The Charlotte Knights and Norfolk Tides exchanged blows throughout Friday night’s contest at BB&T BallPark, but the Knights landed the final punch.
Capped by a single by Leury Garcia, Charlotte manufactured four singles in the bottom of the ninth inning to rally from a 4-3 deficit and defeat the Tides 5-4. The victory marked the Knights’ seventh walk-off win this season.
With one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Chris Marrero singled to ignite the Knights’ comeback. Ethan Wilson entered the game as a pinch runner, advanced to second base on a single by Kevan Smith and scored on a two-out single by Micah Johnson.
Garcia came to the plate against Norfolk right-hander Pedro Beato (4-4, 2.02) and hit a 1-0 pitch up the middle to score Smith from second base and seal the win.
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Charlotte (53-41) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning on a solo shot by Matt Tuiasosopo. But as was the case for most of the night, the Knights lead didn’t stay intact for long, as Christian Walker’s RBI double in the top of the third inning tied the score at 1.
The Knights regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning on a solo home run by Jason Coats, but Rey Navarro’s sixth-inning home run knotted the game at 2.
Trayce Thompson led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a double and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Tyler Colvin to put Charlotte up 3-2. But behind a three-run eighth inning against Junior Guerra (2-3, 3.07), Norfolk (51-40) took a 4-3 edge.
The win handed the Knights a 1/2-game lead over Norfolk in the International League South Division standings.
“When (Chris Marrero) started with the base hit, we thought we had a chance to score and tie the ball game. I was hitting and thinking to put the ball in play and try not to do too much, just put the ball in play.” Charlotte shortstop Leury Garcia on his approach at the plate in the ninth inning.
Tuiasosopo’s second-inning home run was the 100th of his minor-league career. ... Garcia swiped third base in the bottom of the sixth inning, giving him 27 stolen bases this season. He is second in the International League in that category.
The Knights and Tides play Game 3 of their four-game series at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday. Charlotte right-hander Hector Noesi (0-0, 0.00) is slated to start across from righty Tyler Wilson (3-5, 3.05).