The Charlotte Knights entered the bottom of the ninth inning on Thursday trailing the Durham Bulls 10-6 and in need of an offensive spark.
Tyler Colvin and Micah Johnson hit home runs to open the ninth inning and ignite the Knights’ bats. But Charlotte’s offense fizzled just as fast, as the Knights’ rally fell short in a 10-8 loss at BB&T BallPark.
After Durham (46-41) scored five runs in the top of the seventh inning, highlighted by consecutive home runs by J.P. Arencibia and Richie Shaffer, Charlotte (49-39) trailed 8-1.
But in the eighth, the Knights struck for five runs with two out. Matt Davidson singled home the first run and Trayce Thompson drove in the second, walking with the bases loaded, before Chris Marrero stepped hit a bases-clearing double to cut Durham’s lead to 8-6.
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The Bulls added two insurance runs off Zach Phillips in the ninth to take a 10-6 lead. Those runs ultimately proved to be the difference, as Charlotte couldn’t muster enough offense to complete the comeback.
“In this ballpark, no lead is safe regardless if you’re on the back end of it or on the front end of it. It was just one of those games where there were a couple of big innings on both sides. We just kept battling and got back into it. We had the tying run on deck when the last out was made, so I feel good about the way the guys fought back.” — Charlotte manager Joel Skinner on the Knights’ late rally
Skinner will serve as a coach for the U.S. Team in Sunday’s All-Star Futures Game at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. Skinner’s 260 wins are the most in franchise history. The game between the U.S. Team and World Team features some of the top prospects in Minor League Baseball, and each major league organization is represented. The game can be seen on MLB Network and MLB.com at 3 p.m. Sunday.
The Knights travel to Norfolk, Va., for a four-game series against the Tides, starting with a doubleheader Friday. Right-hander Terance Marin (3-0, 0.96 ERA) is slated to start against left-hander Chris Jones (5-4, 2.59) in Game 1 at 5:05 p.m. Erik Johnson (7-5, 2.86) will pitch Game 2 for Charlotte. The Knights return to BB&T BallPark on July 16 for a four-game series against Norfolk.