole lot was known about the 6-foot-2-inch right-hander before Monday.
Erik Johnson (1-0) relieved Haviland in the sixth inning, and he kept the Bulls off balance for the next three innings, before Eric Surkamp came on to record his first career save.
All three Knights’ runs came in the bottom of the sixth inning, which Jared Mitchell (2 for 3) led off with a triple. A Tyler Saladino groundout brought home Mitchell, before back-to-back doubles by Carlos Sanchez and Neftali Soto led to the inning’s second run. After an error and a single, Trayce Thompson (2 for 2) brought home Soto with a sacrifice fly.
“I’m pretty aggressive and just try and throw strikes and be on the attack. I feel like my best days are when I keep hitters on their heels because they don’t know what’s going to come next.” – Knights’ starter Shawn Haviland.
Carlos Sanchez, who played in his second-straight game after being optioned to Charlotte by the White Sox on Saturday, was shaken up after making a diving play at second base in the third inning. After a meeting with trainers on the field, Sanchez (2 for 4) remained in the game and proceeded to record two more hits in the game. … Matt Tuiasosopo developed a cramp and had to be lifted in the fifth inning. He’s day to day. … The shutout was the Knights’ first since Andre Rienzo blanked the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at BB&T BallPark on July 19.
The Knights (3-2) will conclude their two-game series with the Durham Bulls (2-3) on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. at BB&T BallPark. RHP Brad Penny (1-0, 4.76) will take the mound across from last week’s International League Pitcher of the Week RHP Dylan Floro (1-0, 0.00).