Durham starter Scott Diamond threw five scoreless innings, and Curt Casali ripped a game-high three hits as the Bulls beat the Charlotte Knights 5-2 on Thursday in the final game of the four-game series from Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The Bulls earned the series victory over their in-state rival after winning three of the four games. It was Charlotte’s first series loss of the season thus far.
Diamond (1-0, 1.29) gave up just five hits in his five innings on his way to his first win of the season. The Canada native also tossed five scoreless innings against the Knights back on April 13 at BB&T Ballpark. In all, Diamond has not allowed a run in 10 innings against Charlotte this season.
The Bulls scored their first run of the game in the bottom of the third inning on Casali’s RBI single off Charlotte right-hander Erik Johnson (2-1, 0.75), who was saddled with the loss. Johnson, who made his second start of the season for the Knights, allowed just one unearned run over four innings. He tossed 81 pitches, walked four and struck out six.
Durham added three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning on back-to-back-to-back RBI singles off Charlotte reliever Eric Surkamp. The Bulls added one more run along the way and did so in the bottom of the eighth Alexi Casilla launched a solo home run off Charlotte reliever Daniel Webb. The home run was Casilla’s first of the year and second of the season given up by Webb.
In the ninth, Charlotte DHdesignated hitter Neftali Soto led off with his first home run of the season. The Knights added one more run in the inning off reliever Andy Oliver when Trayce Thompson scored from third base on a wild pitch.
Despite the loss, Carlos Sanchez extended his hit streak to 12-straight games after he singled in the first inning. Dan Black also extended his on-base streak to 13 games with a single in the seventh inning.
Before the game, the Knights announced several roster moves. Infielder Drew Garcia, who last played for the Knights in 2013, was promoted from Double-A Birmingham. Garcia finished the game 0-for-1. Outfielder Jason Coats, who was also promoted from Birmingham, made his Triple-A debut and went 0-for-3 at the plate. Infielder Tyler Saladino was placed on the disabled list (retroactive to April 22) while fellow infielder Justin Jirschele was assigned to Birmingham.
The Knights, who moved into second place with the loss, will now make the trek to Harbor Park in Norfolk, Va., to open a three-game road series with the first-place Norfolk Tides. First pitch of Friday’s game from Norfolk is set for 7:05 p.m. The “Voice of the Charlotte Knights” Matt Swierad will have the call on ESPN Radio 730 AM beginning at 6:50 p.m.