The Charlotte Knights dropped a one-run ballgame for the second consecutive night as the Syracuse Chiefs won game two 4-3 in come-from-behind fashion on Tuesday at NBT Bank Stadium.
Despite the back-to-back losses, the Charlotte Knights still lead the Durham Bulls and Norfolk Tides by a half-game for first place in the International League South Division.
The Knights were able to take an early lead as the team scored a first-inning run for the fourth-straight game. Micah Johnson led off the game with a single to left field, and then stole second base to get himself into scoring position. the speedy second baseman then came around to score on a Jason Coats RBI-single to give Charlotte a 1-0 lead. Johnson has now scored at least one run in five of his last six games.
Back-to-back two-out hits gave Syracuse their first run of the ballgame in the bottom of the first, with Kevin Keyes scoring on a Chris Nelson double to tie the game at 1-1.
After Matt Tuiasosopo led off the second inning with a walk, Knights center fielder Trayce Thompson added his 17th double of the season to put the pair in scoring position. RBI ground-outs by Tyler Colvin and Kevan Smith would follow, giving the Knights a 3-1 lead.
The Chiefs would not score again until the bottom of the sixth inning when Emmanuel Burriss scored from first base on a Jason Martinson double. After moving to third base on a Shawn Haviland wild pitch, Martinson would score to tie the game 3-3 on a Chris Nelson RBI ground-out.
Haviland did not factor in the decision despite a solid outing on Tuesday, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits over six innings pitched. The Harvard product is now 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA over his last three starts.
Caleb Ramsey would reach base with a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh inning, and after moving to third base on two wild pitches, the Chiefs outfielder would come in to score on a pass ball to give Syracuse a 4-3 lead. After intentionally walking Burriss to load the bases, RHP Blake Smith would strike out the next two batters to leave the bases full, but he would still be saddled with his first loss as a Knight.
Former Detroit Tigers closer Jose Valverde would come on for the Chiefs in the ninth inning, recording a perfect final frame to earn his third save of the season and seal the Syracuse victory.
The Knights would tally 11 hits in the game – three more than the Chiefs – with Matt Davidson leading the way with his 3-for-4 night. Thompson and Johnson also tallied multi-hit games, while Thompson’s second-inning double and Colvin’s fifth-inning triple would prove to be the only Charlotte extra-base hits on the night.
Charlotte’s Terance Marin is scheduled to take the mound for the 7:05 p.m. game Wednesday.