Charlotte Knights outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo stepped to the plate 0-for-5 with two strikeouts.
But with one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 12th inning, it wasn’t a hit Tuiasosopo and the Knights needed.
After Charlotte lost a 5-4 lead in the top of the ninth inning, Tuiasosopo drew a five-pitch walk in the 12th to give the Knights a 6-5 win over the Indianapolis Indians on Saturday night at BB&T BallPark.
Tyler Saladino jumpstarted Charlotte’s offense in the bottom of the first inning. One night removed from hitting his first home run of the season, he blasted a solo shot to give the Knights (39-29) an early lead.
Saladino’s home run was the first of three hit by the Knights in the game’s first three innings. Chris Marerro and Matt Davidson went deep in the second and third innings, respectively, to put the Knights ahead 4-3.
But as they did throughout the night, the Indians (42-27) responded. Elias Diaz led off the top of the fourth inning with a single and scored from third on a wild pitch by Kyle Drabek to tie the game at 4.
The game remained tied until the bottom of the seventh inning, when Saladino hit a one-out single and later scored from third on a wild pitch to hand the Knights a 5-4 advantage.
Charlotte’s lead stayed intact until the top of the ninth inning. With one out, former Knight Gorkys Hernandez hit a solo home run off Maikel Cleto to knot the game at 5 and ultimately send it into extra innings.
After three consecutive 1-2-3 innings by the Charlotte bullpen, Saladino reached on an error with one out in the bottom of the 12th. He advanced to third on a double by Jason Coats and an intentional walk to Davidson, setting the stage for Tuiasosopo’s game-winning walk.
With Saturday’s win, Charlotte manager Joel Skinner recorded his 250th career victory with the Knights, the most in franchise history. He and Nick Leyva are the only Charlotte managers to win more than 200 games. ... Davidson’s home run to lead off the bottom of the third inning marked his 11th of the season. With Durham’s J.P. Arencibia also homering on Saturday, he and Davidson are now in a two-way tie for the International League lead.
The Knights conclude their six-game homestand on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. Right-handed pitcher Erik Johnson (5-5, 3.34) is slated to start for Charlotte across from Indianapolis right-hander Casey Sadler (6-4, 3.29).