With the Charlotte Knights and the Durham Bulls tied at 4 in the bottom of the eighth inning Wednesday, Charlotte outfielder Jason Coats strolled to the plate.
He stepped into the batter’s box with two outs and the bases loaded, and as he’s done numerous times this season, he produced runs for his team.
Behind a two-run double to left field by the Knights’ RBI leader, Charlotte broke the tie and took a lead it wouldn’t relinquish in a 6-4 victory at BB&T BallPark.
The Knights, who hold a 1/2-game lead over the Norfolk Tides in the International League South Division, squandered multiple scoring opportunities during the first five innings, stranding seven runners on base.
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But entering the bottom of the sixth inning facing a 4-0 deficit, the Knights (57-42) finally broke through. After a double by Matt Tuiasosopo, Trayce Thompson hit a two-run home run to bring Charlotte within two runs.
The Knights put runners on first and second to open the bottom of the seventh inning and bring Coats to bat. He proceeded to hit a two-run double to tie the score at 4. An inning later, Coats came to the plate and drove in the game’s final two runs to seal the win.
After driving in four runs on Wednesday, Coats now has 61 RBI this season. He leads the Knights and is third in the IL in that category.
“When you are hitting third in the lineup and you have guys like Micah (Johnson) and Leury (Garcia) in front of you and guys getting on base, it just creates opportunities. Coats has taken advantage of it and is trying not to do too much. He used the whole field and shot a line drive going the other direction and then shot one going the other way. It was good hitting on his part, and with two outs, it’s timely hitting.”
- Charlotte manager Joel Skinner on Coats performance.
Thompson’s home run in the bottom of the sixth marked the 100th of his minor-league career. This is his seventh minor-league season. ... Charlotte reliever Jarrett Casey (9-2, 4.50 ERA) entered the game in the top of the seventh inning and pitched two scoreless innings. He allowed two hits and struck out three batters en route to his ninth win this season, which is tied for first in the International League.
The Knights conclude their eight-game homestand on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. against the Bulls. Charlotte right-hander Hector Noesi (0-0, 1.29) is scheduled to start against Durham right-hander Matt Andriese (1-1, 2.19).