This time, the Charlotte Knights made a couple big innings work for them against the Durham Bulls.
Buoyed by a late surge, the Knights rallied for an 11-7 victory over the Bulls on Thursday at BB&T BallPark to keep their International League postseason hopes alive for one more day.
Charlotte (73-67) connected for five home runs against Durham (71-69) – four of those coming over a two-inning stretch that brought the Knights back from a four-run deficit.
That left Charlotte’s magic number for elimination from the IL playoffs at two games, although that could change depending on the outcome of Thursday night’s game between IL South leader Norfolk (76-63) and runner-up Gwinnett (74-65).
Chris Jacobs Chris Curley and Dayan Viciedo all connected for the Knights during a five-run inning in the bottom of the seventh to put them in the lead.
Micah Johnson then added a three-run shot just inside the right-field foul pole in the eighth inning. Matt Tuiasosopo also had a two-run homer in the fourth inning.
The five home runs was the most by Charlotte’s batters in a game since connecting for six against Indianapolis on June 21. The three homers in an inning was the second time this season the Knights had done so – ironically, the first also came against the Bulls on July 20.
Durham scored all of its runs in the middle innings of Thursday’s game. The Bulls tied the score on Boog Powell’s leadoff homer in the top of the third, and they pulled out to a 7-4 lead with three runs each in the fourth and fifth innings.
Quote: “This ballpark is conducive to some late-inning, late-game type of situations. We’ve seen it happen for both sides, and today was one of those days where we had that one big inning, and it went from there. You don’t want to have to come from behind, but when you do it’s nice.” – Knights manager Joel Skinner.
Worth mentioning: Charlotte reliever Blake Smith got the win, improving to 1-2 on the season. He allowed just one hit in two innings, with four strikeouts.
What’s Next: The Knights play their final home game of the 2015 season Friday night against the Bulls. Game time is 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Terance Marin (3-3, 2.76 ERA) will be on the mound for Charlotte; lefty Blake Snell (5-2, 1.60 ERA) will start for Durham.