Shawn Haviland returned to his native New England and delivered a stellar performance in front of family and friends Tuesday night to earn his second win of the season as the Charlotte Knights topped the Pawtucket Red Sox 4-2.
Haviland, who spent his college career at Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. – outdueled Henry Owens, spinning six scoreless innings of three-hit baseball. A native of Farmington, Conn., Haviland tallied a season-high eight strikeouts, his highest total since getting eight on July 2, 2014, as a member of the Class AA Midland RockHounds.
Leury Garcia got the Charlotte offense started with a single to leadoff the third inning. After moving to second base on a wild pitch by Owens, Garcia swiped third base – his team-leading 22nd stolen base of the season – and then scored on a Tyler Saladino sacrifice fly to give Charlotte a 1-0 advantage.
Kevan Smith then delivered the biggest hit of the night in the fourth inning, a three-run shot to give the Knights a 4-0 lead. The home run was Smith’s second in as many games, and the Knights’ sixth in the first two games of this series.
Pawtucket was able to cut the Knights lead in half in the seventh inning, scoring twice runs on three hits against right-hander Blake Smith, who was making his Knights debut. Matt Lindstrom would replace Smith with two outs and the potential tying run on base, but Lindstrom would record the final out of the inning to end the threat.
After a scoreless eighth by Lindstrom, left-hander Zach Phillips entered the game and recorded his second save of the season with a perfect ninth. Phillips owns a seven-game scoreless streak, a span of 71/3 innings pitched.
With the win, the Knights keep pace with the Durham Bulls and Norfolk Tides for a three-way tie for first place in the International League’s South Division. The Knights will go for a three-game sweep of the Red Sox at 12:05 p.m. Wednesday.